The countdown to the Big Turn Music Fest is in the single digits, the venues have been announced, the lineup released and "BTMF Logbooks" can be found around town so residents can plan their route through the event to catch all of their favorite acts.
When flipping through the logbook it quickly becomes clear that the festival will shine a bright spotlight on Minnesota-based artists (we are, after all, the state of Prince). Southeastern Minnesota and our western Wisconsin neighbors will be represented in the fest by local grounds: Alluvion, The Key Kids, The Local Hooligans, and Tommy Bentz Band, to name a few.
Brooke Elizabeth, hailing from Ellsworth, is scheduled to perform at the Red Wing Arts Depot Gallery on the Friday of the festival. This will be her second appearance at BTMF.
Elizabeth wrote, "I think the most exciting part for me is performing for an audience of music lovers. The people that come to Big Turn are here to support local musicians and enjoy all of the great music that is in our community. It creates a really great atmosphere for an artist."
Elizabeth's set will be a mix of originals and covers. Since last year's BTMF, Elizabeth has written new songs that she looks forward to share with festival-goers. She also released a new single titled "You" in December.
When she's not behind a mic, Elizabeth plans to attend other festival performances: "I am hoping to get to Chastity Brown's performance. I have seen her a couple of times in the past and she is amazing! Lydia Liza is another one of my favorites so hopefully I can get to some of hers as well. I also want to see Dessa. I have listened to her music but haven't been to a show. There are so many honestly, so I am just looking forward to getting to as many acts as I can."
Rick DeVoe, owner of Fair Trade Books, also will be participating in the festival, not as a musician but as a venue host.
"We've been hosting music and other events here at Fair Trade Books for years," DeVoe said. The store's staff has practice moving tables, setting up chairs, and making sure that the stage lighting is on. This year the store will be the stage for Jason Edward, Trevor Marty, Wayward, Luke Callen, Shagawa Shorty and Maygen Lacey & The Birdwatchers.
Fair Trade Books will also host singer songwriter and headliner of BTMF Dessa's book signing from 1-3 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 24.
The other 20 venues for the event are also preparing for the festival. John and Valerie Becker, owners of Red Wing Framing and Fine Art Printing, having been preparing for the festival for about six weeks. New lights were strung on the outside of their building, the shop was cleaned, tiki torches (for outside use only, don't worry) were purchased, and the Beckers are making plans to serve kettle corn in the parking lot during the festivities.
John Becker, who represents Ward 2 on the Red Wing City Council, said he is excited that his business is a venue for the 2019 BTMF because of his experience hosting during the 2018 festival.
"It was a remarkable success. We had a full house for six hours on two different nights." Red Wing Framing has room for 39 people and had out-the-door lines at times last year. Eventually, Becker said, they had to turn people away and tell them to come back later.
Becker is also excited about the impact that the festival has on Red Wing. "It shows-off the community," he said.