Cameron Kinghorn wears a purple suit every time he performs with his band, Nooky Jones. But the outfit took on new significance Thursday night when he and other local musicians took to a stage in the middle of a downtown street — the soundtrack to a hastily arranged dance party honoring the late musician Prince.
“Prince loved music, and that’s what we’re gonna do,” said Jade Tittle, a DJ for the Current who emceed the event. “We’re gonna love music tonight.”
The Current put together the 7th Street block party featuring musicians including Chastity Brown, P. O. S, Tiny Deaths, Pavielle and Lizzo, who flew to Minneapolis to perform. Later, the First Avenue Mainroom opened its doors for a free 18-plus dance party that kicked off a weekend of all-night festivities at the club.
Fans young and old had flocked to the downtown Minneapolis music mecca throughout the day, armed with flowers. Many posed for photos beneath the silver star emblazoned with Prince’s name or simply raised a hand to touch it.
The nighttime crowd started forming around 7 p.m. Children sat atop their parents’ shoulders, and friends and couples wore matching purple. Many stayed through morning.
Father and daughter Jesse and Bailey Lies drove from Forest Lake. “I’m heartbroken, man,” Jesse Lies said. “This sucks.”
As the sky darkened, fans packed shoulder to shoulder and sang along to favorites spun by DJ Shannon Blowtorch — tracks including “Kiss,” “When Doves Cry,” “1999” and “I Would Die 4 U.” Other musicians followed with their own versions of familiar songs.
“I’m really emotional and really nervous, so it would help me a lot if you guys could sing with me,” said Claire de Lune of Tiny Deaths before playing a cover of “When You Were Mine.”
As the night progressed — and the all-night dance party approached — the people packed in tighter. Some clamored for the club’s doors, only to discover that no one could get inside until 11 p.m. Out on the blocked street, people climbed poles and took selfies. They sipped cocktails and smoked cigarettes. They staked out places by the door. They gave up and walked away. Tempers rose and tempers fell.
But as the night wore on, the party was still raging. By 7 a.m. Friday, at least 100 people were still inside First Avenue, where Prince videos continued to play. Outside the staff was sweeping up the street and sidewalks from the all-night celebration.
And people continued to gather around the tribute of flowers on a morning that, despite a rosy sunrise, was a little less bright than the morning before.
Emma Nelson • 612-673-4509