The onset of the Homegrown holiday week happens earlier than ever this year. The World Beat Drummers jump start the Children’s Music Showcase at 10:30 a.m. at Lake Superior Zoo, an appropriate new venue for wee wild ones. The family-friendly extravaganza features six back-to-back acts and a slate of kid-appropriate activities. The adult beverage portion of the fest begins at Blacklist Artisan Ales at 5 p.m. Go there to peep at pics from Homegrowns past and get swept up in the swanky sounds of Owls Club Big Band. At 7 p.m., the official kickoff and mayor’s reception happens in the expansive beer hall at Hoops Brewing. Master Brewer Dave Hoops is hyped to host again. Hoops will be crafting a hoppy brew for the occasion to honor Mayor Emily Larson. Mayor Larson takes the role of opening the fest seriously and intends to usher it in Marie Kondo style, sparking joy in festival goers with a method not yet determined at the time of interview. Larson offers some practical advice for Homegrown novices. “There will always be the big shows everyone knows about. Be open to the unexpected magic that happens when you walk into a venue you’re not quite sure about to see a band you don’t know.” Post mayoral proclamation, Cyr and Kitchen Shoes will entertain taproom patrons. Teatro Zuccone and Blacklist will host an eclectic trio of bands and brainiacs can flex their knowledge at Carmody Irish Pub with the Homegrown Pub Quiz. Per usual, Pizza Lucé is the place for the Sunday’s late-night scene with a diverse bill of newbies, from polka punk to hip-hop and garagicana.

2019 Volunteer Spotlight – Jevne Billiet


Jevne is new to the Homegrown festival volunteer team as of the 2018 festival season.  

Her favorite venues are Sir Ben’s and Clyde Ironworks. Weekends are her favorite because there is just so much to choose from with great lineups all over town!

Pro Tip: Embrace the unknown/unfamiliar/brand new and just enjoy it.

Jevne’s DO NOT MISS band is the Latelys.

Best Homegrown memory?  The Retribution Gospel Choir’s secret surprise show at the Red Herring in 2016.

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2019 Volunteer Spotlight – Robert Kajer


Robert joined the Homegrown volunteer team in 2016 as a “broke college student” and hasn’t looked back.  His college years are behind him but the broke not so much 😉

He says the trick to being a stand out venue in Duluth is to name your venue something that starts with a B because his faves are Blush, Blacklist and Beaners.

Robert’s Pro Tip for new volunteers: Trying to yell over the band is fruitless.  Be prepared to communicate all the common questions you’ll get non-verbally. Have a price guide on hand to point at, plan to tap your finger on your own wristband to get folks to show you theirs, and make sure the set list for your venue is displayed prominently at or near your table.

Robert’s “don’t miss band(s)” for 2019 are MRS and the Sordid Affairs – they are simply everything he could want in a band – Queer as hell, unafraid to go all out, and some absolutely killer music to back it up.  We all certainly agree!

Robert proved that volunteering for Homegrown is possible while still a college student and so we know you can do it too! One time he volunteered the night before a big final and had successes both with the festival and his grade!

Thank you for all you do for Homegrown Robert!

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2019 Volunteer Spotlight – Alison Moffat


Alison joined us as a Homegrown volunteer for the first time in 2018 but she has been a dedicated attendee since 2012!

Alison thinks the trolley is the best venue of the festival with its amazing energy and intimate setting.  She is not alone in that!

She decided to volunteer to become more active in the festival she loves.  She had a great time volunteering last year – especially enjoying interacting with fans as a representative of the festival.  The found the volunteer training really useful and pointed out that the Men as Peacemakers bystander intervention training was a highlight – offering practical strategies that have stuck with her beyond the festival.  

Alison’s Pro Tip: Don’t get too attached to your ‘to-do” list.  She says this with love because she is a self described over ambitious Homegrown list maker.   Wander around a but and pop into an unfamiliar venue; check out a band you’ve never heard of. These are spontaneous delights that make Homegrown a special event.

Alison says she will always show up for whatever Todd Gremmels is doing.

Alison volunteered with her hubby last year and we gave them one of the weirdest shifts of the festival – the door at Blacklist on the night TBT was doing their secret show at Luce.  As the closest venue selling wristbands we knew they were going to get crushed but we couldn’t tell them why we staffed that door so heavily. LOL They were such good sports and we thank them for that!  Can’t wait to see what this year brings!

Sign up for your HGMF volunteer shifts today: