Dylan Fest 2017 honors Northern MN’s own Bob Dylan

Every May, Bob Dylan’s shared hometowns of Duluth, where he was born, and Hibbing, where he grew up, celebrate music, poetry and culture in his honor.

This year, Dylan is fresh off his Nobel Prize for Literature. And while the former Bobby Zimmerman isn’t expected to appear at this year’s festivities, a full lineup of fun awaits Dylan fans and music tourists.

Duluth’s Dylan Fest is the primary event, the successor to the old Dylan Days that I used to help run in Hibbing. While most events are held in Duluth, there are things happening in Hibbing this year as well.

Here’s the lineup:

Saturday, May 20 –Armory Arts and Music Center Benefit Concert Robby Vee and His Rock-N-Roll Caravan from 7:30 to 10:30 p.m. at Karpeles Manuscript Library Museum. (Tickets start at $25)

From the Armory Arts and Music Center press release:

Robby Vee “The Prince Of Twang” was born Robert Velline and named after his father Bobby Vee. He is recognized by both the American and Canadian Rockabilly Hall of Fames and has been performing his unique style of Rock-n- Roll music for years on stages across the globe. Robby has learned from and shared credits and stages with the best, including Carl Perkins, Albert Lee, Little Richard, the Everly Brothers, Sir Paul McCartney, Eric Clapton, Dion, The Righteous Brothers, Buddy Holly’s Crickets and many more.

Robby is known for combining elements of his vast repertoire telling stories that bridge the generation gap from “the roots of Rock n Roll to the new sounds of Americana music of today”. As an Entertainer with many studio records to his name, countless guest artist credits, and a history of extensive touring, Vee has captured the attention of audiences and respected industry professionals both Nationally and Internationally.

Robby’s dad Bobby Vee got his start in music at the age of 15 with his group The Shadows when they filled in for Buddy Holly in Moorhead, MN in February 1959, the day after the fateful plane crash. Later that year Bobby would hire a young Robert Zimmerman – then going by the name Elston Gunnn – to play piano for a few shows.  The rest is history for both of these fine artists.  They met again in Greenwich Village in the early 1960’s and then did not connect again for another 30 years. Since the 1990’s they stayed in close touch.  Bobby Vee went on to perform at the Historic Duluth Armory many times over the years.

Bobby Vee performed at the Duluth Armory on numerous occasions and the family is very supportive of our efforts to restore and revitalize this iconic Duluth building.

Sunday, May 21— Dylan Pub Trivia – 9 p.m. Carmody Irish Pub

Monday, May 22– Dylan Themed Art Show Opening Reception at Zeitgeist Atrium from 5-7:00 p.m. (Free). Art Show runs May 20-28. 

Tuesday, May 23  – Music with Greg Tiburzi from 6:30-8 p.m., followed by Dylan Fest Open Mic hosted by Marc Gartmen from 9-11 p.m. at Sir Ben’s Tavern. (Free).

Wednesday, May 24– Poets of the North Country event from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at the Spirit of the North Theatre at Fitger’s. (Free).

The Basement Tapes Band at The Rex at Fitger’s starting at 9 p.m. with $10 cover.  (Advance tickets $8)

Meantime, back in Hibbing. Celebrate Bob Dylan’s Birthday in Hibbing! The Hibbing Dylan Project will be hosting a birthday bash featuring Cowboy Angel Blue on Wednesday, May 24, 2017 at Grandma’s in the Park. 5-8 p.m. (Tickets $30/person, purchase at Grandma’s in the Park or by calling 218-262-3047).

Thursday, May 25 – Blood on the Tracks Express Train Ride from Duluth to Two Harbors and Back boarding at 5:30 p.m. from the Depot showcasing a number of up and coming and seasoned musicians from our rich regional music scene. (Tickets)

Friday, May 26 – Dylan Bus Tour from Duluth to Hibbing and Back – leaving the Armory Arts and Music Center (AAMC) at 9 a.m. and returning promptly at 5 p.m.  (Tickets $40)

Dylan Fest Singer Songwriter Contest 7:00 PM at Clyde Iron Works.  Free. There are still a few spots available.  Sign up at dulthdylanfest@gmail.com

Saturday, May 27 – Dylan Fest Presentation by Dylanologist Phil Fitzpatrick, “Roots & Echoes from the North County” from 3:00 to 4:00 p.m. Karpeles Manuscript Library Museum.  (Free).

Dylan Fest Party with Cowboy Angel Blue at Carmody Irish Pub from 8-11:30 p.m. Jim Hall music 11:30 p.m. to close. (Free). 

Sunday, May 28 – Farewell Brunch at Zeitgeist Café featuring live music by Jim Hall at 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.  No cover for music.


  1. Gerry Mantel says

    He’s a legend in his own mind … or perhaps, a legend in his spare time ….

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