Mid West Music Fest was born in 2010 when AmeriCorps volunteer Sam Brown was stationed in the historic city of Winona, beautifully nestled between the bluffs and the Mississippi River. Boasting three institutions of higher education and a blossoming arts scene including the annual Minnesota Beethoven Festival, Great River Shakespeare Festival, Frozen River Film Festival, Boats and Bluegrass and the Minnesota Marine Art Museum, Sam quickly fell in love with his new community and planted his ambitious idea amongst a group of eager new friends. His idea would be a first-of-its-kind event in the area that brought together more than 70 bands and musical acts at various venues around the community. Loosely modeled on Salem, Oregon’s “Cherry City Music Fest” (which was loosely modeled on Austin’s South by Southwest), MWMF 2010 was an all-ages, multiple-genre, volunteer-driven two-day summer festival–held on 13 stages for 2 days in July.
MWMF then moved from July to April to correspond with school being in session and the opportunity to collaborate with the ample student population of Winona.
Since 2011, Mid West Music Fest has been a 3-day event with more than 100 acts and 10 venues–including many special events and collaborations.
The 2014 festival was our most successful yet. In our 2014-2015 year we are officially incorporated as a non-profit, increasing our educational opportunities through our Sounds Like School initiative, and offering more music at more venues throughout the year. We hope you will join our efforts to continue our vision of being the place where music and community meet.
The mission of the MWMF is to promote music and art activism in the region, creating opportunities for artists, stimulating downtown economic development, and providing diverse educational resources for artists, community members, and children.