It's a far cry (and drive) from the jumbo-size music offerings at the Minnesota State Fair, but a newly announced concert series in Burnsville hopes to offer fans a little taste of the gigs on tap at the Great Minnesota Get-Together.
The city of Burnsville and organizers of the Relief Sessions concert series — held in a parking lot there every Friday since June — will host four or five live music acts per day along with a mix of food and art vendors when the fair was supposed to be, Aug. 27 through Labor Day (Sept. 7).
The shows will feature free daytime drive-in concerts followed by individually ticketed late-afternoon and nighttime sets, amounting to 48 performers total.
Billed as "a perfect pandemic alternative to the State Fair shows of summers past," each one will be held under state-mandated social-distancing guidelines in the parking lot of the Burnsville Civic Center, 251 Civic Center Parkway.
Among the acts lined up so far for the $20-$30 evening gigs are the Flamin' Oh's, GB Leighton, Joyann Parker, International Reggae All Stars, the New Primitives, Sherwin Linton, Maurice Jacox, Sara Renner and many tribute bands, including celebrations of Prince, Bob Dylan, Frank Sinatra, Aretha Franklin, Buddy Holly, Whitney Houston and Steely Dan. Tickets can be bought in advance via ticketworks.com.
The list of free daytime performers offers some regulars from the State Fair free stages, including Salsa del Soul, Steve Clarke & the Working Stiffs, Lehto and Wright, the Galactic Cowboy Orchestra and the Native Pride Dancers. More acts will be confirmed in the coming weeks.
See the full schedule (so far) on the Relief Sessions website.
"For many of these artists performing, this is the only chance they have had to perform since early March of 2020," said co-organizer Mick Sterling, a musician himself. "Your ticket purchase may well be the only check this band has received from performing in months."
The Relief Sessions are not formally affiliated with the Minnesota State Fair, which was officially called off for 2020 back in May because of the coronavirus. Fair organizers have since announced some of their own backup plans, including the Minnesota State Fair Food Parade and a virtual art show.