Big to du: Caravan du Nord returns with Charlie Parr

CHRIS RIEMENSCHNEIDER | Updated 10/10/2013

Five-city nonprofit event will also bring Night Moves to Winona and the Pines to Detroit Lakes.

Acoustic blues/folk maestro Charlie Parr returns to his native Austin, Minn., on Friday courtesy the Caravan du Nord tour.

Getting to see Charlie Parr, Night Moves or the Pines in concert might seem everyday to spoiled Twin Citians, but what about to music lovers in outstate cities such as Austin, Winona or Detroit Lakes? It has turned into a big deal thanks to Caravan du Nord, the third annual roaming festival of sorts organized by the Minnesota Music Coalition and 89.3 the Current with Legacy Amendment funds and featuring inexpensive nighttime theater gigs and daytime musician workshops.

The new Caravan kicks off Friday with Parr and the Cactus Blossoms at Austin’s Paramount Theatre (Parr’s native town), and it continues through Nov. 16 with four more stops featuring 12 more bands, including one local opener in each city. Here’s the full rundown below. Details on the daytime workshops and tickets for the subsequent weekends can be found via the MN Music Coalition’s website.

AUSTIN (Friday): Charlie Parr, Cactus Blossoms, Full Circle, 7 p.m., Paramount Theatre, $10; with free musicians panel 2-3 p.m. and Parr interview 3-4 p.m. at Riverland Community College. More Info/RSVP.

WINONA (Oct. 18): Night Moves, Southwire, Mike Munson, 7 p.m., Page Theatre at St. Mary’s University, $5-$12. 

ST. CLOUD (Nov. 2): Astronautalis, Mayda, Paul Spring, 7:30 p.m., Paramount Theatre, $8.

DETROIT LAKES (Nov. 15): The Pines, Van Stee, Cecilia Erholtz at the  Historic Holmes Theatre.

RED WING (Nov. 16): The Honeydogs, the Ericksons, Mike Arturi at the T.B. Sheldon Theatre.

MMC director Ellen Stanley explained of the program, “These cities have beautiful historic theaters, but the rock, country and hip-hop acts always wind up getting relegated to the bars there, if they even go there at all.”

As you can probably guess by the low prices, ticket sales don't come anywhere near covering the traveling and production costs associated with the program. Hence the Legacy funds used. Plus, Stanley pointed out, "We pay the musicians a good wage, too. That's one of the points of this: To support our established musicians, and teach aspiring musicians that it can be done."

[Photo: Richard T. Narum]