Rock the Garden expanding to a two-day festival in 2014

CHRIS RIEMENSCHNEIDER | Updated 12/10/2013

The annual hipster rock fest outside the Walker will happen June 21-22 with two-day passes available starting in April.

The scene from the top of the hill outside Walker Art Center as Metric performed during Rock the Garden this past June. / Anna Reed, Star Tribune

News that will be greeted with cheers by just about everyone except Walker Art Center’s neighbors, Rock the Garden will be a two-day music festival this summer instead of just a one-day affair. It’s scheduled June 21-22, a Saturday and Sunday, and will feature five bands per day.

The lineup is still coming together, and performers themselves will not be announced until April. Tickets will be sold at that time as both two-day and single-day passes. Prices have not yet been determined (last year’s were $49). As always, members of the Walker and Minnesota Public Radio will get first dibs. All 10,000 tickets have sold out in recent years faster than you can imitate Mark Wheat pronouncing “Messersmith.”

A membership drive first and foremost, RTG also brings in money to its co-producing nonprofit organizations. The 2012 party with the Hold Steady for headliners, for instance, profited about $32,000 after $690,000 in expenses. Since part of the annual costs is setting up the stage in front of the Walker’s grassy knoll and prepping the grounds – one-time expenses that are the same whether it’s a one-day or two-day event – the 2014 installment should thus be all the more profitable with a second day to make money.

Still, there are risks with this doubling-down bet. The first day of RTG 2014 will go up against the long-awaited return of 89.3 the Current favorite Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds at the State Theatre. First Avenue is also still considering the launch of its inaugural outdoor festival at Parade Athletic Fields in July, which could steal some of RTG’s thunder.

Working to RTG’s advantage this year, however: It will not go up against Bonnaroo in Tennessee this year like it did last year, which cut out 100-plus prospective acts for them to bring to the garden party. Bonnaroo is scheduled the weekend before, June 12-15.