Dylan Fest 2016 coming to Duluth, Hibbing

Dylan Days 2008 featured a rare photo of Bob Dylan on a friend's motorcycle in his hometown of Hibbing, Minnesota.

Dylan Days 2008 featured a rare photo of Bob Dylan on a friend’s motorcycle in his hometown of Hibbing, Minnesota.

Fun Fact: The IRRRB, the Blandin Foundation, M&Ms and Bob Dylan all turn 75 this year.

This is the kind of information that passes through my mind on a lovely May day in Northern Minnesota.

It’s been a few years since we closed up shop at Dylan Days in Hibbing. I’ve now totally expunged from my mind the annual routines of planning and coordinating the writing contest. No schedule to set. No press releases. I don’t miss the work, given my schedule, but I miss the fact that it was a special, heartfelt event that brought people to Hibbing.

Just as before the year 2000, there is now little visible evidence that Bob Dylan spent most of his formative years in this Iron Range city at one of the more interesting times in our region’s history.

Dylan’s nearby birthplace of Duluth has picked up the banner, and includes touring trips to Hibbing as part of their Dylan Fest schedule. Like the ongoing Homegrown Music Festival, Duluth has a full week of activities planned for Dylan Fest, May 22-29.

According to a press release, this year’s highlights include:

  • 48 hour Dylan Film Fest
  • Art Show featuring Daniel Botkin
  • Duluth Does Dylan CD Release Party
  • Poets from the North County featuring Duluth Poet Laurates Barton Sutter and Jim Johnson and author of
  • Blood on the Tracks Express rolling music revue featuring local musicians and Dylan Fest favorite the Boomchucks aka The Freewheelers
  • Duluth Dylan Fest Singer Songwriter Contest
  • Duluth to Hibbing and Back Dylan Fest Bus Tour
  • Postage Stamp Cancellation Event
  • Amory Arts & Music Center Benefit Concert: The Basement Tapes/Great White Wonder Concert
  • Farewell Brunch at the Zeitgeist Café featuring songwriter Jim Hall

We are excited to share that a special Bob Dylan exhibit featuring handwritten lyrics, inscribed photographs, early concert flyers and more from the William Pagel Achieves will be on exhibit May 4-30 at Karpeles Manuscript Library Museum.

Ticketed Duluth Dylan Fest events are available on https://www.eventbrite.com/d/local/dylan-fest/

  • May 24 Duluth Does Dylan CD Release Party at 7:30 p.m.
  • May 26 Blood on the Tracks Express Rolling Music Revue
    • Featuring Aurora Baer with Adam Staupe, Todd Eckart, Jim Hall, Gene LaFond and Amy Grillo, Gaelynn Lea, Ed Newman and Lee Johnson, Rich Mattson and Germain Gemberling, Colleen Myhre, The Boomchucks – Brad Nelson and Jamie Ness, Lonnie Knight and Reid Papke
  • May 27 Dylan Bush Tour: Duluth to Hibbing and Back from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • May 28 Bob Dylan Benefit Concert for the Armory Arts & Music Center at 7 p.m.

All other events are free!

Bill Pagel, owner of one of the world’s largest private collections of Dylan memorabilia, has select items from his vault on their first public showing in Duluth, according to this story in the May 4 Duluth News Tribune. Bill lives in Hibbing, just down the street from Bob’s old house.

With the public outpouring of grief over the death of Prince two weeks ago, we are left to remember that Dylan somehow outlived him. It is good to celebrate the people who made us dance, think and love — whether they are with us or on tour in the hereafter.

Duluth Dylan Fest 2016 Schedule


  1. Gerry Mantel says

    Yeah … wasn’t Dylan the guy that used to play harmonica, then switched to piano?
    And then (on piano) didn’t he write that song “My Dog Has Fleas?”

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