By Aitkin County Friends of the Arts (other events)

Saturday, August 26 2023 11:00 AM 10:00 PM CDT


This year's festival is ready to rumble, and it's going to be AWESOME! 12 bands all day and night on Saturday, plus a Friday evening concert by an award-winning Nashville artist at The Ripple Center, AND four heavy metal bands down the street at Sampaguita on Saturday night (Sampaguita tickets sold separately at their door).  Definitely a first for Aitkin, MN - and it's all for YOU!

• Tickets for Aitkin County Friends of the Arts members are just $20 for Aitkin County Friends of the Arts members! That's 12 bands for $20 bucks!

• Non-member tickets are $25.

How do I become a member?
Click here for more info. Trust us - it's quick & painless.
Can I become a member first, then come back here and buy $20 tickets?
Yep, we'll know.

What do I get with a membership?
Your membership gets you discounted tickets at Friends of the Arts concerts and events just like this one! Also, Aitkin County Friends of the Arts is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization – your purchase is a tax-deductable donation that directly supports the future of performing arts in Aitkin County. Win/win! 

Where is the festival? Downtown Aitkin on Minnesota Ave N between 3rd St NW & 4th St NW. You really can't miss it. 

Can I bring a chair? Yes, we encourage it. Picnic table will be available but they tend to fill up fast.

Can I bring a cooler? Sorry, no coolers will be allowed at the festival.

Will there be food available for sale? Yes, several vendors will be at the festival. 


2023 ARTISTS ~ 2023 ARTISTS ~ 2023 ARTISTS ~ 2023 ARTISTS


7-9pm Alice Wallace
This show is included with your RippleSippi Music Fest ticket.
For a ticket to ONLY this show and NOT Saturday's music fest, CLICK HERE. 

Alice was named the Female Vocalist of the Year at the California Country Awards in 2017. Her vocal power and control is one of the first things noted in every review she ever receives, and this new batch of songs puts that power on full display. Her vocal style draws influence from iconic voices ranging from Linda Ronstadt to Patsy Cline, not to mention keeping the country yodel alive with songs from classic artists like Patsy Montana and Don Walser.

One of the most unheralded singers in independent country/Americana. (Saving Country Music)

Sometimes you hear an album and the only way you can think to describe it is stunning. (Americana Highways)



8:45pm Wild Horses 
Hailing from the deep woods of northern Minnesota, Wild Horses makes a home between the traditions of folk, western, and rock music. With roots in the Minnesota bluegrass music community, frontman Jed LaPlant draws inspiration from the simple storytelling of traditional music, but offers a more dynamic and driving approach sonically. Wild Horses crafts the ability to draw listeners in with both captivating melodies and a hard-hitting drive in the same live experience. Their debut record, Runaway, was released in the summer of 2022 followed by a Western US tour to bring the songs back to the place from which they were inspired. Wild Horses' core consists of Jed LaPlant (vocals, guitar), Ariana LaPlant (vocals, keys, fiddle), McKeon Hugh Roberts (bass), and JJ Snell (drums).


7pm: Charlie Parr
They don't make them like Parr anymore.... (No Depression Magazine)
Charlie is an American country blues musician. Born in Austin, Minnesota, he spent part of his childhood in Hollandale before starting his music career in Duluth. His influences include Charlie Patton, Bukka White, Reverend Gary Davis, Dave Van Ronk, and Mississippi John Hurt. He plays a Mule resonator, National resonator guitar, a fretless open-back banjo, and a twelve-string guitar, often in the Piedmont blues style. Parr has released 17 albums and currently records for the Smithsonian Folkways label. He is often referred to as "Minnesota's National Treasure". 

Parr continues to spin life’s small details into profound lyrical observations of acceptance and wonder….the further adventures of a guitar-picking great. (MOJO) 

Parr is an example of a performer who never allows his gifts to get in the way of the music. His guitar playing is virtuosic and yet never becomes a distraction from the power of the story he's weaving before our ears. (Popmatters)


6pm: Brothers Burn Mountain 
Based out of Duluth, MN, The Brothers Burn Mountain are a soulful, energetic, eclectic duo of real-life brothers, Ryan and Jesse Dermody. They've been playing music together every day as a duo for more than 20 years. They've released 10 full-length albums of original music, and have toured across the country over the years, though especially in the Midwest, having played more than 1,850 live shows. Their sound is a roiling melting pot of so many musical influences that it's hard to describe, except as energetic and eclectic; with afro-cuban rhythms, Zappa-esque spontanaeity, grittiness, bluesyness, tenderness, and a singer-songwriter, folky flair.
They've found a very deep-vibe way to record and it sounds amazing. It's vivid, mystical, and pure from the heart... I hope lots of people hear it. (Alan Sparhawk, from the band Low)


5pm: Kelley Smith is an indie-folk artist based in Minnesota. She’s hitched to a Canadian mountain man and has 4 kids. Raised in the woods by musicians, she is most at peace when connected with nature and song. Some of her influences include Gillian Welch, John Prine, Doc Watson, The Avett Brothers, Bob Dylan, and Iris Dement. Kelley is a guitar picker who dabbles in several folk instruments as well as the piano. She has battled with depression and anxiety, particularly social anxiety throughout her life, and finally found the courage to tap into her musical roots when 35 and ready for something different. She began teaching herself guitar late at night when the kids were asleep. As an insomniac, her first batch of songs were written by moonlight. She brings an aching, raw and whimsical energy to her music when she’s crooning about mid-life, mental health, love and family, identity, daydreams, and her fascination with the moon. Kelley’s first EP will be released in the fall of 2022. She opened for Dave Simonett in May 2022 at the Butler Building, Aitkin. 
Kelley Smith is amazing. (Dave Simonett from Trampled by Turtles)


4pm: Rich Mattson and the Northstars are an Iron Range rock-and-roll linchpin. Rich Mattson has been writing, recording and performing with partner Germaine Gemberling in this outfit since 2014. With influences ranging from the Byrds, Neil Young, Tom Petty, X, and Link Wray, the group’s original “cosmic folk” has cycled back to a more rocking sound in recent years. The group performs all around Minnesota and beyond and has been invited to share the stage with such notable acts as the Minus 5, the Jayhawks, and Trampled By Turtles. Somewhat of a Minnesota music staple, Mattson is well known for his songwriting and outstanding showmanship as well as his work with literally thousands of artists at his Sparta Sound recording studio.


3pm: Gaelynn Lea is an American folk singer, violinist, public speaker and disability advocate from Duluth, Minnesota. She won NPR's 2016 Tiny Desk Contest. Gaelynn was born with osteogenesis imperfecta, a genetic condition that causes complications in the development of bones and limbs. Lea became impassioned by classical music from an early age, and in fourth grade a teacher took notice and encouraged Lea to pursue music after she had the class's only perfect score on a music listening test. Lea developed a technique for violin which involved holding the bow "like a bassist" with the body of the instrument placed in front of her, like a cello, and attached to her foot so it wouldn't slip when she played. 

Lea's early career collaborations included the alternative folk music duo The Murder of Crows with Alan Sparhawk, an "atmospheric, improvisational project" they began in 2011. Lea was also the violinist/vocalist of the Scandinavian folk/rock band Snöbarn, which released its first and only album in 2013. The album was titled, "Hand by Hand". Additionally, Lea has played with Charlie Parr and Billy McLaughlin. Lea gained exposure after winning NPR's 2016 Tiny Desk Contest. Her song and performance for "Someday We'll Linger in the Sun" was selected over six thousand other submissions by a committee that included Dan Auerbach of the Black Keys, Jess Wolfe of Lucius, Son Lux and NPR staff. Auerbach's citation read: "This song starts off with the sound of 20 old floorboards groaning and creaking in unison and then Karen Dalton and Joanna Newsom melt together in the form of Gaelynn Lea and set about absolutely obliterating your heart."

In 2022, Lea made her Broadway debut as the composer of original music for the revival of Macbeth, directed by Sam Gold at the Longacre Theatre.


2pm: Aurora Baer is an Aitkin-born artist who dropped out of UMD in part to pursue a career of live music entertainment in dive bars. Having succeeded in this realm, she now hides in a small town in Central Minnesota living the simple life. Her original music used to be folksy, but nowadays she writes rock and roll about the military industrial complex and outer space. 
Music samples coming soon.

1:15pm: Songbridge is comprised of four talented local artists who perform covers from the 60's - current day with the magic of amazing harmony. The band members are Pete Lowe Sr on guitar and vocals, Dennis Westlander on bass and vocals, Jill Sadlowsky on tambourine and vocals, and Christian McShane on guitar and vocals.

12:30pm: The French Hillbillies are a musical duo consisting of Alexandrine Harris and Sandra Lehman, residents of Aitkin. The music genre they play is Americana with a pinch of French flair.

11:45am: Amanda Standalone is a writer, folk musician and multi-instrumentalist from Minnesota. Standalone has released two albums, Millions of Blackbirds (2010), which bears the title track "Bird flew Hard" for the HBO documentary Paycheck to Paycheck: The Life and Times of Katrina Gilbert, and Trouble (2014), funded in part by a grant from the Lakes Region Arts Council. Her music is a soulful blend of acoustic folk/blues strongly influenced by American Roots music. She skillfully attacks the guitar, banjo, and her single stringed washtub, while packing an extra punch with her rich vocals. Currently, Standalone is working on her 3rd album, a concept album based on ghost stories and stories from the other side. Amanda has traveled abroad iwth her music, but currently resides in Crosby, MN.
Music samples coming soon.

11am: Mike & Jan Cherry are a husband and wife duo who play a variety of 60s & 70s tunes. They're one of the oldest musical mainstays in Aitkin County. If you never heard of them or seen them perform, you probably haven't been to Aitkin County. 
Music samples coming soon.


Aitkin County Friends of the Arts