Winona State University's Newspaper since 1919

The Winonan

Winona State University's Newspaper since 1919

The Winonan

Winona State University's Newspaper since 1919

The Winonan


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No Rain No Gain with Boats and Bluegrass

Jiovani Bermudez
Texas Toast plays at Boat and Bluegrass

As the leaves begin to turn to their fall array of orange, red and yellow the Winona area begins to turn for the annual Boats and Bluegrass Music Festival. The festival started in 2005 and since then has hosted a variety of artists both well-known and new to the Minnesota Music Scene.

The event was held at the Prairie Island Campground from Sept. 21 to Sept. 23 with back-to-back live music performances from the likes of Texas Toast and the People Brothers Band to Charlie Parr and Dig Deep. Some of the sets were done by bands who have never played at the festival before. One of these is the all women band, The Foxgloves. Sarah, one of the members of Foxgloves shared how she felt being on stage.

“This is great. This is our first time here…meeting up with a lot of our fellow band people has been great,”  Sarah said.

Music isn’t the only entertainment one can find at the festival. Taking up the 80 acres are a variety of vendors and entertainment. One can find several Winona businesses selling a variety of goods from food and ceramics to clothing and glassware.

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One of these vendors was Robert Armstrong, better known as the Winona famous puppeteer Dr. Bob, selling a variety of puppets and buttons. At 2 p.m. and 6 p.m. he put on a live show for the younger members of the event.

Another individual put on a “Danger Show” which involved fire eating and escape artistry. The event held a variety of morning activities including poetry walks, canoe trips, meditation and more.

The second day of the event was met with problems as a storm rolled in, causing the riverside stage to shut down. This did not stop the flow of music, however, as the bands simply went to a single tent stage to perform. Spirits were high even with the cold downpour and miserable weather conditions.

“I think [Boats and Bluegrass] is a beautiful magical super friendly place for a couple days in Winona Minnesota,”  Jeff, a member of the band Carriage House, said.

The storm roared through the night, yet was drowned out by the rhythmic beats of bluegrass music and the thundering applause of those attending. The next morning the festival seemed wet and miserable. Several vendors had to repair their fallen tents and the sound system was not set up as lightning was still present near the campsite. Though just as the festival flourished through harsh storms, it recovered through the aftermath.

Vendors and campers assisted each other in recovering their fallen tents and without a sound system the first band to play that day, Feeding Leroy, did an acoustic set. Soon the sound system was set up, and the festival seemed as if nothing had gone wrong to begin with.

The last day continued with a prevalent overwhelming joy and enthusiasm for those attending. As it comes to a close the music scene in Winona is very much alive with live and local music being a staple of Winona life.


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About the Contributor
Jiovani Bermudez, Photographer

Jiovani A. Bermudez is a photographer and features reporter for The Winonan as of late spring 2022. He is currently in his fourth year at Winona State University majoring in mass communication with a focus on creative digital media.

Besides photography for The Winonan, Bermudez is currently involved with the university's student radio KQAL as a production assistant and hosting "Jazz Cafe" on Fridays from 9 AM - 12 PM. He also a member of the Dev Team for Cubeify games.

In his free time, Bermudez enjoys playing a multitude of games, biking around Winona, writing, and engaging in discussion about poetry, philosophy, politics, mythology, and games.

Bermudez hopes to make games to share the stories he has written in his favorite medium of entertainment. He also hopes to put his efforts towards voice work.

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