Woodbury's young musical talent finds a place to show off skills

  • Article by: TIM HARLOW , Star Tribune
  • Updated: July 14, 2012 - 5:42 PM

Sunburst Music Festival will get them a place in the spotlight

im Dao helped launch the Sunburst Music Festival last year, seeking opportunity for younger artists. “There was never any sort of event that focused on the talent of our community.”

Emerging Woodbury bands, ensembles and individuals who don't often get the call to play the big gigs will get their place in the spotlight Friday.

The occasion is the second annual Sunburst Music Festival Friday at the Ojibway Park band shell.

Sponsored by the city's Parks and Recreation Department, this year's festival will feature 10 acts made up of artists ages 15 to 26 who will play between 2:30 and 7:30 p.m. Musicians and performers can still get on the program if they sign up by Wednesday, coordinator Elizabeth Owens said.

"We truly want to give our youth a place to perform in a comfortable environment," Owens said. "The youth are excited to have place to perform in the community."

The lack of that opportunity led to the creation of Sunburst Music Festival last year. Tim Dao, 21, of Woodbury, had tried unsuccessfully to land a spot in the city's Woodbury Days celebration, so he turned to the Parks Department to create an event to give the city's youth a place to play.

"There was never any sort of event that focused on the talent of our community," Dao said. "Most events hired cover bands and played it safe."

Owens said the idea fit with the department's missions and values for the community, so the department opened the stage for six acts last year.

Participants must agree to play family-friendly music with no profanity and "not even a hint of questionable content," Owens said.

This year's lineup includes several bands, a guitar player and a "variety" of acts, Owens said. Each performer will get 20 to 30 minutes. The city will provide the sound system and help with changeover to keep things moving along.

Dao said he hopes for a large turnout. He also hopes that the festival will help build community as well as bring artists together.

"I hope the participants gain a sense of unity," he said. "It's cool to go out to a venue and play, but it's something else when you go out into your community and just show how much work you've put into your art."

Guests can play volleyball and enjoy a picnic lunch while listening to the tunes.

Dao named the event the Sunburst Music Festival to communicate its summer-like feel, but even if storms roll in, the festival will go on. In that case, the free event will be moved to the Central Park Amphitheater at 8595 Central Park Place.

He also was determined to give himself and fellow young musicians that he's met a place to play publicly.

"If you have a great idea, don't just let it go because it might be difficult," he said. "Every idea takes time to bloom. In order to achieve anything, you must be determined."

Tim Harlow • 651-925-5039 Twitter: @timstrib

  • SUNBURST MUSIC FESTIVAL

    What: Showcase of musicians ages 15 to 26

    When: 2:30 to 7:30 p.m. Friday

    Where: Ojibway Park, 2695 Ojibway Drive, Woodbury

    Cost, information: Free. 651-714-3500

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