The Current, Walker Art Center announce end to Rock the Garden

Low perform at Rock the Garden
Duluth-based Low performs at Rock the Garden in Minneapolis on July 11.
Stephanie Nardi for MPR file

The Walker Art Center and MPR News sister station The Current on Wednesday announced they're ending the annual Rock the Garden music festival in Minneapolis.

“Rock the Garden has always been focused on bringing people together through music. We are grateful to go out on a high note as a team. This is now a fresh opportunity to conjure up new ways to serve ambitions that drive each institution in new ways," Walker Executive Director Mary Ceruti and MPR President Duchesne Drew said in a joint statement.

The statement didn't elaborate on reasons for the decision to end the festival.

After being canceled in 2020 and 2021 due to the pandemic, Rock the Garden had returned this past June at the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden, featuring Sleater-Kinney, Nathaniel Rateliff and the Night Sweats, and Duluth-based Low.

"The 13 festivals we co-produced together held so many memorable moments and brought joy and inspiration to many. We look forward to continuing to collaborate with MPR and The Current in new ways and new projects in the future," Philip Bither, McGuire director and senior curator of performing arts at the Walker, said in Wednesday's statement.

The Walker Art Center launched Rock the Garden in 1998, and it was put in hiatus in 2004. The Current partnered to re-launch the festival in 2008.

The annual music event was an unofficial start to summer for many Minnesotans, with lineups over the years that included many international, national and local stars — including David Byrne, Chance the Rapper, Lizzo, Wilco, the National, and Bon Iver.

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