Five reasons Soundset has risen to the top

  • Updated: May 22, 2014 - 8:47 PM

It’s the right/ripe weekend, it has a great location and more.

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Soundset 2013

Photo: Jeff Wheeler, Star Tribune

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Five reasons Soundset has risen to the top

1. It’s the right/ripe weekend. While the weather has always been hit-or-miss, promoter Randy Levy said that doesn’t matter: “Memorial Day weekend is the kickoff to summer in Minnesota, and people here are dying to get out and have fun.”

2. Location, location, location. Canterbury might seem a long drive to St. Paul and Minneapolis kids, but Soundset actually draws fans from throughout the Upper Midwest. “Fans in South Dakota, Wisconsin and Iowa hardly ever get to see these acts,” Jason "J-Bird" Cook of Rhymesayers pointed out. “Here, they can see a lot of them in one day.”

3. Don’t belittle the hype. Social media have been crucial to the fest’s success. “They know how to market this thing in a very personal way, but on a grand scale,” Levy said of the Rhymesayers crew and their Twitter, Facebook and other virtual word-spreading efforts.

4. Keep the tickets cheap. Soundset organizers considered bringing in the reunited OutKast but it would’ve doubled ticket prices. “It’s more important to keep it cheap,” Levy said, pointing to Warped Tour’s 19-year model. “Don’t ruin the image of it being a good value.” And if you don’t think the starting price of $55 for tickets is cheap, J-Bird pointed out, “You’d pay $50 to see just one or two of these acts at a club show in L.A. or New York.”

5. But also keep the lineup fresh. “It’s as close as I’ve seen to a festival that represents as many corners of rap music as we can in one day,” said Slug. Rhymesayers staffers poll industry contacts on new stars to watch, which is how they landed Macklemore, Mac Miller and Wiz Khalifa before they became big stars. “Macklemore played the small stage his first time,” J-Bird remembered with a laugh.

CHRIS RIEMENSCHNEIDER

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