Shut Down Third Street is a festival brought to you by Treedome Productions. STDS, now in its second year, is a celebration of music, art, and creativity intended to unite the community and downtown area of Winona, MN. This all-day, feel-good, let-yourself-go block party is set to go off on September 21st.

We had Nathaniel Nelson, president and creative director of Treedome, give us a little insight on himself, his business, and Shut Down Third Street.

Nathaniel Nelson - Treedome
Nathaniel Nelson – Treedome

MTMM – Tell us a little about the history of Treedome

NN – Well, we started out as a bunch of college kids who began to work on art and music projects together –– music videos, photo shoots, bedroom recordings, that sort of thing. After a while, we started hosting shows in town, which is around the time we decided we wanted to make what we were doing official. We started out as a video production company, which lasted about a week, and then went to a record label, which also lasted about a week. After some trial and error, we ended up the organization we are today –– a one-stop-shop for local artists and musicians. Now, we have our own venue and studio and do everything from booking to photography, videography to design, recording to live production, and working with the community as much as possible.

MTMM – Where did the inspiration for SDTS come from?

NN – Last year, we were thinking that we needed to show off who we are and what we could do to the city of Winona, and in our mind, the easiest thing to do would be to host a little festival. But not just any festival –– a free festival that shows everything the local music and art community has to offer. So that was our main inspiration, which is where the “block party” part comes in. It’s a festival, yes, but more than anything, it’s a place where the community can come together, celebrate art and music, and just have a crazy party in the streets.

Shut Down Third Street 2018
Shut Down Third Street 2018 – Photo by Nathaniel Nelson

MTMM – What’s your background in the Winona music scene?

NN – I had been hanging around musicians in the scene for some time before starting Treedome, but once that kicked off, it became my whole lifestyle. My friends were all musicians or artists, my normal hang-out spots would be the local record shop or No Name Bar, and I would spend weekends working on videos and other projects with people in town. It started slowly, of course, but now, I work as a sound engineer at three venues in town and book at five of them, and basically live and breathe the local music scene.

MTMM – What kind of vibe are you going for with the event?

NN – Punk as hell. Joking aside, Shut Down Third Street shouldn’t feel like a festival in the conventional sense, you know? It’s about the community and being able to experience new things at every turn. But it’s also imperfect, like art itself. We do everything ourselves in terms of design, curation and creation, and the festival itself is a celebration of DIY culture. We do what we want, whether it’s going to be a success or not, and hope that people like what we’re doing as much as we love doing it.

Bad Bad Hats - Photo by Zoe Prinds-Flash Photography.
Bad Bad Hats – Photo by Zoe Prinds-Flash Photography.

MTMM – Did you have a specific aim in mind when curating the lineup?

NN – We wanted to bring down a wide variety of music from a bunch of different places, and really show the full gamut of what the upper Midwest can offer. There’s punk, grunge, synth-pop, indie-rock, blues, bluegrass, folk, brass, jazz rock, and even a little shoegaze to round things out. It’s not just a showcase of Winona, but also Rochester, Minneapolis, and even a little Iowa City.

MTMM – Is there a specific act you are most excited to see?

NN – There are a bunch of acts I’m excited to see, like Gully Boys, Double Grave, Coyote Kid and Bad Bad Hats. I haven’t seen Last Import perform yet, but I’ve heard great things and their new record is fantastic, so I’m mad stoked for that show. But I think my number one band of the day will be A Little Too Short to be Stormtroopers. That bonkers crew always brings a crazy energy to the stage, and festivals are where they thrive the most –– their closing set at Mid West Music Fest in 2018 was one of the wackiest things I’ve ever seen on that stage. You never know what –– or who –– you’re going to see when they’re on the bill.

Shut Down Third Street has doubled the bill of their first year, which boasted a 13-band lineup. This year, 26 bands are slated to perform, plus 5 musical acts that will be performing for kickoff parties the night before at Ed’s No Name Bar and Island City Brewing. And not only is it bigger, its diversity has grown as well.

Sitting atop the bill are Yam Haus, Lydia Liza, Bad Bad Hats, and The Shackletons, the latter two having been the bill for a My Town My Music show last winter. These headliners will be an appetizer sampler of MN music, and the rest of the lineup is just as satisfying.

But what really galvanized My Town My Music’s sponsorship is the fact that there are a bunch of Rochester musicians on the bill. We are so proud to have these amazingly talented artists represent our big little city.

All the fun starts in just one week! Grab some friends, get to Winona, and SHUT IT DOWN. You’ll be glad you did.

Learn more about Shut Down Third Street

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