12 year tradition, Live on the Drive is back again, with “firsts”

This article was written by Kristel Porter


The annual Northside summer concert series Live on the Drive returns for its 12th year with three concerts held outdoors on the scenic Victory Memorial Drive at 34th Avenue North, one of the most beautiful concert settings in the city.

And yep, you read the headline. You’re probably wondering what “firsts” we’re talking about. For the first time in Live on the Drive history the Cleveland Neighborhood Association added a “Two Main Act Line-up” for July!

For Thursday, July 11 we were lucky enough to book two amazing groups that will each perform just under an hour. First will be the young and talented Fanaka Ndege who was first known for his amazing B-Boy skills. If you don’t know what B-Boy is, just think B=Break. Yeah that’s right, “break dancing.” Ndege is from Minnesota, born and raised; his mother is from Laos and father is from Kenya. He has been performing for over seven years, and we are very lucky to have him at Live on the Drive this year.

On the very same night, Live on the Drive will, for the first time ever, host an Afro Punk group. BlVck Madonna (pronounced Black Madonna), is six-person group that was recently the featured artists at First Avenue’s showcase Black Rock Matters. The group is rapidly climbing in popularity. You might as well get to know them now since they are sure to be the talk of the town.

But wait! You haven’t even heard about the amazing band that will be performing first in our 2019 Live on the Drive concert series. On Thursday, June 13 we will be kicking off the warm and sunny season with a band that will be sure to put you in the summer spirits. Can you say: Swing? Ah-ah, and not just any Swing; New Orleans-style Swing! If you like powerful vocals and the alluring sound of the horns, then you will not want to miss this show!

Last, but definitely not least, on Thursday, August 8 Live on the Drive will be hosting a very talented band that falls somewhere between Glitter Punk and the “Greek Chorus of the Apocalypse of Free America.” Turn Back Now has been performing together for over 10 years and has released four albums, along with five different awesome comic books. Their sharp, sardonic lyrics will keep your mind pondering for lifetime.

Earlier I mentioned only “one” of Live on the Drive’s “firsts” this year. The second already has people talking. We have been sponsored this year by Pryes Brewing Company and we have partnered with New Rules Shared Workspace who will be serving beer for the first time in Live on the Drive history. And not just any beer. Pryes Brewing Company released their first beer in 2015 and made North Minneapolis its home in 2017, just off of the Mississippi River near Boom Island Park. We were thrilled when Pryes offered to be the Sole Beer Sponsor of this year’s Live on the Drive and are very proud to share their amazing product with our community.

But they are not the only ones who have made this family community tradition possible. The kind people at North Memorial Health have continued to sponsor us for many years and are once again supporting us this year; Xcel Energy, the leaders in wind and solar, has now sponsored Live on the Drive for the second year in a row; Broadway Liquor Outlet, and the developer of Broadway Flats, became a supporting sponsor this year; and of course always and forever, the Camden Lions, who will be raffling off new bikes once again at every concert!

The concerts will be followed by a movie at dusk: June 13 is Superman, July 11 is Crazy Rich Asians, and on August 8 is The Incredibles 2.

All concerts begin at 6 p.m. and end at 8 p.m. The concerts have scheduled rain dates for the following Thursdays: June 20, July 18 and August 15. If the original concert is rained out, we will notify everyone through social media by three hours before the scheduled start time. If Live on the Drive resumes on its scheduled rain date, there will not be a movie following.

For info and updates check out liveondrive.org. This fabulous activity is made possible by the voters of Minnesota through a grant from the Metropolitan Regional Arts Council, thanks to a legislative appropriation from the arts and cultural heritage fund.