Afton nature center hosts forest music fest

Outdoor event features musicians performing from tree stands above audience.




2 minute read

Via Belwin Conservancy:

Musicians performed in and among the trees near the Belwin Conservancy Education Center in 2019 as part of Music in the Trees. (Photo courtesy Belwin Conservancy)

Belwin Conservancy is excited to host the return of Music in the Trees, a two-day outdoor event showcasing a diverse group of instrumentalists and vocalists, from 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. on Saturday, August 14, and Sunday, August 15, in and among the trees near the Belwin Education Center (1553 Stagecoach Trail S., Afton). 

Music in the Trees was first held in 2019. This year’s event features live performances from an eclectic group of artists that includes Gospel and Hip Hop vocalists, found-object percussionists, a Zither player, jazz musicians, and more. Each day will feature a different roster. With such a wide range of performers, audiences are sure to encounter sounds both familiar and novel. 

On Sunday, August 15 at 2:00 p.m., the Center for Hmong Arts and Talent (CHAT) will present a fully accessible performance, including ASL and Hmong-English interpretation. Performers will include Hillary Lor, a Hmong flutist, and Celestials, a Hmong dance team. 

Curated by Belwin’s Program Director Susan Haugh, Music in the Trees was envisioned as a way to draw attention to the health of a beloved pine grove undergoing restoration. With the pines as their inspiration, artists will perform from tree stands 16 feet above the ground. Attendees may sit at the base of the performance spaces or enjoy the sounds of the musicians as they explore 4 miles of trails that weave through woodland, prairie, and wetland. 

“The performing artists are being very brave about this invitation to improvise with nature, not to mention performing in tree stands!” says Haugh. “They all have strong improvisational chops and an intuitive connection with nature, and will be inspired by what they are hearing and feeling around them. The landscape might move them to perform something they composed or by someone else. It’s the unknown that makes this such a unique event for performers and attendees alike. No two performances will be the same.” 

The cost to attend each day is $10/car. Attendees are invited to carpool and to bring a chair, food, and non-alcoholic beverages; no refreshments will be sold onsite. The Education Center building will be open for restroom use and water bottle refills. Face masks are required inside the building.


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Afton nature center hosts forest music fest