By Melanie Larson
For two nights in September, the shores of Lake Superior will be alive with the sounds of music and celebration as Grand Marais holds the 15th annual Unplugged benefit concert in support of North House Folk School. Unplugged XV will be taking place on the North House campus and will feature performances from nine renowned musicians in a distinctive “in the round” format that you won’t want to miss.
Founded in 1997, North House Folk School was created to enrich the community of Grand Marais through the teaching of traditional northern crafts. Since then, the school has received overwhelming reception, even catching the eye of a certain Grammy award-winning songwriter. “Fifteen years ago now, Jon Vezner first stumbled into a then quiet, but nevertheless inspiring North House Folk School campus,” recalls Kate Watson, North House’s Communications Manager. “Jon’s impression of North House’s vision was so strong that he returned to Nashville to enlist a few well-known friends to host a benefit concert.” Vezner has returned every year with a lineup of talented singer-songwriters to bring awareness to this remarkable school.
To commemorate the 15th milestone, Vezner will be bringing back nine Unplugged alumni, including four inductees from the Songwriter Hall of Fame. Friday night will see performances from the likes of Tom Paxton, Lisa Brokop, Pat Alger, and Gretchen Peters, with performances from Jon Vezner, Don Henry, Amy Speace, and Matraca Berg completing the Saturday night lineup, along with special guest Jonathan Brown appearing both nights.
These artists will be participating in a concert format which is referred to as “in the round,” where songwriters sit on stage together and take turns playing songs, sharing stories, and collaborating. “It’s very informal and leads to spontaneous collaborations,” explains Unplugged XV performer Amy Speace. “It’s about sharing the experience with fellow musicians, sharing their music as well as my own.” Unplugged XV is the perfect opportunity to truly immerse yourself in the artistic community of Grand Marais through crafts, storytelling, and music.
Unplugged XV will take place on September 15-18. To purchase tickets visit northhouse.tix.com.
North House Folk School-Grand Marais, Minnesota from Layne Kennedy on Vimeo.