Homegrown Steering Committee, Board of Directors and Staff

The Homegrown Music Festival is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization with the mission to organize the annual Homegrown Music Festival for the cultural benefit of the Twin Ports, continued showcasing of local music, and helping sustain a supportive arts community.


Dereck Murphy-Williams

Dereck “DD” Murphy-Williams. An edgy and clever man with a passion for Duluth’s Homegrown Music Festival. He is always looking for ways to improve and grow the festival while keeping it’s core values at heart through the several different positions he has taken on.

When he’s not working up some fun new hairstyles, he’s probably listening to Childish Gambino and yelling at/with his cat. He’s bound to keep you on your toes with his scintillating quips and prudent observations. Keep an eye out for his eclectic outfits and fresh attitude during the festival!

Cory Jezierski

Cory is an earth human obsessed with music and not at all an extraterrestrial hell bent on world domination. He burned up the last two decades by playing in some trashy bands, booking and promoting some wild shows, recording some weird music and doing a little touring. His other interests include horror movies, record collecting and spending time with his wife Suzy and his furry friend Rex. He’s not the greasy strangler.

Steering Committee:

Crystal Holden

Crystal joined the steering committee in 2017 after many years of volunteering for the festival in different capacities. She is a photographer/artist/graphic designer and small business owner. Always on the go, you may see her out at a show, shredding the gnar on the slopes, on a trail with her pup or rolling down the road in her Winne with her family or friends in tow.

Jess Nickila

Left the homestead in 2009 and relocated to Duluth. Practicing percussionist, and mom to 2 punk rock little girls. During the day she works with the Police Department doing outreach, at night she’s either at a live music event or folding clothes. First year of many on the steering committee.

Joe Sauve

Joe is a Duluth native, a technology geek, and guitar player. Some of his favorite memories of the Duluth music scene are from the days of the Recyclabell all-ages venue and the Urban Grounds coffee shop in the 1990s.

Jenny Armstrong

If you bred a golden retriever with a feral cat, you’d get Jenny. Volunteer for Homegrown since 2010, Steering Committee since 2019. Musically obsessed, magically blessed and occasionally stressed. You will find her on a hiking trail when it’s warm, and sipping tea in front of a puzzle when it’s cold. When you see her out, say hello. Hugs guaranteed.

Leon Rohrbaugh

Leon Rohrbaugh has a long running history with Homegrown going back to the beginning. He has played in all but one festival and has participated in the goings on prior to his joining the Homegrown Steering Committee this year. With past and present involvement in multiple bands in the Twin Ports, including a Homegrown favorite, A Band Called Truman, Leon is sure to bring the party. His energy is infectious and his passion for performing live is evident through the connection he has with his audience. When Leon isn’t performing on stage, he can be found hanging with his family, cooking amazing grilled eats off Chicken Alley or riding dirty on his bike.

Sara Mannetter

“We’re all bold as love. Just ask the Axis” – Hendrix
“Music is our friend” – King Crimson 2021 Tour
“I hate and love. Why I do this, perhaps you ask. I know not, but I feel it happening, and I am tormented” – Catullus 85

Kala Moria

Kala Moria has volunteered at, played in, and created unofficial events for Homegrown for many years before joining the steering committee in 2023. In her “free time” she can be found playing her tuba in Winzige Hosen, emceeing for The Duluth Dolls, recording her paranormal podcast Left of Skeptic, or running around to Twin Ports Horror Society events. In her actual free time, she can be found watching movies on the couch with het husband, cat, and newt. Kala is also terrible at writing bios.

Breanne Tepler

Breanne is a Duluth lifer. Currently living in West Duluth with her husband, daughters and pets. She fronts local alt country band Breanne Marie & The Front Porch Sinners and has played every festival since 2012. She also plays trumpet in the Wrong Notes Pep Band during the Homegrown Kickball game. When she’s not playing music or checking out live music, you can find her outdoors on a trail or in a kayak.

Jessica Hodge

“What a beautiful world, this will be, What a glorious time to be free”
-Donald Fagan (I.G.Y.)
Catch me at a Fenestra Funk show around town and I’ll buy you a beer. Cheers!


Kelli Latuska

Kelli Latuska served on the steering committee for four years before being elected Treasurer of the Board of Directors. By day, she is Executive Managing Director of the Minnesota Ballet, and by night she is crime-fighter by way of listening to true crime podcasts and armchair-sleuthing on the internet. She also likes painting, reading, and hanging out with her nephews.

Ryan Nelson

Ryan is an umpteen-year veteran of the Duluth music scene, having played drums with the likes of the Hotel Coral Essex, the Farsights, and the Social Disaster. Ryan is currently drumming with Mallards. Having served five years as a Steering Committee member, in 2017, he transitioned to the Board of Directors.

Jason Beckman

With advanced degrees in management and business, plus thousands of hours working live music events, Jason brings a unique perspective to the Homegrown Music Festival. Jason keeps his eye on liabilities, seeks ways to maximize assets, and jumps into any situation that needs rectification. Jason joined the Steering Committee in 2016 and the Board of Directors in 2019 in order to support a festival he has attended annually since 2003.

Leah Wilkes

Leah is a recent transplant to Duluth but brings with her a passion for supporting local musicians and music fans that goes back decades. A former music festival planner from the formative years of South by Southwest, Leah is committed to helping create an event that highlights all that Duluth offers for local fans, musicians, and visitors.

Tricia Hobbs

By day, you can find Tricia marketing the heck outta Duluth, and spreading the word about why folks should visit Duluth. When she’s not working, you can find her enjoying her West Duluth neighborhood with her husband and dog. She loves running, hiking, biking, drinking local bevvies, and enjoying live music. Tricia joined the Board of Directors in 2023, and is excited to support her favorite local festival.

Other Staff:

Paul Lundgren

Paul has managed the content of the Homegrown Music Festival Field Guide, the annual magazine promoting the festival, since the first issue in 2006. Before that he covered Homegrown for the Ripsaw newspaper, so he’s been chronicling the festival since its inception. He served on Homegrown’s steering committee from 2006 to 2010, and was the committee chair in 2010. Paul also covers local culture on the Perfect Duluth Day website when he isn’t walking around daydreaming.

Tyler Scouton

Tyler has been involved in the local music scene for more than 20 years, performing in bands like Bratwurst, Big Science and others. Since 2016 he has been the technology director for the festival.

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