Dessa, Tia Wood, Gaelynn Lea added to Water Is Life lineup

The artists will join previously announced acts including Ani DiFranco and the Indigo Girls at Duluth's Bayfront Festival Park on Sept. 4.

Woman stands with her arms up against a blue background with mirror at left of frame, lit in a spotlight.
Dessa has just been added to the Water is Life Festival lineup.
Contributed / Media Savant Communications
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DULUTH — Dessa, Tia Wood and Gaelynn Lea have been added to the lineup for the Water Is Life environmental justice concert at Bayfront Festival Park on Sept. 4.

They'll join previously announced artists including Ani DiFranco and Indigo Girls at the event, which follows last year's high-profile concert featuring Bon Iver.

After last year's high-profile event with headliner Bon Iver, the environmental justice festival returns to Bayfront Festival Park on Sept. 4.

In a statement, Dessa said she's "honored to be included" in the event, which benefits the organization Honor the Earth. "As environmental stresses press in, an opportunity to engage in local, focused protection measures is much appreciated," said the acclaimed singer, rapper and spoken-word artist.

Lea is familiar to audiences in Duluth, which has been her base for a nationally lauded career that's recently included composing original music for a Broadway production of "Macbeth." Wood is a Cree and Salish singer who's built a massive following on social media: She has 2.3 million followers on TikTok, where she performs and shares perspectives on her community.

Activist and economist Winona LaDuke, who founded Honor the Earth with Indigo Girls in 1993, will host the event. Allison Russell, Low, Joe Rainey Sr., Annie Humphrey, Keith Secola and Corey Medina are among the other artists on the bill.


In a statement, the festival's artistic director David Huckfelt said: "This year’s festival theme centers, elevates and supports women as the first line of resistance and resilience in the face of an all-out assault in the United States against Mother Earth and the rights of women everywhere."

Tickets are now on sale at

Arts and entertainment reporter Jay Gabler joined the Duluth News Tribune in February 2022. His previous experience includes eight years as a digital producer at The Current (Minnesota Public Radio), four years as theater critic at Minneapolis alt-weekly City Pages, and six years as arts editor at the Twin Cities Daily Planet. He's a co-founder of pop culture and creative writing blog The Tangential; and a member of the National Book Critics Circle. You can reach him at or 218-279-5536.
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