Concerts in the Garden begin Tuesday night in Grand Forks

The North Dakota Museum of Art's sixth annual Concerts in the Garden series will open at 6 p.m. Tuesday with a performance by Minneapolis artist Dessa and opening act The Sob Sisters in the museum sculpture garden on the UND campus.

Dessa will perform at 7 p.m. Tuesday outside the North Dakota Museum of Art in Grand Forks to open the summer's Concerts in the Garden series. The opening act, The Sob Sisters, will be on stage at 6 p.m.

The North Dakota Museum of Art's sixth annual Concerts in the Garden series will open at 6 p.m. Tuesday with a performance by Minneapolis artist Dessa and opening act The Sob Sisters in the museum sculpture garden on the UND campus.

Dessa and The Sob Sisters will be the first of six outdoor concerts at NDMOA this summer. Tickets will be $8 in advance (available until 5 p.m. the day before each show), $10 at the door, with children 12 and younger admitted free. You can purchase advance tickets by calling the museum at (701) 777-4195.

Audience members are invited to bring a lawn chair or blanket for seating. Food and beverages, including grilled grass-fed burgers and bratwurst, salads, root beer floats, beer and wine will be available for purchase. In case of rain, concerts will be moved inside the museum.

In its first five years, the Concerts in the Garden series has grown into one of the most anticipated musical events of the summer. Matthew Wallace, who organizes the concerts and books the bands, said this year's line up was the best yet.

The booking process began in December with Wallace determined to bring back William Elliot Whitmore and The David Wax Museum after the good response their concerts received last summer, a news release said.


"I knew I had to get them back again," Wallace said. "More than 500 people attended David Wax Museum and nearly as many for Whitmore. We had a large number of people from Fargo and the region for both shows. About two weeks before Whitmore played I received a call from someone two hours north of Winnipeg. This person said he was a huge fan and wanted to be sure he got tickets. With responses like that, I had to try."

An e-mail link to Dessa

At the concert Tuesday night featuring Dessa, The Sob Sisters of Grand Forks will take the stage at 6 p.m. followed at 7 p.m. by Dessa, who Wallace said he first heard when a friend e-mailed him a link to Dessa performing for Minnesota Original at Cedar Cultural Center in Minneapolis.

"I was blown away by her unique jazz-based hip-hop style," Wallace said. "I immediately contacted her and, after five months of working out details, we were able to settle on a date."

Dessa earned a degree in philosophy from the University of Minnesota before becoming a full-time musician. She started her career as a spoken-word poet, then received an invite to join Doomtree, an indie hip hop collective, of which she is still a member. Dessa will perform her solo work in Grand Forks.

The Concerts in the Garden series began in 2007, and has been growing each year.

"Early on we would get 60 to 80 people per show," said Wallace. "However, in the last few years the audience has grown to over 500 people per show."

Wallace said he looks for bands that appeal to the museum's wide audience. The summer concerts are all-age shows, he said.


"We encourage everyone to attend. This means the bands we book have to bring something that appeals to the entire audience and not one age group," he said. "It is always fun to see grandparents and grandchildren, families and friends, just hanging out on a blanket in the sculpture garden enjoying the evening."

Other concerts in the series will be:

• July 3: Blitzen Trapper (Portland, Ore.), 6 p.m., with The Sewer Rats.

• July 17: William Elliott Whitmore (Lee County, Iowa), 6 p.m., with Burlap Wolf King.

• July 24: The Pines (Minneapolis), 6 p.m., with June Panic.

• Aug. 7: The David Wax Museum (Boston), 6 p.m., opening band to be announced.

• Aug. 21: She Keeps Bees (Brooklyn, N.Y.), 6 p.m., with The Mystical Overtones.

Bands that tour extensively


Many of the bands playing the Concerts in the Garden series have toured extensively throughout North America and Europe, Wallace said. It took three years to finally get She Keeps Bees, a blues rock band, to Grand Forks, he said, because they had been touring non-stop.

"I couldn't believe it when I received a call from the band saying they were going to focus on a U.S. tour and were thrilled to be asked to play in Grand Forks," Wallace said.

Other musicians in the series have toured with the likes of Wilco, Chris Cornell, and The Carolina Chocolate Drops.

"It would be hard to say which band is going to be a crowd favorite." Wallace said. "They are all very talented musicians. The Pines, for example, have an amazing background. They recently released a new album titled 'Dark so Gold,' one of the best albums I have heard in a long, long time."

In addition, frontman Benson Ramsey is the son of Bo Ramsey, who produced albums for and played with musicians such as Greg Brown and Lucinda Williams.

For information on the bands, visit , click "Events," then "Concerts in the Garden."

The concert series is underwritten by Summit Brewing Company of St. Paul and The Sleep Inn and Suites of Grand Forks. Sponsors include: Amazing Grains, The GuestHouse International, HB Sound and Light, Pioneer 90.1, Plains Chiropractic and Acupuncture, Prairie Public, Rhombus Guys Pizza and The Rite Spot Liquor Store, Inc.

Exhibit opening


• Tuesday at North Dakota Museum of Art: "People's Gold," an exhibit that will include works by artists such as Robert Motherwell, Julian Schnabel, James Rosenquist and more, will open at 5 p.m. Tuesday at North Dakota Museum of Art, Grand Forks, the same night as the Dessa concert. Info: (701) 777-4195.

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