Bon Iver returning to Bayfront Festival Park on Aug. 2
The Duluth Entertainment Convention Center also announced a Doobie Brothers show for Amsoil Arena on June 20, solidifying a summer lineup split between indie rock and classic rock.
DULUTH — Bon Iver, the acclaimed band led by Wisconsin's Justin Vernon, is playing Bayfront Festival Park on Aug. 2. The band last played Bayfront for the Water Is Life Festival in 2021.
The show was announced Monday morning by the Duluth Entertainment Convention Center, which manages Bayfront as a venue. Also Monday morning, the DECC announced that the Doobie Brothers will play Amsoil Arena on June 20.
Notably, Michael McDonald will be part of the lineup coming to Duluth. The yacht rock legend left the band during a breakup 40 years ago, and has reunited with the group only intermittently since.
The announcements solidify a summer of big music draws split between classic rock and indie rock. Classic rock is a reliable draw for the DECC, with crowds from baby boomers on down expected to pack Symphony Hall for Foreigner on May 9 and the Guess Who on June 30.
Meanwhile, booking younger bands at Bayfront speaks to the DECC's desire to please local audiences while also serving as a draw for fans who might travel the Twin Cities — and beyond — to see bands like Hippo Campus (June 24) at the distinctive harborside space. Trampled By Turtles (July 8) is an indie Americana band founded in Duluth, but Trampled opener Jenny Lewis is coming in from L.A.
"I think of Bayfront Festival Park as being the next Red Rocks," DECC entertainment curator Emma Deaner told the News Tribune last year. "It's such an epic outdoor venue in a really unique natural space."
Bon Iver burst into international recognition with the emotionally devastating, critically lauded "For Emma, Forever Ago" (2007), recorded independently by Vernon. Bon Iver has continued to expand its sonic palette and passionate fan base with three subsequent studio albums, while Vernon has collaborated with artists including Taylor Swift and Kanye West.
The high-profile headliners are creating opening slots for up-and-coming Minnesota acts. Miloe and papa mbye will open for Hippo Campus; Guess Who fans will hear Kiss the Tiger and FenixDion before the "American Woman" hitmakers play. Trampled by Turtles is expected to hold another contest to find a promising Twin Ports act to join the band's Bayfront bill.
Another notable DECC concert is taking place April 21, when Amsoil Arena hosts its first hip-hop show since 2016: Kevin Gates and Wacka Flocka Flame, with supporting acts including Baby Shel, a hip-hop artist from the Red Lake Reservation.
Country artists including Jon Pardi (Bayfront, June 23) and Whiskey Myers (Amsoil, July 23) are also in the DECC's summer music mix. For tickets and information on all these shows, see decc.org.