Musician lineup released for ‘Music in the Trees’ event at Afton nature center

Belwin Conservancy event features musicians performing in a pine grove as nature center celebrates art and nature.

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Steve Clarke and Laurie Knutson perform at Music in the Trees 2023 (Nancy Klinger)

Belwin Conservancy is excited to host 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 17, and Sunday, August 18, in and among the red pines near Belwin’s Hilltop Classroom (Belwin Education Site, 1553 Stagecoach Trail S., Afton).

First held in 2019, Music in the Trees has been gradually growing in popularity. This year, for the first time, Belwin is asking guests to purchase tickets beforehand to help with the flow of attendees. To buy tickets, go to belwin.org/events. Tickets will be available on a sliding scale for $10, $20, or $35 per car.

Curated by Belwin’s Program Director Susan Haugh, Music in the Trees was envisioned as a way to draw attention to restoration work taking place in a pine grove at Belwin’s Education Site. Planted in 1933, the pine forest is aging, crowded, and falling prey to pine bark beetles. Belwin staff are working to restore the area to a more biodiverse and healthy plant community. Music in the Trees gathers people in this iconic spot and celebrates the transformation taking place here with two days of live, collaborative music.

With the natural setting as inspiration, dozens of artists are set to perform from tree stands 16 feet above the ground. Attendees can watch at the base of these stands or enjoy the music as they explore trails that weave through the trees. Visitors are advised to bring their own picnics, blankets, hammocks, or camp chairs to enhance their experience.

For a full roster of performers, see below. Both days will conclude with a fully accessible, interactive performance that audience members can participate in. This year’s accessible performances will feature acclaimed Indigenous hoop dancers The Sampson Bros.

“This event is like nothing I’ve seen before,” says Belwin Communications Director Angie Eckel. “The beauty of the setting, juxtaposed with the variety of artists makes it magical. Watching audiences discover it year after year has been a delight.”

Celebrate the intersection of conservation and art at Music in the Trees on Saturday, August 17 and Sunday, August 18, from 11:00 am to 3:00 pm at Belwin’s Education Site (1553 Stagecoach Trail S., Afton, MN 55001).

Attendees are encouraged to bring a picnic lunch or snack. There will be no food available for sale during this event. Smoking, alcohol, and dogs are not allowed at this or any Belwin event.

Music in the Trees 2024 Performers

  • Tim Cheesebrow & Chris Herriges, Guitar & Vocals
  • Sean Egan & Aaron Kerr, Clarinet & Cello
  • Ritika Ganguly & Shinjan Sengupta, Traditional Bengali Music Vocals & Guitar
  • Vladimir Garrido-Biagetti Duo, Pan Flute, Strings, & Vocals
  • Nathan Hanson & Laura Harada, Saxophone & Violin
  • Sydney Kakuk & Lauren Bird, Vocals
  • Dave Mehling, Zither
  • Rebecca Merblum, Cello
  • Pat O’Keefe & Heather Barringer, Clarinet & Percussion
  • Peter Phippen & Victoria Shoemaker, Bamboo Flutes
  • Red Thread (Sarah Larsson & Rada Kolarova), Vocals
  • The Sampson Bros Arts, Hoop Dancing
  • Audrey Q. Snyder, Cello

Schedule is subject to change. Visit belwin.org/events for the most current event information.


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