Posts Tagged: Summer Music

Read Summer 2019 Inspire(d) Online!

The Summer 2019 Inspire(d) is here to help you Find the Magic! Inside, you’ll find:

Summer Theatre / Storytelling • Highlandville Dances + Foot-Notes • Peak Peaks in the Driftless • Foraging • Glamping • How to Make a Heart Mobile • Summer Music & More!

A note from Aryn:

I still get excited about summer. The many years of childhood anticipation have instilled a sense of hope about this fleeting season, even as a – somewhat– adult 38-year-old.

I grew up in the country just outside of Frankville, Iowa (population 300ish). We had 20 acres of woods that I would run around all season long – I remember hearing the trees creak and groan while exploring on windy days, or flattening a blanket on the ground so I could sit and read by a stream. It all felt pretty magical.

My goal with this Inspire(d) is to bring those vibes to your (and our) lives this summer!

You can start off at a Highlandville Dance with Foot-Notes, a Decorah-based band that has been playing Scandinavian tunes (and more) across the area for nearly 30 years, especially for Highlandville Dances. A true summer institution here in Northeast Iowa, it is virtually impossible to leave a Highlandville Dance with a frown on your face! Read the history of how it all got started in Kristine Jepsen’s story on page 16.

After that, you might want to sit for a bit! There are few things more magical than being transported to another time/place/moment through storytelling. Check out Sara Walters piece on page 34 to learn about some excellent opportunities to hear stories and see shows at world-class theatres and events in the Driftless this summer. P.S. That amazing cover image? It’s from American Players Theatre in Spring Green, Wisconsin, and we are definitely putting it on our to-do list this summer!

Looking for a more in-depth adventure? How about glamping? We love how area entrepreneurs are thinking outside the box…er…walls to making some really fun and eclectic spots for folks to stay for the night (or longer!). Maggie Sonnek shares some options on page 54.

Still in the wilderness mood? Try foraging! I’ve pretty much only foraged for morel mushrooms, personally (and I bet I’m not the only one), so I especially loved Sara Friedl-Putnam’s interesting story about foraging in the region. You get to follow along on a walk with Elsa McCargar and Conor Murphy, who run the local business, The Wilder’s Way, plus hear about Decorah’s Peter Kraus’ approach to native plants and Driftless cuisine. Oh, and there’s a recipe for a Wild Salad! Fun!

Now this is the place where I write about how you’ve gotta to make time to stop and find the magic this summer. That is the goal, for sure – but life is busy! Remember, though: You’re making the story of your summer – and your life – right now. Today! Do your best to slow it down and enjoy it! You can find some tips for doing that in my infographic, “Find the Magic,” on page 25.

We’ve filled this Inspire(d) with fun and love and magic so hopefully you can fill your summer with the same.

Big thanks to all of our amazing readers and advertisers – now get out there!

Looking forward,

Aryn Henning Nichols

Click here to read the Summer 2019 Inspire(d) online!

Get some music in your life this Driftless summer!

Them Coulee Boys will play at Hop Harvest Fest at Sweet 16 Farm and at Boats and Bluegrass in Winona!

Summertime in the Midwest means a lot of things, but special outdoor music events hit the top of our list each year! There are lots of great shows happening all season, but we picked out a handful that we’d definitely suggest adding to your calendar.


The Driftless Music Festival, July 13, Viroqua, Wisconsin – FREE! Join in this fantastic community festival as Eckhart Park becomes home to The Yellow-Bellied Sapsuckers, Honky-Tonk Jump, Orquestra MAS, Josh Hoyer & Soul Colossal, and the Brotherhood Singers. Music starts at 1pm and goes until evening, with snacks, food, and beverages on the grounds. This is a free, very family friendly event! www.driftlessmusicfestival.com


Seed Saver’s Benefit Concert, August 3, rural Decorah – Seed Savers Exchange is bringing back the ever-popular Benefit Concert this summer, featuring Dave Simonett of Trampled by Turtles, Lissie, Dave Huckfelt of The Pines, Pieta Brown, Michael Rosetto, and special guest Mr. Greg Brown. Gates open at 5 pm, show at 7 pm, and camping is available on-site. This is guaranteed to be one of the most amazing nights of the summer – see you there! www.seedsavers.org


Gray Area – August 9, rural Iowa City – Don’t miss your chance to hang out at the Flat Black Studio farm with William Elliott Whitmore, Appleseed Cast, American Cream, Catfish Keith, and more. Camping available and encouraged. www.flatblackstudios.com/grey-area


People Fest – August 8-10, Driftless Music Gardens near Yuba, Wisconsin – Join Todd Snider, Blackfoot Gypsies, People Brothers Band, Natty Nation, Pine Travelers, and many more at this special little corner of the world. Camping, community, and summer revelry at it’s finest. www.driftlessmusicgardens.com/people-fest


Hop Harvest Music Fest – August 24, Sweet 16 Farm near Houston, Minnesota – Head to this sweet (pun intended) farm for a family-friendly party! Check out Them Coulee Boys, The Lowest Pair, Driftless Sisters, My Grandma’s Cardigan, and Jaybone Bell. There will be vendors, craft beer, kids activities, and wood fired pizza too. Find more info and buy tickets at sweet16farm.com.


Boats &…… Bluegrass! Winona, September 26-29 – Ok, so technically Boats & Bluegrass isn’t until September, but we can’t help but plug this amazing local roots festival alongside the Mississippi river in Winona. 2019 is a Who’s Who of Midwest roots music, including Charlie Parr, Horseshoes & Hand Grenades, Shook Twins, Pert Near Sandstone, Dead Horses, Them Coulee Boys, Lowest Pair, Barbaro, Stanton West – all MC’d by regional poet and new-time roustabout, Pete Engen. Camping, music, boats & canoes, food, and tasty beverages on site. What are you waiting for? Get your tickets and make plans to be there! www.boatsandbluegrass.com