In its third year, Trampled by Turtles’ Festival Palomino brought together a collection of beloved musicians this Saturday under the shadow of the Minneapolis Skyline. The Arcs with Dan Auerbach of The Black Keys, Illinois’ multi-instrumentalist Andrew Bird, British folk rocker Jake Bugg, and acclaimed groups Elephant Revival and Frightened Rabbit were among the top-billed artists. The festival featured a wide variety of Duluth influence as well, with Erik Berry Duo and Murder of Crows, both bands featuring members of the acclaimed Duluth legends, Low. Devil’s Flying Machine, featuring Charlie Parr, also contributed to this rich collection of bluegrass, folk, americana, and rock standouts.
Within the first hour we heard Mandolin Orange, The Cactus Blossoms, Erik Berry Duo, and John Mark Nelson staggered across three stages. Minnesota’s influence saturated this festival as the next hour included Gaelynn Lea and Alan Sparhawk in Murder of Crows and Charlie Parr in Devil’s Flying Machine.
Then came emotional sets from Scottish quartet, Frightened Rabbit, and Indiana alternative-country trio, Houndmouth, who delivered with smiles, jokes, laughing, and positive vibes that brought the audience to their feet with dancing and sing-alongs.
Meanwhile, Frankie Lee followed Murder of Crows on The Blue Sky Stage. He brought together a skilled group of musicians, as he often does, including Jeremy Ylvisaker of Alpha Consumer. He was also brought up to the big stage with Trampled during the middle of their set that created one of few festival collaborations.
Jake Bugg brought his indie / folk rock set with an aggressive confidence coming through from the young star. Andrew Bird revealed his skill as a multi-instrumentalist and adapted his somber “Three White Horses” track to an appropriate rockabilly version. Then came Aubrie Sellers, a square-dance inducing set from The Brothers Comatose, The Arcs with motion driven, textured soundscapes laced with powerful blues riffs, and a heartwarming, celebratory set from Elephant Revival.
At the peak of Palomino stood Trampled by Turtles on The Stars Stage. Their addictive folk was interrupted by only a few words offered by Dave Simonett where he shared their love for Duluth in an introduction to their song, “Winners.” The lyrics brought you right back to our home city, “There’s music in the bars and fire in the sky // Went to the beach but it was covered in ice.” Seeing the Minneapolis skyline in the background rise as another “fire in the sky” gave a true sense of the home-away-from-home that is Minneapolis.