Spoon frontman Britt Daniel should appear happier playing Rock the Garden in June than he does in this photo from the Basilica Block Party in 2010. / David Joes, Star Tribune

Spoon frontman Britt Daniel might be happier playing Rock the Garden in June than he appears in this photo from the Basilica Block Party in 2010. / David Joles, Star Tribune

With a two-day music lineup to fill instead of the usual one, this year’s Rock the Garden festival outside Walker Art Center June 21-22 truly will offer a little something for everyone -- or at least everyone who listens to co-sponsoring station 89.3 the Current.

Posdnous of De La Soul at Soundset 2011. / Star Tribune file

Posdnous of De La Soul at Soundset 2011. / Star Tribune file

Two beloved indie-rock bands that have been in steady rotation since the Current took the air nine years ago, Spoon and Guided by Voices, will be paired together for the Sunday RTG lineup along with fellow garage-rocky guitar wielder Kurt Vile and rootsy Tennessee newcomer Valerie June. Saturday, meanwhile, offers the kind of act that organizers have been criticized for not booking more of in the past: Hip-hop. Late-‘80s pioneers De La Soul will top out that day’s show with indie-pop mainstays Best Coast and Matt and Kim. Two hometown favorites, Jeremy Messersmith and Dessa, will also perform one day apiece.

Here’s the full schedule:


  • De La Soul
  • Matt and Kim
  • Best Coast
  • Jeremy Messersmith
  • one more opening band TBA (someone with a gig in town between now and June 20)


  • Spoon
  • Guided by Voices
  • Dessa
  • Kurt Vile
  • Valerie June

After recent years’ Rock the Gardens all consistently sold out fast, organizers decided to add the second day to welcome more concertgoers -- and to get a better return on their set-up and production costs, which are largely the same whether it’s one or two days. Money raised from the event go toward both the Walker and the Current’s parent, Minnesota Public Radio, each nonprofit organizations.

Dessa with Doomtree at RTG 2012. / Star Tribune file

Dessa with Doomtree at RTG 2012. / Star Tribune file

As usual, tickets will go on sale first to Walker or MPR members starting Thursday at 11 a.m. via eTix.com. If not sold out by Saturday, they will be available to non-members Saturday at 11 a.m. Two-day general-admission passes are being sold for $100, or single-day tickets will also be available for $59. Different VIP options are also available ranging from $100-$225/day or $175-$400/two-day.

A certain type of Big Star/Cheap Trick-loving indie-rock fans will gobble up the Saturday lineup with Spoon and GBV, which also happens to be both bands’ first Twin Cities gig in more than three years (after many years of seeing them annually). Spoon has been teasing fans with news of its first record since 2010’s “Transference,” due sometime this summer on Merge Records. GBV has put out somewhere between four and 14 albums in that time but only played here once since first reuniting (First Avenue in 2010).

De La Soul, on the other hand, has been no stranger around these parts. The Long Island trio of “Me, Myself & I” fame was part of the (poorly attended) Kings of the Mic Tour stop at Target Center last year as well as the Soundset festival at Canterbury Park in 2011. They were damn entertaining both times, too. The only other hip-hop act booked in prior years of RTG was Doomtree in 2012.

While no stranger to Current-branded events – in fact, they played the station’s first MN-Music-on-a-Stick concert together at the State Fair in 2012 – neither Messersmith nor Dessa has performed their own sets before at Rock the Garden (Dessa, of course, did take the stage as part of Doomtree in 2012).

Today’s RTG news was preceded by another big fest’s initial lineup announcement, Somerset’s third annual Summer Set Music & Camping Festival. Look for the Basilica Block Party to reveal its band names on April 24.

As for that long-awaited Replacements hometown gig – which many fans were bogusly thinking would be RTG (nope, having a sister on staff at the Current doesn’t get you that big a discount on a performance fee!) – look for an announcement soon on a mid-September gig at an outdoor venue that should give new meaning to “Swingin’ Party.”

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