Babes in Toyland, 1995
For a brief period in the nineties the end of August brought those of us living in the Minneapolis area a street party known as CedarFest. Held in what was long a 'bohemian' area of town- The West Bank- this free event had dozens of bands which were picked for their potential, not their achievements. Mike Doughty and Soul Coughing, G. Love, Jonny Lang when he was still a kid, Frank Black and many more musical hipsters. The sun was hot, the crowds were cool. If you weren't of age, this was a great chance to see bands that usually only played in clubs. If you were, you could even get a beer or two...
... Which was the end of it. Someone OD'ed on alcohol, and the event's organizers were sued for allowing him to be 'overserved.' A lawsuit that, even if you were successful in defending yourself, would bankrupt all but the richest pockets. There are still a few free festivals, but they specialize in Oldies acts and are usually pretty tame.