Princefest moving to NU

April 20 festival features events spread across MN Music HOF and Turner Hall

Surrounded by Prince memorabilia, Prince collaborator Joel King takes everything in sitting on a Prince bench. King worked with Prince on Graffiti Bridge, and Prince helped King keep his early sobriety.

NEW ULM — After five years in Henderson, Princefest is moving to New Ulm on Saturday, April 20.

The festival, held in collaboration between the Prince Legacy Project and the Minnesota Music Hall of Fame, will feature events spread across both the hall itself and Turner Hall.

The Hall of Fame will be open from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Artist Moises Suriel, who created the Prince statue, Eyes mural, and Purple Rain mural will be in the museum from 10:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. discussing his Prince-related projects. Jefferson Davis, the artist who created the guitar sculpture in front of the museum, will be outside the Hall of Fame from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

The main location will be Turner Hall. Opening at 10 a.m., there will be Prince vendors throughout the hall during the day. Starting at 2:30 p.m., Suriel will be unveiling a new mural entitled “Purple Family”. This will be accompanied by a release of doves.

Tribute artist Johnny Rogers will perform sets from 3 to 4:30 p.m. and after 5. In addition to doing a Prince tribute, he will also perform a history of rock’n’roll set in honor of the Hall of Fame. In between there will be a local talent show. Jerome Newsom will also perform a mix of The Time songs.

Joel King stands with a Prince-themed motorcycle at the Minnesota Music Hall of Fame. King put new tabs on the bike to commemorate the 40th anniversary of Purple Rain.

Joel King is a president of the Prince Legacy Project, a major organizer for Princefest, and a photographer who worked closely with Prince as the “A” camera operator on Graffiti Bridge.

King said everything started in Henderson. He moved there to get away from the hustle and bustle of the cities, and Prince fans went there as the Lake Minnetonka scene from Purple Rain was filmed there.

King then helmed Princefest in Henderson for the first five years after Prince died in 2016. After the memorabilia collection was moved to New Ulm they considered hosting it in 2023 but decided not to rush.

“Last year, we moved it here,” King said. “It was here in April. But Bonnie agreed that it [wasn’t ready]. I didn’t know New Ulm, I didn’t know anybody. We decided, let’s wait one year, instead of jumping into it right away. I was gonna do it on the street, I didn’t know about Turner Hall, I didn’t know about anything here. It was smart we waited another year to do it.”

The 15-foot sculpture arrived in May of 2023, and as April began to come around again it was decided to go forward with Princefest in New Ulm for 2024.

Joel King leans on the Prince Guitar statue outside of the Minnesota Music Hall of Fame. The statue’s artist, Jefferson Davis, will be outside the MMHF from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Sat. Apr. 20 during Princefest.

Honoring Prince also holds a personal connection for King. King was in his early sobriety days when he worked on Graffiti Bridge, and he says Prince was a factor in helping him stay clean early on.

“This is one of the reasons I did this,” King said. “Prince helped me through my early sobriety. It was actually the first movie that I ever worked straight, [no drugs or alcohol. Prince helped me every day; he would come up and talk to me [about] how I was doing because he knew when I interviewed with him about my history.”

King said they would regularly get around 500 people when Princefest was in Henderson. He said If the event is a success in New Ulm, he hopes to bring it back next year.

While entrance to the Minnesota Music Hall of Fame will be free, entrance to Turner Hall will be $20.


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