Today 89.3 The Current and the Walker Art Center unveiled the lineup for the 2012 Rock The Garden concert in the Sculpture Garden on June 16 in an event at the Fitzgerald Theatre in St. Paul in a live broadcast revealing the lineup: Howler, tUnE yArDs, Doomtree, Trampled By Turtles, and The Hold Steady.
And of course, it already sold out to Walker and Minnesota Public Radio Members, so no matter what anyone says, it’s already a success where it counts – in raw ticket sales.
On the one hand, the line-up is a solid line-up criss-crossing various musical styles. It’s a diverse lineup that will make for a good day. It’s also surprisingly local heavy; three out of the five bands are local (and in the case of Doomtree, it’s the first local hip-hop act to play the Garden), the forth has tons of local ties, and the fifth has a strong local following. So in a way, it’s a great local line up from a radio station that is supposed to be a bastion of local music. And it’s great that the Walker is encouraging such a line-up for one of their marquee events in their performance art programming.
But there was a lot of division amongst the online community in regards to the line-up. And I can see why there was such a sense of malaise about it. There’s nothing special about the line-up, by which I mean it’s not impossible to see most of these bands in town at various venues. This line-up, while strong, doesn’t have that ring of a capital E event about it. The past Rock The Garden’s have always had a sense of occasion about them; be it from major artists or national artists that never play outdoor festivals.
This isn’t meant to be a knock on Rock The Garden or on the artists playing it this year. As I said it’s an extremely solid gathering of damn good artists (many of whom I am proud to know personally), and the show is sold out. But I can understand why people were underwhelmed about today’s announcement.