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ST. CLOUD -- Hundreds of performers are bringing their live, original tunes to downtown St. Cloud this week and weekend for the annual Central MN Common Roots Festival.

Born in 2016, Common Roots began as a way to boost downtown business during a period of heavy road construction along 5th Avenue South.

Now, three years later, the four-day community event includes over 200 musical artists performing in 12 downtown venues.

On WJON's News @ Noon show, event coordinator Dawn Yilek said the Common Roots crew, made up of volunteers, has been busy since the beginning of the year sifting through performer applications, recruiting artists to participate and finding the right venues for each of them.

This year we started in January. We've already had bands this year request to play next year. So, it's gaining some steam.

Even though they represent a range of musical genres, Common Roots' performers share one important trait - they perform their own original musical compositions.

Yilek says the live and original aspect of the music has been magnetic.

Excitement in St. Cloud has really grown. We've added new venues, we've added new sponsors. People just keep talking about it and wanting to be a part of it.


Common Roots kicks off Wednesday, Aug. 21 at 5 p.m. with pizza and a tap takeover at Beaver Island Brewery. Then, from Thursday evening through Saturday night, Aug. 22-24, you'll find music, Yilek says, "all the way from the Green Mill on one end of downtown to the other end at Jules Bistro."

Festivities also include the Bazaar, held on Saturday from 11 a.m.-4 p.m. In addition to featuring art and handmade crafts, the Bazaar, taking place in the Lady Slipper parking lot along 7th Avenue, will include an all-ages stage for music students from around central Minnesota.

Yilek says it's a way to help the next generation of local musicians gain experience in front of a crowd.

There isn't a really good all-ages venue in St. Cloud. This gives them an opportunity to get up there and play.

All musicians are paid with funds raised through sales of Common Roots merchandise such as t-shirts and buttons. The latter, Yilek says, is your ticket into certain venues throughout the weekend. Buttons are $10 each.

To learn more, see lineups, sponsors and an interactive map of where to go, visit the Common Roots website

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