There are nicer venues in town hosting bigger-name artists from out of town, but there's no better outdoors spot to consistently enjoy musicians from the Twin Cities than the Hook & Ladder.

For the third year in a row, the nonprofit south Minneapolis venue is hosting its Under the Canopy series in a former parking lot outside its historic firehouse building.

The setup is nothing fancy: a workable stage with a big-tent roof overhead, a few rows of reservable chairs, a large general admission/dancing area, some tables scattered here and there, bathrooms and a bar inside. But it sure does work.

The series was launched in 2021 as an open-air alternative to indoor music amid the COVID-19 pandemic. It proved popular enough to return in 2022 with fewer restrictions and more space/capacity. There'll be even more room and improvements this year.

Touring artists coming to town to play at Under the Canopy this year include Indigenous, the Iguanas and New Orleans Suspects. But the one thing that hasn't changed is the series' reliance on a large, diverse array of homegrown acts to fill its calendar. That, too, sure does work.

Here are highlights among the dozens of Minnesota artists with UTC shows, which usually start around 7 p.m. and end around 10. Advance tickets are recommended and range from $15 to $40 — less than what you pay just in fees for summer's biggest concerts.

Maria Isa (Thursday): The St. Paul hip-hop vet kicks off the series to celebrate her election to the Minnesota House and her funky new EP, "Capitolio." She's also raising money for Seward Longfellow Restorative Justice in honor of her friend George Floyd and the resilient neighborhood around the venue.

Cornbread Harris (May 11): After his famous son Jimmy Jam joined him on stage here last year — and again at Palmer's two weekends ago — the jazz/blues piano legend will be left to his own, still highly functional devices to celebrate his recent 96th birthday with his agelessly groovy band.

Reggae Summer Splash (May 27): A great way to usher in warm weather — and maybe spark a little social change — this second annual festival mines the Twin Cities' rich population of Jamaican/Caribbean musicians, represented here in the International Reggae All Stars, Socaholix and Innocent.

Trailer Trash (June 3): Too bad the Twin Cities' best old-school country band couldn't return to its old hangout, Lee's Liquor Lounge, for this special 30th -anniversary concert, but it will reunite with a fleet of other old friends.

The Alarmists, Farewell Milwaukee and Two Harbors (June 9): These three rock bands all made noise locally in the 2000s and 2010s but have been mostly quiet in the 2020s. Let's call this a triple comeback.

Malamanya (July 21): This is the show where the pavement will get smoothed out into a dance floor for all the subsequent shows, courtesy of this inventive Latin American/Afro Cuban party band and its faithful and highly mobile salsa-dance followers.

Davina & the Vagabonds (Aug. 11): Bluesy piano swinger Davina Lozier is back to touring the world in 2023 but always finds time to play the venue nearest to home; she and husband/bandmate Zack Lozier live just a few blocks away.

Turn Turn Turn and Scarlet Goodbye (Aug. 19): Both of these newish, Americana-tinged rock bands are made up of members of well known older bands (Soul Asylum, the Honeydogs). Each also has put out two of 2023's best albums.

Under the Canopy 2023

Where: Hook & Ladder, 3010 Minnehaha Av. S., Mpls.

Tickets: $15-$40,