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Saturday, January 28, 2023

Great Northern Festival returns in 2023

This year’s cold weather celebration, the Great Northern Festival, will once again put the spotlight on global warming.

From January 25th to February 5th, 2023, the Great Northern Festival will be held in the Twin Cities, including such wintertime staples as the Luminary Loppet and U.S. Pond Hockey Championships in Minneapolis and the Winter Carnival in St. Paul. Throughout the 10-day festival, participants may choose from more than 60 different activities, most of which take place in Minneapolis but a few in St. Paul as well.

The changing worldwide weather patterns that threaten our colder months are the subject of major programming during the festival. Producer Brian Eno and guitarist Donna Grantis, who performed with Prince in 3rdEyeGirl, will debate the role of the arts in the climate problem, while other panels include architects, young activists, tribal nation officials, and scientists. Death care advocate Katrina Spade will speak about her company Recompose, which offers composting as an alternative to more conventional funeral options like burial or cremation, and radio host Krista Tippett will host a live recording of her popular podcast, “On Being,” with biologist Janine Benyus.

Festival director Kate Nordstrum warned that warming temperatures might threaten the region’s iconic cold and snowy winters. We hope that the festival-goers of The Great Northern will be inspired to protect winter’s bounty.

There will be several chances for attendees to engage with nature up and personal during the 2023 festival: Artist Seitu Jones will lead a workshop where participants may ice fish for carp and create artwork on the invasive species using the Japanese printing technique of Gyotaku. Breathwork instruction and Wim Hof-inspired ice-exposure treatment are two more festival offerings that have evolved. And to get toasty, over at Malcolm Yards, in Minneapolis’s Prospect Park district, is where you’ll find the new Great Northern Sauna Village with more than 15 saunas.

The climate change and natural environment themes explored during the festival are represented in works of art throughout the Twin Cities. Lowertown will be home to one of the festival’s most anticipated installations, “Our Common Home,” which will employ computer vision to generate images that respond to spectators’ motions and be projected onto buildings near Mears Park, CHS Field, and Union Depot. At the 2022 festival, the dance and visual piece “Invisible Cities” was shown as a work in progress, but this year it will get its international debut. John Luther Adams, winner of the Pulitzer Prize in composition, will also be in town for the festival, and his work, which is inspired by the sounds of local birds, will be performed by the acclaimed contemporary orchestra Alarm Will Sound at the Minneapolis Institute of Art.

The event will also have some food and drink vendors, albeit possibly not as many as in years past. K’óoben, aka Gustavo Romero of Nixta Tortilleria, José Alarcón of Centro, Mike Hidalgo of Colita, Noe Lara of BLVD, and others, will host a pop-up restaurant themed around the upcoming winter season. The festival’s opening night party will be held on January 25 at Surly Beer Hall, while the closing party will be held on February 5 at the neighboring Malcolm Yards food hall. The entire list of gourmet alliances and activities is still being finalized, according to festival organizers.

Visit thegreatnorthernfestival.com/2023 for the complete list of events. Tickets are required for certain events and may be purchased at various rates. While drop-in attendance is encouraged for certain seminars and events, registration is required for others, such as the majority of the climate programming, which is otherwise free.

Cedric Blackwater
Cedric Blackwater
Cedric is a journalist with over a decade of experience reporting on local US news, and touching on many global topics. He is currently the lead writer for Bulletin News.

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