On August 2nd, midwesterners braved the 90-degree heat and angry looking rain clouds to experience a night of indie folk in Minneapolis. Fleet Foxes and Uwade were set to take the stage at the Surly Brewing Festival Field, an awesome outdoor venue settled at the back of craft brewery property.
Robin Pecknold (vocalist of Fleet Foxes) came out to introduce the opening performer, Uwade. Pecknold spoke of how he came to know her and her promise as an artist; his introduction was full of genuine love and encouragement for the young musician. Uwade captivated the audience with her tender voice and sweet anecdotes about her African upbringing, the origin story of her name, and memories of her father. The audience became increasingly vocal throughout her performance. There were coos throughout the crowd when she played the intro notes to the song “Paprika”, a Japanese Breakfast cover, and by the time she ended her set with her two most popular songs, “Ginger Ale” and “Nostalgia”, the audience was especially vocal.
She had won over the crowd.
As the sun began to set, the once gray clouds had subsided, a cool breeze blew through the crowd and a golden hour glow settled on the field. It was truly the most ideal environment to experience the soulful tunes (cotton candy skies only enhanced the tranquility) and when Fleet Foxes’ music rang through the air, it was like a tight hug from a close friend — a comfort felt deep in your core.
Fleet Foxes began with their song “Wading in Waist-High Water”, welcoming Uwade back out onstage to accompany them. This was just the start of a long and beautiful set; 24 songs were played in total.
About halfway through, the energy crescendoed at the dedication of “Phoenix”, a Big Red Machine cover, to Justin Vernon (of Bon Iver and Big Red Machine). With Minneapolis being located just an hour-and-a-half from Eau Claire, Wisconsin (a folk hotspot and home of the folk superstar himself), the audience had a great sense of pride toward the song and sang loudly throughout its entirety.
As the band finished their last song and gave their thanks, the sky had turned a deep blue. The rain had held off and the show had gone on without a hitch, etching it into history as a perfect Minnesota summer evening.
Photography by Jayme Bigger