A beloved folkie turned reputable author and professor will give the keynote speech. A one-time E.L.O. tribute band leader and midnight-shift DJ will be honored with the MN Music Champion Award. And lawyers will be treated like rock stars by wannabe rock stars.

Those are some of the highlights you can expect at this weekend’s Minnesota Music Summit in St. Paul, which kicks off with a Thursday happy hour at the Summit Brewery and resumes with Dar Williams’ keynote Friday at 11 a.m. at the History Theatre. David Campbell of 89.3 the Current (and ex-E.L.nO.) is the deserved award recipient Saturday night at the Amsterdam Bar & Hall amid local music video screenings and live sets by MaLLy and Tiny Deaths. Panels for musicians take place Friday and Saturday at McNally Smith College of Music, including a free legal advice session with the Minnesota Justice Foundation from 1-3 p.m. Saturday.  

The fourth annual Summit is the flagship event for the Minnesota Music Coalition, the great St. Paul-based nonprofit that provides resources and networking opportunities for musicians and music professionals statewide. Many of the participants in the panels and mentoring sessions are well-known names behind the scenes, including longtime First Avenue ringleader Steve McClellan, recording studio wizard Tom Garneau (Prince, Tina & the B-Sides, Trip Shakespeare) and band manager Mark Gehring (Haley Bonar, Pert Near Sandstone).

Williams will appear twice more in this weekend’s summit, and then she will quickly return to town for a tour date with Lucy Wainwright Roche at the Cedar Cultural Center on April 26. Rolling Stone just debuted the first track off Williams’ new album today.

Here’s the full – and entirely free! -- Minnesota Music Summit schedule:


  • 6-8 pm: Summit Kickoff Party, Summit Brewery (910 Montreal Circle)


  • 11 am: Dar Williams Keynote Address, History Theatre (30 10th St. E.)
  • 1-4 pm: Artist Workshops/Music Industry Panels, McNally Smith College of Music (19 E. Exchange St.)
  • 1-2 pm: Music & Politics - With Dar Williams and John Gorka
  • 2-3 pm: Radio Play - With Jim McGuinn (89.3 The Current), Toki Wright (KFAI), Angie Carlson (Propeller Publicity/Red House Records), Ross Koeberl (Radio K), Jordan Young (Tinderbox Music)
  • 3-4 pm: Evolution of a Song with Chastity Brown - Hosted by Andrea Swensson (89.3 the Current)
  • 3-4 pm: Speed Mentoring Sessions – With Mark Gehring (Periscope Artist Management), Brandon Henry (social media, Red House Records), Ashley Hanson (grant writer, arts organizer) and Mark Wheat (89.3 the Current).
  • 7-10 pm: Friday Concert - With Chastity Brown, Fathom Lane and the Counterfactuals, Amsterdam Bar & Hall. Suggested Donation: $10. Get tickets here.


  • 1-5:30 pm: Artist Workshops/Music Industry Panels, McNally Smith College of Music , sponsored by Minneapolis St. Paul International Film Festival, this day of workshops will focus on publishing, film licensing and how to make a music video. 
  • 1-3 pm: Copyrights & Contracts: Legal Advice for Musicians – With the Minnesota Justice Foundation.
  • 2-3 pm: Speed Mentoring Sessions - With Craig Grossman (booking, Green Room Music Source), Tom Garneau (Audioactive) and Steve McClellan (Diverse Emerging Music Organization).
  • 3-4 pm: The Art of Commercial Work - With BT (Go963) and Michael Croswell (composer).
  • 4-5:30 pm: We Need a Music Video! - Professional filmmakers will discuss the principles of what makes for a successful video.
  • 7-10 pm: Grand Finale Concert - With MaLLy and Tiny Deaths, screening of MN-made music videos and MN Music Champion Award, at Amsterdam Bar & Hall. Get tickets here.


  • 9-11 pm: Music Meets Film: A Party for Musicians & Filmmakers, Third Bird (1612 Harmon Pl., Minneapolis)