Homegrown Returns

After taking a year off due to pandemic, Homegrown returns with a new COVID safe format featuring artists online from May 2 to May 9.


Liam Boos


By Traxx Nelson-Kavajecz, Reporter

COVID-19 has forced a lot of local events to call it quits since March of 2020. However, Duluth’s Homegrown Music Festival will return virtually once again in 2021 with online events May 2 through May 9, with every day introducing a new showcase of local musicians and other artists. 

The festival, which in 2019 hosted 190 acts throughout 40 venues in the Duluth/Superior area will be hosting a week-long virtual festival to showcase many local artists throughout the Northland. 

Musicians are asked to submit a video of themselves performing one original song. The Homegrown Festival organizers will develop a compilation of original music and performance art pieces to be shown virtually throughout the festival week. 

“I’m glad we are playing at homegrown this year,” said Taylor Shykes, a Duluth Denfeld student and bass player of the band Born Too Late. “We are working on our first album right now so it is really cool that we get the opportunity to get more of our original music out there for people to hear.”

During a normal year, many of the venus are 21 plus with the exception of the Children’s Showcase. However, this year anyone will be able to tune in to the videos and everyone will get the same Homegrown experience. 

“We have a lot of people watching these videos and making suggested edits because it is going to be online and anyone can watch it,” said Scott Lilo, Homegrown events coordinator. “We’re trying to make it still artistic, but also so it’s not going to offend anyone.”

The Children’s Showcase is an event that originally started as an opportunity for kids to listen to music played for them by adult musicians.

According to Jenny Armstrong, coordinator of the Children’s Showcase, the committee would like to see more youth musicians playing music in Homegrown as opposed to the Children’s Showcase event consisting of adults playing music for young people to listen to.

“I would really like to see youth musicians pushed to the forefront because those are going to be the people that are coming up in bands in Homegrown as they mature,” said Armstrong.

Armstrong suggests that in the years to come, high school bands or any youth musicians continue to watch Homegrown social media pages such as Facebook or Instagram for updates on how young people can get more involved in the performance aspect.

Organizers of the festival are anticipating a negative financial impact for the non-profit because they will not be able to sell wristbands or host live, in-person events. 

“If people want to watch for free, that’s great. However, there are ways for people to donate on Facebook, Homegrown’s regular website, Twitch, and Instagram,” said Lilo. 

Although hosting a virtual event will provide spectators with the opportunity to listen to local music and provide performers with the opportunity to share their talents, local businesses may be missing out.

“Any bars or restaurants that participate in Homegrown – and even ones in the area that don’t – see a big increase in business over the course of the eight days,” said Lilo

One of the tangible aspects of the festival that will be produced this year is the field guide. Homegrown will print 7,000 of the traditional field guides, which is smaller than the normal run. The field guide serves as a printed program of the acts and entertainment that will take place throughout the week. 

“Some of our sponsors and advertisers in the field guide did step up and bought some ads this year because they wanted to support Homegrown and see it continue,” said Lilo.

To tune in to this year’s Homegrown Music Festival, check out the website at https://duluthhomegrown.org.