Homegrown Takes Duluth by Storm

By KBJR News 1

May 5, 2011 Updated May 5, 2011 at 6:35 PM CDT

Duluth, MN (The Northland's NewsCenter) - It's no secret Duluth has a plethora of talent within its limits.

Musicians, artists, poets, and filmmakers are creating works of art for the public to enjoy 365 days a year.

But for 8 days, the arts are king.

"I think it's really special. I think it fits Duluth's DIY ethos."

Shana David-Massett, this year's festival director, has worked with a dedicated team of volunteers since November to make sure this year's Homegrown goes off without a hitch.

The festival sets itself apart from other festivals. As Coachella, Lolapalooza, and SXSW bring acts from around the country to their stages, Homegrown.... is just that.

"Homegrown is very unique. All of the bands are only from this area. We don't even take bands from Minneapolis. We're really about local music."

"Every venue is full to capacity."

Duluth Mayor Don Ness has been an integral part of Homegrown's history.

Around year 7 of the festival, there was some uncertainty it could continue. But Ness stepped in and changed the way it worked.

"When I was festival director, we went from a weekend festival to a week long festival."

"Don Ness really helped to guide Homegrown into what it is now and helped to streamline it so it's a really functioning festival... rather than a party. Which is fine."

The Mayor even has his own mixtape.
17 songs from local musicians; hand picked by the Mayor himself.

As Homegrown grows, the staff has found ways to give back to the community that has supported it for over a decade.

Festival directors started a micro grant program that provides matching funds for artist development projects in the k-12 schools.

"All of the love and support and cash that the community has put into us, we give right back."

As the festival gains momentum, one could wonder just how large it could get.

But organizers see it differently.

"I don't want that to happen. This is our festival. It's a celebration of Music and Art in Duluth."

"I don't think it's for the bands that are trying to make it outside of Duluth. It's for those that are trying to make Duluth a better place to live."

Only a few days remain for this year's festival, but so far... this year's festival has done just that.

written for the web by Chris Axelson