First Avenue postpones its summer festival

CHRIS RIEMENSCHNEIDER | Updated 4/23/2013

Locked into a July 20 date at Parade Fields, the club's inaugural outdoor bash lost a couple headliners last-minute.

The postponement of Live Nation’s River’s Edge Fest was a tad disappointing, but now comes the real bummer of the summer for Twin Cities music lovers: First Avenue is also holding off on its inaugural festival in 2013.

The club confirmed the postponement in a press release today, after weeks of harassing tweets and much speculation over it. Most of the summer’s other big music bashes have already announced their lineups, but First Ave’s fest – scheduled July 20 at Parade Athletic Fields near downtown – was stuck in limbo.

“We had a lineup in place ready to go, and then over the course of three days our two biggest acts dropped out,” said First Ave general manager Nate Kranz, whose disappointment was as audible as a Motorhead gig at his legendary club.

Here’s some of what the press release says from the club: “For our inaugural fest we hope to create an event that lives up to the high standards of First Avenue. If we had moved forward this year that would not have been possible.”

Kranz did not name names, but we know that at least one of the pull-outs is coming to town in July for another big outdoor event. Another legendary one that was in line for the show probably isn’t coming here at all.

A search for replacements came up short given the relatively late notice and inflexibility of the day, which is stipulated based on the event’s approval by the Minneapolis Parks & Recreation Board. First Ave’s fest will have its day, though. Kranz said he and the staff will circle the wagons and lock in bands even earlier. They might even go ahead with plans to make it a two-day event next year.

“We had plenty of bands that are interested, but they just weren’t available that exact day this year,” Kranz explained. “We can’t offer them another date like we can at the club.”

On the upside, all those calls looking for acts did lead to some of the other big shows First Ave is promoting elsewhere this summer – on other days. That includes the already sold-out Alabama Shakes concert at Cabooze Plaza a week later, July 28, and the cool, only-in-Minnesota gig announced yesterday with Trampled by Turtles and Atmosphere at Bayfront Festival Park on June 29.

There’s one more silver lining, too: The postponement frees up fans to attend the Grumpy’s Bash 13, also booked July 20 (by pure coincidence) in the parking lot party behind the downtown bar and featuring old-school First Ave regulars Mudhoney, the Melvins, Die Kreuzen and Negative Approach. “Mudhoney is one of my favorite bands,” Kranz said, “so I know where I’m going to be that day instead of our fest.”

[Photo: Star Tribune file]