Hibbing’s Dylan Days committee disbands

Dylan Days 2014I bring some long awaited, sadly official news tonight. Dylan Days, the arts and literary event held every May in Bob Dylan’s hometown of Hibbing, Minnesota, will be going on indefinite hiatus. The three-member steering committee (of which I was a founding member) voted to disband this fall. In the time since we’ve been working with the organizers of Duluth’s Dylan Fest to ensure that some Dylan-themed events will continue in Hibbing this year.

Our official statement is below. In summary, if new volunteers want to step up to continue Dylan Days in Hibbing, or a version of Dylan Days, now is the time. Do not feel limited by the way the festival was run by Linda, Joe and I. We have a strong musical scene in Northern Minnesota, and it might be high time for a musician-led festival that focused on live, original music.

I am most sad about the B.J. Rolfzen Creative Writing Contest and “Talkin’ Blues” literary journal, which I have run for 11 years. I’d be particularly pleased if another dedicated writing group or educational organization wants to continue this tribute to the beauty of poetry and prose, in honor of B.J. Rolfzen, the man who taught two generations of Iron Rangers the power of the pen (including one Robert Zimmerman).

The story of Bob Dylan in Hibbing remains a fascinating tale of 20th Century America. For almost 15 years I told that story to thousands of people from all over the world. It was an honor, a thrill, an education. This little volunteer gig shaped the way I write and think about the world around me. I’m sad to let it go, but it’s time.

The official statement from DylanDays.org:

We, the organizing committee of Dylan Days, the annual arts and music event in Bob Dylan’s hometown of Hibbing, Minnesota, voted to disband on Oct. 22, 2014. The event, as such, will be going on indefinite hiatus.

For the last several years, three people have been primarily responsible for the organization of Dylan Days. In 2014, co-chair Linda Stroback Hocking and her husband Bob Hocking were forced to close the iconic Dylan-themed restaurant Zimmy’s in downtown Hibbing. Co-chair Joe Keyes and his wife Mary Palcich Keyes will be retiring and closing their retail bookstore storefront, Howard Street Booksellers, at the end of 2014. Co-chair Aaron Brown faces an increasingly demanding schedule with his Great Northern Radio Show. These combined personal factors make it impossible for the current committee to continue.

It remains the hope of the outgoing committee that new volunteers will step forward to continue Dylan Days programming in the city of Hibbing in honor of the town’s most famous son, and the reason for thousands of tourist stops in Hibbing every year. We are transferring our remaining funds to the Hibbing Arts Council for future appropriate use to honor Dylan.

Despite this sad news, we are so happy to acknowledge our friends and allies with the Duluth Dylan Fest activities in Duluth will continue to take place. The Duluth Dylan Fest committee has been a longtime partner and collaborator with Dylan Days.

Zane Bail, committee member of the Duluth Dylan Fest, shared, “It has been a fabulous partnership with the Hibbing Dylan Days committee over the past seven years. We are happy to continue carrying the torch to honor the Northland’s native son, Bob Dylan, and celebrate his influences on the vibrant art scene in this region and beyond.”

The Duluth Dylan Fest is currently planning the line-up for 2015, which will include elements of our popular bus tour in Hibbing for visiting Dylan tourists as well as the singer-songwriter contest. Other programming will be announced by them in the coming months.

For more than a decade, musicians, writers and Dylan fans have converged on Hibbing every May for Dylan Days. We shared stories and experiences, forging lifelong friendships. It is our hope that the spirit of Dylan Days will live on with new volunteers and a successive organization.

Dylan Days began informally as a Bob Dylan birthday celebration at Zimmy’s in 1991. In 2001, a citywide committee led by the Chamber of Commerce formed to coordinate Dylan Days activities, eventually becoming its own independent non-profit association.

“The Times They Are ‘a Changin.'” This is normal. This is healthy. We offer our sincerest thanks to all who have attended, supported and enhanced Dylan Days in Hibbing, Minnesota.

For more information, or to volunteer, contact Zane Bail of the Duluth Dylan Fest at duluthdylanfest@gmail.com

Duluth Dylan Fest

The Duluth Dylan Fest will be taking place May 17-24, 2015. To learn more please visit our website: www.bobdylanway.com or check out the Duluth Dylan Fest on Facebook. Or email us at duluthdylanfest@gmail.com



  1. Serah Delaini says

    Thank you so much for all you have done.

  2. Gerry Mantel says

    Yeah, too bad.
    And I had just talked “Howie and them” into coming up for the celebration.

  3. Gerry Mantel says

    Given that Zimmy’s has closed, Crippa’s is gone, and Dylan Days has disbanded, etc., maybe the realization here is that Uncle Bobby really isn’t from Duluth/Hibbing, after all … although he may have had some “extended family” in the immediate area.

    “Historical fiction,” if you will ….

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