Rock The Garden once again proved itself to be the music festival for those who don’t really like music festivals. All the live music without the sweaty overcrowding, sketchy sound, ten minute Biff lines, and ten dollar beers. Even as RTG grows and attracts major national acts, it manages to remain charmingly accessible, clean, and generally not a pain, a fate few other festivals avoid as they gain talent and numbers. And the real bonus: five bands legitimately worth seeing, one afternoon, no filler.
After 2010 and 2011 marked the escalation of RTG as festival, with national headliners MGMT and My Morning Jacket, The 2012 lineup marked the ascent of Minnesota as the producer of its own national acts: Howler, Doomtree, Trampled by Turtles, and The Hold Steady. Tune-Yards joined the fun to fill out RTG’s most well-rounded lineup yet.
None of the bands disappointed, but Doomtree (surprisingly the first hip-hop act in the festival’s history) may have stolen the show as the third act on the bill. Unlike many hip hop acts, the sound translated exceptionally to the stage, and DT’s talented roster of MCs had the crowd moving to a degree not matched the remainder of the day.
That Doomtree only qualified as the third act on the bill says plenty about the state of Minnesota Music and what has become one of the best festivals in the Midwest.