Talking music: Caravan du Nord rolls back into Austin

Published 7:01 am Monday, September 12, 2016

Another dose of music and artistic discussions are coming to Austin.

The Caravan du Nord will return to Austin on Oct. 22 with a 7:30 p.m. concert headlined by Twin Cities up-and-comers Bad Bad Hats at the Historic Paramount Theatre after an afternoon of workshops.

Ellen Stanley, executive director of the Minnesota Music Coalition, which organizes the Caravan, described Bad Bad Hats as a young, fun indie rock band.

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“They’re one of the up-and-coming bands,” she said. “They’re touring nationally and they’re from the cities,”

Local band Severe Logic, a pop, rock and country group, will open the show and Americana act Erik Koskinen will also play.

The Caravan du Nord is a continuing project put on by the Minnesota Music Coalition and sponsored by 89.3 The Current as a way to bring big state acts to communities in greater Minnesota.

“It’s about exposing more audiences across Minnesota to new music and also connecting the artist with new venues to play and sharing their music and their skills, and I feel like austin is a great example of those audiences really connecting with those artists,” Stanley said.

Stanley said the Caravan aims to bring something fun and outside of the box, as the shows typically feature a collection of various music so there’s fun for everyone.

Last year’s Austin concert brought Har Mar Superstar, someone Stanley said was a bit out of the box for some people, but she said the people came out and really enjoyed the show.

The Caravan has six stops across Minnesota, but this is the only one featuring this lineup.

The Caravan has been coming to Austin for several years, and Stanley hopes that will continue well into the future.

“It’s certainly one of our anchor destinations,” she said.

Stanley praised the Austin Area Commission for the Arts and people like former AACA Executive Director Jennie Knoebel for supporting the Caravan.

But the Caravan isn’t just about the performance. In recent years, the Minnesota Musical Coalition has hosted workshops at the Austin ArtWorks Center, 300 N. Main St., to help musicians and artists learn some tools of the trade.

This year’s stop will feature two workshops from 2:30 to 4:30 p.m. One session will focus on grant writing opportunities, while the second workshop’s theme hasn’t yet been set.

Stanley described the workshops as a great way to hone artistic skills, meet artists and industry professionals and learn about the business.

Plus, Stanley noted the workshops and shows have been embraced by fans and participants from Austin and neighboring communities.

“It’s been great because the actual audiences are just so game,” she said with a laugh.

Stanley said the goal is for the workshops to meet community needs of musicians and artists.

The panels will feature members of the Minnesota Music Coalition, people from the regional arts council, representatives from The Current and grant writers.

While the sessions focus on musicians, Stanley noted they topics covered can be used by a variety of artistic-minded people, like designers, writers, visual artist and more.

In fact, Stanley hopes the sessions will connect artistic-minded people of various disciplines who may be able to work together.

“The more we can do that, the better,” she said.

After the sessions, a social hour will follow at Dusty’s Lounge from 5 to 6 p.m., which Stanley said is a great time for the artists to meet and mingle more of for people to stop by and check it out.

Along with the Caravan du Nord, the Minnesota Music Coalition sponsors programming throughout the year. For more on the Minnesota Music Coalition and other programs, visit