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Rock the Garden 2016

posted Apr 14, 2016, 6:09 AM by Vu Nguyen
Summer starts with a Boom! One day, two stages, eight bands. This year your kickoff to summer heads out of the garden and over to Boom Island Park in NE Minneapolis, along the mighty Mississippi with a view of the city skyline. Bounce from stage to stage, hit up the food trucks and beer tent, and soak up some sun while indie icons and buzz-worthy bands soundtrack the perfect summer day.

Rock the Garden 2016 gets going with a blast of L.A. punk rock abandon when Plague Vendor hits the stage. With a frontman who channels Iggy Pop, Nick Cave, and Sid Vicious - their no holds barred power punk is frenetic, reckless, and super fun. Next up to rock the island is GRRRL PRTY, a celebration of femininity, hip hop, and unsheathed swagger featuring the spitfire poetess Sophia Eris, percussive hellion Manchita, and southern-born northern star Lizzo with their undeniably unique, gritty, unapologetic sound. Then it’s Hippo Campus, four young Twin Cities musicians whose youthfully bright and jangly rock has catapulted them from the St. Paul Conservatory of Music to the national stage with stops at Lollapalooza, SXSW and Conan along the way. The A.V. Club describes the band's latest release, South: “ while it’s easy to focus on how young the members of Hippo Campus are, South proves that the Minneapolis band is wise beyond its years. The songs are orchestrated yet still wildly energetic, while vocalist Jake Luppen elevates each track with his confident swagger.”
Rock the Garden 2016 continues with the blues-inspired indie folk of Portland’s M. Ward. Rolling Stone summed up the singer/guitarist: “ M. Ward is the best sort of traditionalist: one that blurs time. The vibe is retro, but the spirit is eternal.” Then Minneapolis' synthpop heroes Poliça take the stage for their only Twin Cities show of the summer. Founded in 2011 as a collaboration between producer Ryan Olson (GAYNGS) and chanteuse Channy Leaneagh, the band just released their third and most ambitious album to date, United Crushers, and heads off on a European tour this fall.
Chance the Rapper blows into Boom Island from the Windy City. At only 22, his legions of fans include fellow Chicagoans Kanye West and Pitchfork, who named his break-out 2012 mixtape as their album of the year, “Acid Rap invites elements of classic soul, juke, gospel, blues-rock, drill, acid jazz, house, ragtime scat, and R. Kelly, Twista, and a young Kanye to the same open mic poetry night. Its genius is that he makes it work.”
Psychedelic art rock surrealists The Flaming Lips close out the island party with a must-see spectacle/freak-out complete with front man Wayne Coyne's signature man-sized plastic bubble and beloved songs from a 30 year catalogue of alternative hits.
Looking for the ultimate way to Rock the Garden? VIP tickets include free parking, a Rock the Garden T-shirt, drink tickets, and snacks. Avoid the lines with VIP-only beverage stations and restrooms. The VIP area will be located directly next to the river, offering a one-of-a-kind experience including a prime view of both stages. Doors open at 1 pm; music starts at 2:30 pm.
Rock the Garden 2016 Set Times
Plague Vendor – 2:30 pm
TBA – 3:45 pm
Hippo Campus – 4:30 pm                              
M. Ward – 5:30 pm
Poliça – 6:30 pm               
Chance the Rapper – 7:30 pm               
The Flaming Lips – 8:45 pm           
Tickets on sale April 5
The bands will be revealed beginning at 9 a.m. on April 5 on 89.3 The Current, Tickets will go on sale to MPR and Walker members at 10 a.m. that morning. Remaining tickets go on sale to the general public on Wednesday, April 6, at 10 am.
  • Member Presale General Admission: $59 
    Member discount available only April 5–12; Discount ends at 10 am on April 12. Access to both stages and food/beverage vendors.
  • General Admission: $64 
    Access to both stages and food/beverage vendors.
  • VIP Level: $150 
    VIP tickets offer exclusive access to a private area on the waterfront at Boom Island Park. Take advantage of shorter lines for drinks and restrooms. Includes free parking across the street, a voucher for a Rock the Garden T-Shirt ($25 value), four drink tickets, complimentary VIP-only appetizer stations, and limited seating with a view of both stages. You’ll also enjoy activities such as meet-and-greet opportunities with hosts from 89.3 The Current and other special guests. Access to all general admission areas is also included.

Buy Tickets

  • To purchase tickets in advance, visit
  • Tickets go on sale to Walker and MPR members April 5 at 10 am, following the band reveal on 89.3 The Current. Remaining tickets go on sale to the general public on Wednesday, April 6, at 10 am.
  • Discounted member presale tickets are available from 10 am on April 5 to 10 am on April 12.
  • Any unsold tickets will be available at the entrance to Boom Island. Reentry is allowed.
  • Children ages 6 and older must have a ticket for entrance. No refunds; all ticket sales are final. Advance tickets are print-at-home and will be received by e-mail. For online issues, call Etix Customer Support: 1.800.514.3849.

Stay Connected
Follow Rock the Garden on Facebook and Twitter for updates and behind-the-scenes photos. Join the conversation on Twitter and Instagram using #rockthegarden.

Rock the Garden will be held rain or shine. However, staff reserves the right to cancel the event or part of the event due to severe weather. No umbrellas are allowed into the event.

Getting to Rock the Garden at Boom Island Park: Walk, Bike, or Bus!
If you live in the area, please walk, bike, or take public transportation:

  • Bike racks with parking for 500+ bikes will be located at the south end of Boom Island Park. A Nice Ride bike drop-off station will be located on the corner of Marshall and 8th Avenue NE.
  • All ticket holders are eligible for a free ride on buses and light rail to and from the event between the hours of 12 noon and 12 midnight. Visit in June to get the pass. Metro Transit bus lines: 11, 14, and 30.
Paid event parking is available at Hall’s Island, on 8th Avenue NE across the street from Boom Island Park. No parking is allowed in the neighborhood surrounding Boom Island, so please plan accordingly or walk, bike, or bus!

Rock the Garden is accessible to all visitors. For more information, contact us at 612.375.7564 or

Free Hydration
Bring your empty water bottle and enjoy refreshing cold water throughout the Rock the Garden concert grounds provided by Tap Minneapolis.

Special Member Benefit
Walker Art Center and Minnesota Public Radio members: Bring your member card to receive a free Rock the Garden 2016 gift for being a supporter!