What is Vintage Band Festival?
Vintage Band Festival (VBF) is designed to celebrate the beautiful downtown of Northfield, Minnesota as an outdoor music performance venue and an attractive destination for local music and history lovers, as well as for tourists from all over the United States.
VBF strives to create a high quality music listening experience that will satisfy and be memorable; to cultivate the historical theme of our city through emphasis on historical music, dress, dance, and ambience; and to use the entire city as an outdoor performance venue, including parks, retirement centers, as well as Division St areas, and churches.
VBF engages the cooperation of many interested local organizations, institutions and businesses in a united effort to accomplish a great cultural event and to reach audiences of all ages and backgrounds with a wide variety of performances.
VBF has become a destination for nationally and internationally known wind bands as well as for regional and statewide groups.
Mariachi mi Tierra at VBF 2018
Background and History
The “Vintage Band Music Festival” was founded in Northfield in July 2006. The motivation for this new festival stemmed from often-expressed general feeling among Northfield arts supporters that the city is a ready-made outdoor performance venue waiting to host a significant event. VBF was an idea developed by Artistic Director Paul Niemisto, inspired by his previous experiences with similar festivals such as The Kaustinen Folk Music Festival in western Finland, the Lieksa International Brass Week, held annually in eastern Finland in late July, and the Great American Brass Band Festival in Danville, Kentucky, the only other event of its kind in the U.S.
Matterhorn Alphorns at VBF 2006
Another motivator for 2006 Festival came from having the International Society for the Promotion and Research of Wind Music, (International Gesellschaft zur Erforschung und Förderung der Blasmusik) and the Historic Brass Society hold their joint academic conference concurrent with the VBF event. The idea of a “major music festival” and “a major international music conference” taking place in Northfield began to develop in 2002, and the resulting synergy allowed for a successful outcome for both events. The academic conference, while not essential to the VBF festival, did lend the whole event an importance that was significant for the inaugural event. The Historic Brass Society returns for each large conference. (http://www.historicbrass.org/)
The models and subsequent plans for the first VBF 2006 created a success far beyond expectations. 50 musical performances were presented in 2006 by 20 ensembles over four days. Additional festivals have taken place in 2010 (4 days), 2013 (4 days), 2014 (1 day), 2015 (1 day), 2016 (4 days), 2017 (1 day), and 2018 (1 day). Recent multi-day events now have 35 or more bands and present more than 100 performances in the Northfield/Dundas area and surrounding communities.
Today Vintage Band Festival has an international reputation and enjoys a treasured place in the cultural life of southern Minnesota. VBF 2019 will take place August 1-4, 2019.