And then there was music

It won’t be long before Winona will have the sounds of music drifting out of what seems like every doorway thanks to the Midwest Music Fest – a three-year-old event that is destined to become famous. If you haven’t been to it yet (or even if you have) stay tuned – we’re going to send somebody to the show, but first, let’s discuss.

The brainchild of Sam Brown, the festival creates the perfect marriage of music and community. All sorts of venues around town – including places you would expect to hear music and places you wouldn’t – will play host over a three day span to more than 100 musicians from all across the Midwest. People can buy day passes or wristbands for the entire event (which at $35 should feel like stealing because it’s such a good deal), and even better, the proceeds from the event are donated to local charities.

So really, a musical event doesn’t get much better than this. OK, well this year it actually did get a little better than that. On April 21, the last day of MWMF, a national headliner will join the festival when long-time folk musician Greg Brown takes the stage in Somsen Auditorium. Ticket’s for Brown’s performance are separate from the festival passes, but for $26 you see a guy whose history includes touring with Buck Ram, founding the Red House Records label, releasing more than two dozen albums, and being nominated for Grammys. And NOW his resume will also include playing at the Midwest Music Fest – something I think artists are starting to brag about.

At last count there were 115 groups signed up to play in at least 10 different venues at MWMF. Seriously. That, folks, is a music festival. And it all happens over three days – April 19 – 21 – and it all happens here, in Winona. Local groups, up-and-coming musical acts, and Midwest performers who have amassed large and loyal followings will all be here, playing just about every kind of music you can think of. For charity. It is so freakin cool I can hardly stand it.

If you want to learn more, go to, and you can volunteer too, by emailing the organizers. But whatever you do, GO. You’ll talk about it all year.

OK – now let’s have a little fun. The festival has donated a wristband good for the whole Midwest Music Fest, a $35 value. I am going to give it to one of you, and here’s how:  Leave a comment on this blog and tell me why you think music is good for a community. It can be long or short, and you can enter more than one comment, but only one per day (and it can’t be the same comment) between now and when I draw a winner on March 19 . On that day I am going to literally print off all the comments, cut them up, put them in a hat (OK, a bowl – nobody has hats like that anymore) and draw one out. I will post the winner on this blog. Sound good?

So let’s go people – and I’ll leave the first comment:

I think music is good for a community because it brings all kinds of people from all walks of life out to the same place to tap their toes together, and I think that’s cool.


21 thoughts on “And then there was music

  1. Rachael says:

    Music is good for the community because it is the perfect meeting place. Everyone likes music so a community can gather around that central interest and grow from there.

  2. Megan says:

    Music is good for a community because it gives the listener hope and perspective in a way that can not be achieved by other forms!

  3. Deborah says:

    A community without music is like food without flavor–an abstract, joyless enterprise that leaves you wanting for taste and substance! Music is what makes life enjoyable for a community–they play, we listent–it’s an interchange that is so very simple yet so important for cohesion of the fibers of daily life!

  4. Tom says:

    Music stirs the soul, binds people together, challenges the intellect, encourages and develops creativity and helps people communicate in the deepest sense. This is what makes Winona so unique.

  5. Megan says:

    Music is good for a community because it brings people and ideas together that otherwise not have happened!

  6. Maria FitzSimmons says:

    I think that music builds community because music is a common language for all people, its something that can be interpreted in a multitude of ways and yet be understood by so many. The vast array of ways music is written means that there is a form of music for everyone. Music is something easy to talk about and enjoy!

  7. Ryan Mingone says:

    Music is important to the community because it creates a unique sense of culture and distinctifies individual areas.

  8. Chelsey Rose says:

    I love that events like this come to Winona, we are such a small town but we have big ideas and big hearts! Music has always brought people together and ultimately it makes us Winonans stronger as a community and helps to bring those big ideas to life!

  9. Cynthya says:

    THANK YOU for sharing your thoughts about music in the community. I couldn’t agree more. Just so you know, I’ll be drawing for the pass to Midwest Music Fest at 7 p.m. tonight, so you have until then to get your comments into the drawing 🙂

  10. Marilyn Brower says:

    Music is good for you – Inside and out! Mentally, physically and emotionally. It soothes, inspires heals and is multgenerational – bringing us together.

  11. MaryLee says:

    Music can lift our spirits, calm us, warm us, lighten the load, make us ponder, or tap our toes in delight!
    Dancing through life is one of my mottoes and music is part of the dance.

  12. Cynthya says:

    There were such great comments here, and I wish I could give everyone a wristband, but there can be only one.

    Just so you know, I printed off all the comments, cut them into sort of equal-sized strips, folded them, and put them in the biggest bowl I have.

    I had my daughter Mallory blindly reach her hand into the bowl and fish around for the lucky winner, who is…

    Drum roll…..

    Nancy Nastvold!!

    Nancy’s comment, BTW, was “Music is food for the soul and revitalizes the mind. Let the music begin.”

    Amen, Nancy.

    Send me an e-mail to [email protected] and I will connect you to the MWMF folks.

    Congratulations 🙂 And thank you to everyone who played. Sign up for the e-mail feed – I promise, we’ll give away more stuff.

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