Edit ModuleShow Tags

Get Your Boots On


If you’re visiting Minnesota, you might not think to pay attention to the local country music scene. After all, you’re more likely to hear about the rap scene, with notables such as Doomtree and Atmosphere. In fact, MTV Other has featured the Minneapolis rap scene in their series, This is the Place.

Perhaps the most popular country music event every year is WeFest, which begins today. It’s one of the biggest country music festivals in the nation and one of Minnesota's biggest parties, with crowds nearing 50,000 people. Non-country music fans are known to attend just for the party, but in the process, fans are created.

Despite rap’s prominence in Minnesota’s music culture, country is kicking its way forward. In January 2012, the Twin Cities introduced its second country music radio station, BUZ’N 102.9. Not only does this bring more two-stepping tunes to airwaves, but it has also brought more events to Minnesota. BUZ’N held the BUZ’N Half Dozen concert in February, a free concert for its listeners that featured seven up-and-coming national country artists.

Also helping to increase the popularity of country music in the cities was the opening of Toby Keith’s I Love This Bar and Grill in 2010. Located in the Shops at West End in St. Louis Park, its surrounding boutiques and fine dining restaurants don’t fit the country atmosphere, but that changes once you step inside. Mason jars full of beer sit atop the guitar-shaped bar, cowboy hats and boots are the norm, and there is usually a live local country music band on stage (and sometimes a national act). My favorite part is the line dancing. If you miss the free lessons, the best way to learn is by jumping in with the group of regular line dancers during “Folsom Prison Blues.” It’s not hard to catch on—just remember to wear your boots!

For a slightly different country atmosphere, Cowboy Jack’s in multiple locations around the cities has a western feel with some of the best happy hour specials around: $2 rail and call drinks, $2 select beers, $3 house wines, and half-off select appetizers. Along with live local country (and non-country) music, select locations have a mechanical bull, if you’re brave enough to take a ride.

Just a few of the talented local country music artists you will want to catch are Rocket Club, Lost Highway, Hitchville, Tim Sigler, Mark Stary, Shane Martin, Chris Brooks Band, Jason Paulson Band and Maiden Dixie. Check out minnesotacountry.com for more info. Also check out national country music act The Farm. Fiddler and singer Nick Hoffman is originally from Anoka, a northern Minneapolis suburb. (At K102’s Class of 2012 concert last November, I watched Nick’s grandma get his attention during an interview to give him a hug and some lefse, a traditional Norwegian snack that’s popular in Minnesota.)

Edit ModuleShow Tags

About This Blog

Whether you are a seasoned Twin Cities traveler or planning your first trip to Minnesota, this blog will introduce you to many new adventures to add to your itinerary. From day trips and scenic discoveries to luxurious girls weekends, travel tips, and insider scoops, our editors will give you all the information you need to enjoy your stay Up North.

Learn about the contributing writers.

Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Travel Blog

Record Store Day: Where to Find Rare Releases in MN

On April 21, rock out at mini-music festivals around the state, dig into gourmet donuts, and collect the rare vinyls available one time a year

Catch the Lyrids Meteor Shower

The meteor shower peaks April 21 and 22, just in time for Earth Day

A Day Trip to Excelsior

Just 20 miles west of the Twin Cities, this waterfront town is complete with charming shops and lakeside dining

Night Art Gallery Is Your Sober Night Out

The Lindstrom art gallery entertains with hors d'oeuvres, tons of art available for purchase, and non-alcholic drinks

Weekend Activities to Satisfy Your Inner-Child

Check out these weekend activities that will have you feeling like a kid again.

Sue Z.'s Charitable Check-In: April

Sue Z.'s picks for philanthropic food events in April will have you supporting women chefs, sipping crafty cocktails, and celebrating Cookie Cart's 30th birthday

A Day Trip to Waconia

Enjoy great views, dining, and craft beverage destinations in this West Metro lakeside town

11 Easter Egg Hunts: From Flashlights to Geocaching

Yes, there's an annual adults-only Easter egg hunt in Rochester—and another for dogs, and another with geocaching, and another that drops them out of the sky. Check out more of the best egg hunts around Minnesota.

Rock Climbing in Minnesota

Rock on this spring at climbing gyms and favorite outdoor spots around Minnesota

5 Natural Wonders in Minnesota

Mother Nature takes the best selfies

Bad Axe Throwing Opens Minneapolis Location

Axe throwing makes its debut in Northeast Minneapolis—and it's not as dangerous as it sounds

Visit Award-Winning Minnesota Distilleries

Tattersall Distilling, J. Carver Distillery, and RockFilter Distillery are all worth the trip

Sue Z.'s Charitable Check-In: March

Sue Z. picks Cochon555 as her philanthropic food event this month

5 Must-See Minnesota Public Gardens

Visiting these botanical wonders are sure to make your daisy
Edit ModuleEdit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags