The location, layout and general vibe may be very different this year. Like Taste of Minnesota festivals of old, however, the free music lineup Saturday in the revamped event's new downtown Minneapolis site offered an oddly mish-mashed, nostalgia-heavy but crowd-pleasing mix.

Country music veteran Martina McBride, '90s adult-rock hitmakers the Wallflowers and homegrown alt-country veterans the Gear Daddies were the top-drawing acts on the first of two days in Taste's second year in a setting that also feels quite hodge-podgey.

The fenced-off Taste grounds are spread between empty parking lots and blocked-off streets around the Minneapolis Central Library and the north end of Nicollet Mall. It's not the prettiest of sites, and finding somewhere to sit is harder than spotting a low-calorie food option.

However, the new digs did smoothly accommodate the strong turnout amid Saturday's golden weather, with organizers reporting more than 35,000 attendees through the gates by 3:30 p.m.

The biggest of the four new Taste stages is in a crumbly lot sandwiched between the library, Four Seasons Hotel and other tall buildings. Thanks to this site, U.S. Bank Stadium may no longer hold the distinction of being Minneapolis' most echoey music venue. A midafternoon set by rapper and DJ Sophia Eris with beatmaker pal Makr was especially muddied by the bouncing acoustics and other technical issues.

The vibe at the Jazz 88 stage at the north end of Taste was much more appealing, in part because it's one of the few places you'll find trees or grass. Jazz stylist Jennifer Grimm had fans there cooling in the shade and singing along to Billie Holiday's "I'll Be Seeing You."

Since none of the other mainstage acts enjoyed huge Instagram followers or TikTok numbers, it was no surprise that many of the attendees who stuck by the big stage looked old enough to have regularly attended Taste of Minnesota's prior iterations, evolving over the mid-1980s to the late 2000s on Harriet Island and the State Capitol grounds in St. Paul.

Performing between Eris and an ultra-hyping intro by comedian Fancy Ray McCloney, Gear Daddies' frontman Martin Zellar joked that his band was "going to cut the energy in half." Of course, their old favorites such as "Zamboni" and "Stupid Boy" did the opposite and sparked big, smiley audience singalongs. Even the downers in the Daddies' set were well-received, including "Color of Her Eyes" and "Cut Me Off."

The Wallflowers started out feisty and loud with songs off their last album, highlighted by "The Dive Bar in My Heart" — reminiscent of Minnesota legends the Replacements, whose bassist Tommy Stinson was watching from side-stage. Wallflowers frontman Jakob Dylan greeted the crowd by cheekily noting that, unlike his dad Bob, he did not qualify as a taste of Minnesota.

"You guys do know I'm not from here, right?" he cracked. "But I thank you for this as some kind of homecoming."

Despite personnel changes over the years and a long lull in the 2010s, the rock scion's band sounded as rock-solid and full-spirited as ever as it revisited some of their best-known tunes, including a rootsier-styled "6th Avenue Heartache" and "One Headlight." Instead of offering a taste of (Bob) Dylan for the Minnesota fest, Jakob paid tribute to Tom Petty with covers of "Refugee" and "The Waiting" at the end of their set.

In the headlining slot, McBride played to a smaller crowd but showed why she's endured in the male-dominated Nashville music biz for three decades. Her 1993 breakthrough hit "My Baby Loves" kicked off a series of feel-good love songs, including "Safe in the Arms of Love" and "Love's the Only House." Her covers of country classics "Rose Garden" and "You Ain't Woman Enough (to Take My Man)" came off sweet, too, given they were launched by two female country music legends. Too bad Taste's spotty sound system cut out during the former song.

Taste of Minnesota continues Sunday with a music lineup that is more truly Minnesotan — and should attract a lot of Prince fans — as Jimmy Jam, Terry Lewis and Morris Day and other members of the Time are slated to stage a rare reunion tied to the 40th anniversary of "Purple Rain," preceded by Sounds of Blackness and more.