The beat goes on again: Live in-person music returns to The Grand

Guitarist Ben Scruggs (left) and Nate Boots (right) perform inside at The Grand Kabaret on June 4.

NEW ULM — Get ready to sing, snap and clap along again on Minnesota Street because live in-person music has made its triumphant return to The Grand Kabaret.

Since 2009, The Grand Kabaret has been a staple in New Ulm for live music, with live performances on the first floor of The Grand Center for Arts & Culture taking place nearly every Friday and Saturday evening.

After the COVID-19 pandemic limited live music to six weeks with social distancing measures in place last fall, The Grand was able to entertain the area with eight virtual live music performances starting this past February every other week. The virtual music was streamed live on YouTube at thegrandnewulm.com/youtube. Those performances were backed in part with a grant from the Prairie Lakes Regional Arts Council, as well as funds from the Minnesota State Arts Board.

On June 4, the long hunger for live music at The Grand came to an end. The Grand opened its doors to the public again on that day for live music as Nate Boots & The High Horses performed. Nate Boots & The High Horses, an acoustic-electric alt-folk band, has a regular lineup consisting of Nate Boots, Michelle Roche, Ben Scruggs and Lehi Gertz.

The concert was originally scheduled to be on The Grand’s deck outside, but it was moved inside due to temperatures in the upper 90s.

Charlie Leftridge, executive director at The Grand Center for Arts & Culture, said that getting in-person concerts back is an exciting step back towards accomplishing The Grand’s missions.

“It’s really exciting for us because our mission is to enrich community life through arts and culture experiences,” Leftridge said. “The second part of our mission is to support local artists by offering opportunities for them to develop and demonstrate their artistry. We’ve really struggled knowing how to do that throughout the pandemic when we haven’t had opportunity to have people in the building or opportunity to do a lot in terms of programming. So it’s almost like we’re seeing our mission come back to life and I just couldn’t be more excited about it.”

Getting back to booking live in-person performances, Leftridge said that there are several returning artists to The Grand this summer, along with a slew of new and exciting performers from all genres to look forward to.

“We’ve got a really great mix both in terms of genre and local artists,” Leftridge said. “Tons of acts that people have seen or heard before, but we’re also putting into the mix some new or up-and-coming people. Our second day will be Maygen & the Birdwatcher [June 11]. They’re kind of like an Americana, soul, folk group that actually just got signed to a record label, so we’re excited to have them. And we’ve got a folk artist called Freaque coming on July 16 who’s just really excellent and kind of an up-and-coming artist. And then Morgan Myles on August 6 is an up-and-coming country artist, she’s actually from Nashville. She’s recently been featured in Rolling Stone as a person to watch for new country music. So it’s a really nice mix for both genre and local, new artists.”

Those interested in seats for on-deck performances are asked to reserve their spot in advance by calling The Grand at 507-359-9222 during business hours from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday to Friday. All other seating inside The Grand is first come, first serve. Attendees will be seated a half hour prior to showtime at 5:30 p.m., with free music from 6-8 p.m. Donations for the bands are welcome.

As of now, masks aren’t required to be worn by spectators for outdoor performances at The Grand, but those that are not fully vaccinated will be asked to wear masks inside.

Next up on deck at The Grand on June 19 is The Bockfest Boys Trio, an ever-popular New Ulm group. The Bockfest Boys Trio is a smaller version of the 8-piece band that has toured Europe and played numerous other events in the Upper Midwest.

Those interested in attending on June 19 can expect this trio to show off a mid-west style of music with original songs as well as hits from the past 50 years and beyond.

For more information on live in-person music and all other updates on what The Grand has to offer this summer, please visit www.thegrandnewulm.com.


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