Not heat or humidity or the archbishop’s resignation could slow down the 21st annual Basilica Block Party.
Friday’s edition of the two-day church fundraiser sold out all 15,000 tickets 20 minutes before the music began with power-pop guitarist Matthew Sweet.
And no one was more pleased to be there to witness Sweet than Kevin Jewett, 38, of Minneapolis. He won tickets shortly before show time.
“Matthew Sweet was my high school days,” said Jewett, a Block Party regular. “I’d never seen him before. And Gary Louris [local hero from Jayhawks] was onstage with him. That was sweet.”
For Jewett, attending the Basilica Block Party has been an annual tradition since 1997 — first with high school friends, then college pals and now his wife. He’ll be back Saturday, which is not sold out.
“I’m most excited to see Wilco,” he said of the second-day headliners who will be joined by Jason Isbell, Jenny Lewis, Echosmith and others.
Matt Silver, 45, of St. Paul, went to the Basilica Block Party Friday to see Weezer, headliners on the biggest of the three stages. A concert and festival veteran, he said this event “has a different kind of vibe maybe because of the basilica. It’s a tinge more conservative than a full-on hippie fest.”
It’s also a benefit for restoration of the Basilica of St. Mary, having raised more than $5 million over the years.
“It’s so peaceful and nice,” said Tom Azzone, owner of the Asia security company that works at festivals, concerts and fairs. “It’s a perfect event.”
Joey Cameron, 24, of St. Paul, is a regular at the Soundset hip-hop fest in Shakopee and the eclectic Summer Set fest in Somerset, Wis. He was impressed by his first trip to the Basilica Block Party.
“It embodies what the Twin Cities is all about — good food, good people, good music,” he said. “The location is brilliant. I know what it is. I drive by it every day.”
MyTalk radio personality Lori Barghini always gives her blessings to the Basilica Block Party. “I like the people watching, the music and looking at how beautiful the basilica is,” said the 15-time Block Partygoer. “Plus, it’s always my birthday weekend. I’m coming back [tomorrow] – it’s my birthday.”