No Basilica Block Party in 2022; the organizers will “rethink” the music festival
After a cancellation in 2020 and a delayed and slowed return last September, the Basilica Block Party is going on hiatus in 2022 so organizers can “reimagine” the 26th annual midsummer music festival in front of Minneapolis’ largest church. .
“Live events have had to rethink their strategy and their future because of COVID, and the Block Party is no different,” said Holly Dockendorf, special events manager at St. Mary’s Basilica, in a press release. . “Taking a year off will give us time to rethink what the event could be and how to improve it for the future.”
The news broke Thursday morning as other Upper Midwest summer festivals began announcing their lineups for 2022 this week, including Des Moines Backcountry and Milwaukee Summerfest.
A spokesperson for Rock the Garden, which typically lands in mid-June outside the Walker Art Center near the basilica, said organizers hope to announce their 2022 plans in the coming weeks. Rock the Garden was canceled in 2020 and 2021.
Last year’s Basilica Feast was moved to September 10-11 from its usual weekend in early July due to COVID safety precautions, and it still faced a few tough breaks.
Its Saturday headliners, the Avett Brothers, canceled two days in advance after members of their crew tested positive. Concerns about COVID also lingered among attendees, and it became one of the few major festivals to implement a proof-of-vaccine requirement. Fewer than 10,000 people showed up each night for youthful lineup that also included AJR, Motion City Soundtrack, Spoon and the Black Pumas — compared to typical crowds of around 15,000.
The festival had seen a surge in attendance in 2019, when international conglomerate Live Nation took over bookings from local stalwart Sue McLean & Associates and brought in Kacey Musgraves, Jason Isbell and Semisonic. But even Live Nation has been hit hard by COVID in 2020 and 2021.
“Compared to previous non-COVID years, attendance was down in 2021 and that was expected,” Dockendorf said, “but as the pandemic continues with many uncertainties, we thought it would be a good time to do a planned break.”
The block party was started in 1995 primarily as a fundraiser for the upkeep and restoration of St. Mary’s Basilica, the 108-year-old Catholic cathedral on Hennepin Avenue between 16th and 17th streets N. in the center -city of Minneapolis. Over the years, the event has raised over $5 million.