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Bands register for Homegrown festival in Duluth

"Rawk and/or roll" flourishes in Duluth, and the 10th annual Homegrown Music Festival will be full of it. Homegrown 2008 will rumble and sing and wail and fly from April 27 through May 4. Bands are registering now, says Paul Connolly, the festiva...

"Rawk and/or roll" flourishes in Duluth, and the 10th annual Homegrown Music Festival will be full of it.

Homegrown 2008 will rumble and sing and wail and fly from April 27 through May 4.

Bands are registering now, says Paul Connolly, the festival's director.

"We have over a hundred bands right now, and we're only about halfway through the registration process," he said Monday.

Musicians with a connection to the Duluth scene have until midnight on March 1 to register on www.duluth homegrown.com to be considered for a slot. We'll know who's booked by mid-March.

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Last year's Homegrown Music Festival featured 131 bands at 19 venues.

Founded in 1999 by Scott "Starfire" Lunt, the festival was sold to the monthly tabloid The Ripsaw in 2005. After one year, Brad and Tim Nelson, Ripsaw owners, donated the festival to the Bridge Syndicate, a group of young entrepreneurs who work to foster arts in the city. In 2006, the Bridge Syndicate fielded a management group, Connolly said.

"We tried to do it as an open group of many musicians and volunteers, but we found it was hard to have a group manage it," Connolly said. "Being the leader that he is, Don Ness did a lot of it. So in 2007 we made him the director. Then he became mayor, so [the Bridge Syndicate] elected me director for 2008."

Booking decisions are made on the basis of available space and local relevance. "We have to cap it at no more than 150 bands this year," Connolly said. "Last year, it was 131 bands, and this year we're looking to step it up because it's the 10-year anniversary ... but we've lost some venues.

Homegrown really is home-grown: Connolly said the festival books only bands from Duluth or with Duluth ties.

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