Tag Archives: Northfield News

The Northfield City Band of 1917

In the VBF 2022 Official Program, the Northfield Historical Society placed an ad with a picture of a community band from the early 20th century. The bass drum in the picture had the words “Northfield Minnesota City Band” painted on it. No one on the VBF board had ever seen the photograph before and a couple of members decided to track down the provenance of the photo and the occasion for which the band posed for the photographer. The photograph was found on the Northfield-Rice County History Collection, a digital collaboration by nearly 20 Rice County entities with archival collections, including the Northfield Historical Society.

Jeff Sauve, the curator of the Northfield Historical Society at the time, gave the VBF Marketing Committee permission to use the photograph and the decision was subsequently made to put it on the cover of the 2023 Official Program.

According to the Northfield News of June 24, 1980, the band in the photograph was chosen to play at the Grandstand of the Minnesota State Fair, about 1917. The photograph was taken outside the grandstand. The band members were identified as follows: Left to right, front row: Pete Johnson, Art Sunde, Merril Lawrence, George Mohn, Hjalmar Berge, Lawrence Emmons, Leonard Obrech, Eugene Lee, Lester Batson, Carl Gulbrandson, Robert Babcock, Norman Lende, George LaPointe; back row: Bernard Gimmestad, Roy Palmer, Theodore Carel, Roman Berke, Pat Brown, Al Haue, William Dunn, unidentified, Leon Neulen, Walter Fink, Earl Page and Harry Emmons.

Thanks to Jeff Sauve and the Northfield Historical Society for allowing us to use the photograph in our 2023 marketing efforts.

Northfield Shares recognizes Vintage Band Festival volunteers

April was National Volunteer Month. Throughout the month the Northfield News and Northfield Shares, an advocate of volunteer activism, highlighted several local organizations and individuals in a series of social media posts and newspaper stories. One of the organizations they chose to feature was Vintage Band Festival. During the 16 years that VBF has been in operation, all of the work done to present live band music in dozens of Northfield locations has been performed by volunteers. From the 12-member working Board of Directors to the homestay host families to the majority of the musicians, the volunteer ethic is alive and well. Thanks to all of our volunteers! Read about all of the volunteers honored on the Northfield Shares website.

If you’d like to volunteer to help with VBF 2022, check the VBF website later this month to learn what tasks need doing and when.

Dan Bergeson, Randy Ferguson, Jan Stevens at a recent VBF Board meeting

The Financing of Vintage Band Festival


Each Vintage Band Festival event requires financial support from various funding sources in order to be produced. Our organization is a non-profit corporation that relies on grants, sponsorships, and donations from private individuals and businesses to underwrite our expenses.


As we ramp up preparations for Vintage Band Festival on July 31, 2021, we want to take a moment to thank our loyal and continuing supporters in the granting community. We have been fortunate to receive assistance multiple times from Wenger Foundation, the Minnesota State Arts Board (MSAB), and the Southeastern Minnesota Arts Council (SEMAC). These wonderful arts supporters have been generous not only to Vintage Band Festival, but also to a number of our performing ensembles as well. In recent years, funds granted by both MSAB and SEMAC are the direct result of dollars provided by Minnesota taxpayers through the Clean Water, Land and Legacy Amendment enacted by the Minnesota State Legislature in 2008. Please thank your representatives for this marvelous and thoughtful legislation!


In 2021, we have sponsorship opportunities for organizations to assist us with the financial needs of the festival. The top level of sponsorship is the Stage Sponsor. We’re pleased to announce that both the Northfield Rotary Club and the Northfield News have agreed to be Stage Sponsors of Vintage Band Festival 2021. Thanks to both of these fine partners for their support this year and in years past.



2021 is the 16th year of Vintage Band Festival’s life. During that time we have established a track record of great performances, a collaborative spirit, and many memories for our performers and our audience. We have started to see our friends respond to this work in wonderful ways.

In the past 12 months, Vintage Band Festival has received nearly $10,000 in legacy gifts from two longtime supporters of the festival. Both of these donors have requested anonymity, but we wanted to let our audience know how incredibly grateful we are for this recognition and for their generosity. One of the gifts came from a musician family in one of our performing ensembles and the other was inspired by the work of one of our ardent volunteers. In each case, the donor expressed gratitude for the joy that Vintage Band Festival has brought to their lives and the hope that this experience will continue for many years to come.


If you are considering becoming a 2021 Stage Sponsor ($1,000) or a 2021 Band Sponsor ($500), we’d love to hear from you soon so that we can include your name in all of our promotion and marketing activities. If you are considering a legacy gift to Vintage Band Festival or a 2021 sponsorship, please contact our Fundraising Committee at vintagebandfestival@gmail.com. Thank you and hope to see you in Northfield, MN on July 31! The music starts at 9:30 am.

For continuing updates about Vintage Band Festival, visit our website at www.vintagebandfestival.org and follow us on Facebook at Vintage Band Festival.