Editor's note: This story is part of a series looking back at some of the biggest stories of 2018. Find the rest of the series here: Top Ten 2018.
Despite the calendar's claim that it was the middle of winter, Red Wing felt a little warmer on Feb. 16 and 17, 2018, because the Big Turn Music Fest was in town. Maybe it was from the body heat of the 1,600 people who participated in the festival, maybe it was the people running throughout the city to make sure that they saw each group performing or, maybe, the 250 musicians just distracted Red Wing residents with their music long enough to make them forget that it was winter in Minnesota.
Sam Brown created the Big Turn when he felt the need for a new creative outlet. The Red Wing High School graduate is the founder of and on the board for the Midwest Music Fest in Winona, but he wanted to do more. So Brown launched Red Wing's first winter music festival.
Despite the cold and snow, many community members and businesses were excited. As Brown previously told the Republican Eagle, Big Turn brought people to Red Wing in the slow tourist season, it gave musicians a place to play and it helped get residents out from hibernation.
The festival also sparked events around the community. Downtown Main Street revived Shiver River Days on Feb. 17, an event where locals and visitors embrace Minnesota's legendary winters and host events (inside and out) throughout Downtown Red Wing. Sargent's Nursery also got involved in the festivities by hosting a "girls day out."
The first Big Turn had 120 volunteers and 17 venues. Brown and the festival added six more venues for 2019 festival Feb. 22-23 to accommodate more than 133 musical groups and performers. Most of those are from Minnesota, Wisconsin and Iowa.
Of all those participating in the festival, Brown is most excited about Charlie Parr, who will be performing both nights. Other headliners include Dessa, General B and the Wiz, The 4onthefloor, Chastity Brown, Gaelynn Lea and Toki Wright. With over 20 headliners, there will most likely be something for everyone.
Though the first note of 2019's Big Turn has not yet been played, Brown is already thinking about Big Turn Festival 2020.
"It is difficult not to dream ahead of what may come ... different mixes of headliners, etc.," Brown explained.
Now, Brown and the Big Turn team is focusing on the 2019 festival. According to Brown, they are hoping to have more than 2,000 people attend the two-day event. For those interested in attending, passes can be bought at the Sheldon Theatre's box office during regular hours.
For more information, https://www.bigturnmusicfest.com.