News Column

Bridge Festival promotes environmental, personal health

July 4, 2013


July 04--The Twin Ports Bridge Festival includes a mix of music, environmental consciousness, community yoga and speakers on two stages at Bayfront Festival Park.

Saturday's daylong event, in its third year, is designed as a wellness booster and is billed as a way to bridge community. It was started in 2011 by Shane Bauer, owner of Laughingstock Design.

Here is a primer on some of what festival goers will see:

Cloud Cult

The former Duluth-based band played the festival in 2011 and is about the perfect act for the event that speaks to environmental awareness. Cloud Cult is among the Earth-friendliest of Earth-friendly acts. It has planted trees to offset its tour footprint; it is known for recycling CD jewel cases.

Musically, the indie group fronted by Craig Minowa has big string band moments and vocal distortion within a pop framework. The musicians share a stage with two painters and sometimes all of them take time out to whack at snare drums, dance barefoot and otherwise be publicly ebullient.

Minowa has been known to give shout-outs to Lake Superior.

Cloud Cult released its album "Love" -- which is also the theme of the festival -- earlier this year.

Shannon Frid of Cloud Cult performs with Cobey Rouse as batteryboy earlier in the day.

The Kingston Trio

For the youngsters: In the mid-1950s, a trio of three guys -- recently sprung from college -- started a pop folk band with a comedic touch and charmed mainstream music fans.

It's been nearly 60 years since Bob Shane, Nick Reynolds and Dave Guard earned their first No. 1 hit, "Tom Dooley." There have been plenty of lineup changes since, enough that PBS could host "The Kingston Trio and Friends Reunion" in 1982 and make at least three trios.

The current version of the band, which plays about 30 weekends a year, is Bill Zorn, George Grove and Rick Dougherty. Zorn and Grove have been with The Kingston Trio since the mid-1970s; Dougherty came onboard when long-timer Bobby Haworth retired in 2005.

Mason Jennings

This Twin Cities-based singer-songwriter is no stranger to Duluth. Jennings last played at Mitchell Auditorium almost a year ago and a News Tribune reviewer credited the musician's vulnerability in a review from the show.

"Jennings creates an intimacy, even in a concert hall, that makes each listener feel like he's singing directly to them on songs that are clearly autobiographical and even on those that are most likely not."

Jennings falls among the more popular in-state artists and will play as part of Minnesota on a Stick during the Minnesota State Fair. He will share a stage with Trampled by Turtles and Chalice for the Aug. 30 show.

Dr. Masaru Emoto

Can words and thoughts affect water molecules? That's the case made by internationally known speaker Dr. Masaru Emoto, who was in the documentary "What the Bleep Do We Know?" and is an author.

Water associated with bad things creates crystalized blobs; water associated with happy things is more aesthetically appealing.

Emoto's experiments have been criticized for not following standard scientific procedure.

The alternative doctor is presenting "Hidden Messages in Water" on Friday at the Depot's Great Hall. He also kicks off the Bridge Festival with a celebration of Lake Superior starting at 9:45 a.m. at Bayfront Festival Park before presenting later in the day.

Stephen Dinan

The Duluth native is CEO of The Shift Network, a group that has the goal of global transformation. They are working to build a society that focuses on sustainability, peace, health and prosperity.

Dinan, a 1988 Duluth East graduate, is the author of "Radical Spirit" and the forthcoming book "Sacred American, Sacred World." He also helped create the Esalen Institute's Center for Theory and Research, a think tank.

He will be speaking about "Vision 2020," which is how to make this global shift.

Dinan is married to Devaa Haley Mitchell, who opens the musical entertainment on the tent stage at noon. She performs world sacred music that includes traditional chants and ambient music.

Gwendolyn Hallsmith

This Vermont-based speaker is the director of Global Community Initiatives, which is focused on sustainable living. She is the author of "The Key to Sustainable Cities: Meeting Human Needs, Transforming Community Systems," and has worked on educating communities regionally and internationally for more than 25 years.

She also is speaking at Peace Church from 8:30-10 a.m. Friday. RSVP by calling (218) 341-3411.


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