Festival Palomino returned to the Twin Cities’ for the third year on Saturday, September 17th. Due to construction that wasn’t quite finished, the festival was moved to Hall’s Island. But no worries- the change in location made no impact on the impressive lineup! Although the day started out a bit cloudy, as time passed and as Hall’s Island filled up with people of all ages the sun showed up, too. The vendor area was full of diverse local shops, from secondhand clothes from b. Resale, to laser cut wood art from Create Laser Arts, to Hippy Feet, a buy a pair, donate a pair sock company. There was a Blue Goose Photo Booth being run out of a gorgeous 1983 VW Bus and Lyft was there giving out free ride codes, all while various acts played on three separate stages. By the time Trampled by Turtles, the band who chose the lineup and put the whole festival together (with the help of First Avenue) took the stage, the weather was perfect and the crowd was full of delicious food truck corn dogs, cheese curds, and quesadillas, and Summit beer and wine.
Well organized – as all First Avenue managed events are – the only signification issue was due to the last minute relocation from Canterbury Park to Hall’s Island. The site did not have a good spot for the third stage and sound from other stages was audible. Speaker reallignment and pushing back the schedule helped resolve the issue.
North Carolina duo Mandolin Orange started off the day. With a new album just a few short weeks away from its release date, there was a plethora of both new and old music being performed. Mandolin Orange is known for being wistful and dreamy onstage, without being somber or boring- and they definitely lived up to that expectation.
Erik Berry Duo
Erik Berry Duo consists of Erik Berry, the mandolinist for Trampled by Turtles, and Steve Garrington on the stand-up bass. They have performed at Festival Palomino every year and have become a beginning of the day staple for longtime attendees. Their music explored what mandolin music can really do and can truly be, and always impresses.
The Cactus Blossoms
The Cactus Blossoms are a staple in the local music scene. With multiple shows in the area nearly every weekend, their fan base is constantly growing. Bringing in the largest crowd of the day up until that point, they truly got their fans moving and shaking and started to bring up the energy of the day. Their well known song “Stop Light Kisses” brought loud cheers from the crowd.
John Mark Nelson
Minneapolis’ John Mark Nelson picked up the tempo on the blue sky stage delivering a lively set. Accidentally referring to the the previous band as the Erik Berry Trio, he quipped:”They sounded like there were 3 of them”
Margaret Glaspy, hailing from Red Bluff, California, brought some smooth and sassy vibes to the stage with her. She’s no stranger to the festival scene, and that fact shined through her performance. As she played, festival attendees seemed to naturally gravitate to her.
Devil’s Flying Machine feat. Charlie Parr
Devil’s Flying Machine describes their music as “music for car crashes” and originates from Duluth, MN. They’re veterans in the local folk music scene, and their confidence and experience brought great vibes to their performance. Well knows as a blues musicians Parr lets this group dive deep into rock with a very cool jam session at the start.
Frightened Rabbit is a Scottish indie-rock band that were very clearly excited to be playing Festival Palomino. They started out their set slowly and gradually amped things up, ending their set more loudly, with the crowd getting their groove on the whole time. “This is one of the best festivals out there,” they said as they prepared to leave the stage. “Thank you, Trampled by Turtles. And thank you Minnesota! It’s been really fuckin’ nice!.”
Murder of Crows
As very successful alternative duo from Duluth, Murder of Crows, took the stage they drew the attention of many festival goers. People couldn’t help but walk away from the food trucks that were just beyond the stage to check out what was happening. Their long, wilting instrumentals engaged the audience in a way that was almost mystical. Both Alan Sparhawk and Gaelynn Lea bring unique elements to the band and the combination of their music with Lea’s personality, wicked sense of humor and infectious laugh was a highlight of the day.
Indiana’s alt-country band, Houndmouth, put on a great show despite recent changes in their lineup. After losing a member and then adding two more, Houndmouth did the unexpected and somehow got even better amidst chaos. They put on a great show for the Festival Palomino attendees, and the positive energy flowed perfectly between the stage and the crowd. By this point in the day, the crowd was getting larger and it was clear that Houndmouth had many fans in attendance because of the fact that there was quite a sing-along going on!
Frankie Lee hails from Minnesota, but has made a name for himself all across the country. He has made a name for himself mostly because of his solo career, but has friends in high places and works well with others such as Jenny Lewis and Conor Oberst of Bright Eyes who recently surprised the audience at the show in the Turf Club’s Clown Lounge. Frankie Lee put on an honest performance full of raw talent and clearly impressed the audience.
Jake Bugg is a young British musician who has been making a name for himself in the music scene since he was a teen. He has been playing back to back festivals nearly all Summer, and the fact that he is well versed in large crowds and competing with great food and other artists for attention really shined through. Bugg was genuinely thankful to the crowd for showing him so much love. “Thank you so much, Minnesota! I play lots of shows for lots of people but you guys are one of the best.
I love you!” he said as he finished his heartfelt set and left the stage.
Aubrie Sellers comes from country music capital Nashville, TN, and she sure knows how to rock a crowd. Her parents, Jason Sellers and Lee Ann Womack, are noted songwriters as well and the talent most definitely didn’t skip a generation. She joked that she was trying to simultaneously listen to Jake Bugg while she also played her set but she showed no signs of distractions as she serenaded her fans flawlessly.
Unfortunately we did not get any photos as her set was the first to be pushed back.
Possibly the most noteworthy performer of the day, Andrew Bird took the stage to find a crowd full of excitement and anticipation. He played well known hits and a few less popular songs, but was met with roaring applause at the end of every song. Andrew Bird is known as a mostly solo artist, but has worked with tons of noteworthy collaborators such as Fiona Apple and Annie Clark. He more than held his own, though, and left the crowd impressed and relaxed, but full of anticipation for Trampled by Turtles.
The Brothers Comatose
The Brothers Comatose got their start in California but have easily curated fans across the country, and Minnesota is no exception to that. They played some of their earliest songs and new music, too. Playing during Andrew Bird’s set didn’t stop them from drawing a crowd and rocking Hall’s Island.
The Arcs brought some rock and roll to the stage. Formed by Dan Auerbach of the Black Keys, they brought a large crowd out solely because of their “cred” in the live music scene- and they didn’t disappoint! Starting strong, they showed enormous energy and confidence throughout their whole set. “It’s always a pleasure. Thank you, Minneapolis.”
Auerbach told the crowd in his signature cool, collected, raspy tone. Before leaving the stage, the band slowed it down a bit, but they did indeed leave on a note full of rock and roll.
Elephant Revival are a five-piece folk band from Colorado. Their unique chill sound matches their Colorado roots, and they definitely brought that feel to the stage. Keeping their set steady and full of relatable lyrics throughout, Elephant Revival was the perfect precursor for the night’s headliner, Trampled by Turtles.
Trampled by Turtles
Trampled by Turtles, the band that was to thank for the entirety of the exciting day that was Festival Palomino, took the stage last just around 8:00. The theme for their set was “thank you,” which was said many times in many different ways. The band’s pride for what they had orchestrated and accomplished was made very clear as they triumphantly made their way through all of their hits. Everyone at Hall’s Island looked on admiringly and every song was truly played like it was the crowd’s one and only favorite. The grounds were full of sing alongs and dancing until the band said their final thank you and goodbye at 9:30.
Festival Palomino was a great success, once again. Hall’s Island, a smaller venue than usual, made everything feel a bit more intimate and brought the crowd together for a feel of true camaraderie. As fans filed out of the venue and back into the streets of Northeast Minneapolis, everyone could be heard retelling their favorite parts of the day and manifesting their expectations for yet another great festival next year.