Weather Forecast

Barbara Jean, backed by her full band, opened the North Dakota Museum of Art’s Concerts in the Garden series on Tuesday. The band played in front of hundreds of attendees at the museum’s sculpture garden.

The songs of summer

Email Sign up for Breaking News Alerts
accent Grand Forks,North Dakota 58203
Grand Forks Herald
(701) 780-1123 customer support
The songs of summer
Grand Forks North Dakota 375 2nd Ave. N. 58203

The North Dakota Museum of Art’s summer Concerts in the Garden series kicked off this past Tuesday with a performance from Minneapolis-based Barbara Jean.


This is the eighth year of the annual series, with six concerts this summer. The shows start at 6 p.m., with headliners taking the stage at 7. All shows will take place in the museum’s sculpture garden. In the case of rain, the concerts will be moved inside the museum. Individual tickets are $10.

Wallace said the booking process begins in December. He spends hours on YouTube, researching and watching videos of potential bands, with many of the suggestions coming from talking with bands while they’re in town for the concert series.

“We look for bands that can hold the attention of a wide variety of audience members,” Wallace said. “They have to appeal to the young child as well as the older generation.”

Two shows that have already garnered a lot of attention for the concert series are Dessa and the Birmingham-based St. Paul and the Broken Bones. Dessa, one part of the seven-member hip hop group Doomtree, has a regional following in the area and recently sold out a Minneapolis performance in 90 seconds. She will take the stage on July 8.

St. Paul and the Broken Bones is an up-and-coming group who just released their first album. They play at the museum on July 29.

The remaining five dates for the Concerts in the Garden series are:

  • July 8: Dessa
  • July 15: Sister Sparrow and the Dirty Birds
  • July 29: St. Paul and the Broken Bones
  • Aug. 12: The Dirty River Boys
  • Aug. 26: She Keeps Bees

Dessa and She Keeps Bees both performed at the Concerts in the Garden in 2012. Wallace said both acts were well-received the first time they were here and he wanted to bring them back.

As the area’s longest running outdoor music series, Concerts in the Garden has transformed from having only local and regional acts to now having nationally touring artists. Now in its eighth year, the series draws crowds of more than 600 people.

“It’s very fulfilling to run into people on the streets or at the store and have them talk to me about the shows and what they enjoy most. Hearing all the buzz from people is great.”

The concert series is described by event coordinator Matthew Wallace as a casual environment. Audience members are encouraged to bring a lawn chair or blanket for seating.

Wallace said the concerts are a great way to enjoy the short North Dakota summers. He said the bands enjoy the weather just as much as the fans do.

“There’s barbeque, root beer floats and live music,” Wallace said. “It’s just a fun time for everyone come out and enjoy the sunshine.”

Call Rupard at (701) 780-1122; (800) 477-6572, ext. 1122; or send email to

Who will be playing at the Concerts in the Garden:


July 8 at 6 p.m.

Opening: June Panic and the Semaphores

Dessa, of Minneapolis, is one part of the seven-member hip-hop group Doomtree. She previously played at the Concerts in the Garden in 2012. A recent Minneapolis performance of hers sold out in 90 seconds.

Sister Sparrow and the Dirty Birds

July 15 at 6 p.m.

Opening: Sob Sister and Boy Sale

Sister Sparrow and the Dirty Birds, of Brooklyn, N.Y., is an eight-piece band that puts a modern spin on classic soul. The band has opened for bands such as The Avett Brothers and the Counting Crows.

St. Paul and the Broken Bones

July 29 at 6 p.m.

Opening: Ryan Holweger

St. Paul and the Broken Bones, of Birmingham, Ala., is a southern soul band who just released their first full-length album, Half the City, produced by Ben Tanner of Alabama Shakes.

The Dirty River Boys

Aug. 12 at 6 p.m.

Opening: Josh Driscoll

The Dirty River Boys, of Austin, Texas, are known for their high-energy live performances. The band classifies their sound as “outlaw folk-Americana from the western tip of Texas.”

She Keeps Bees

Aug. 26 at 6 p.m.

Opening: The Beethearts

She Keeps Bees, of Brooklyn, N.Y., has recorded and released music made at home since 2006. Described by The Guardian as “the White Stripes in reverse,” the duo played the Concerts in the Garden series in 2012.

Wade Rupard
Wade Rupard is a features reporter for The Grand Forks Herald. Rupard is a 2014 graduate of the Missouri School of Journalism and is originally from Normal, Ill. 
(701) 780-1122