BEST BETS: Bayfront’s Busy Weekend, Lots of Dancing and More

By Christa Lawler, Duluth News Tribune

Bayfront’s festival-friendly weekend

It’s a big weekend at Bayfront, which will host three separate festivals — starting with soul, segueing into world, then closing with a water-over-oil benefit-awareness concert.

• Friday: Soul Live’s “A Night To Remember” features GB Leighton, a heavy-touring Twin Cities’-based musician who was once a staple of Grandma’s Marathon weekend entertainment. Solomon and Stephan Witherspoon are Duluth-raised musicians.

• Saturday: A Jamaican-born reggae artist — whose first blow-up hit, “Ghetto Story,” was released in the mid-2000s — will perform as part of the annual Bayfront Reggae & World Music Festival. Cham, aka Baby Cham, is set to release his post-major label album “Lawless.” Also in the lineup: Capleton, an artist known for his spiritual fire; Wayne Wonder, whose biggest hit is “No Letting Go”; Ugochi; International Reggae Stars; Socaholix; Indika; and DJ Sound of Fujun.

• Sunday: Nahko, Annie Humphrey and Gingger Shankar will perform as part of the 5th Annual “Love Water Not Oil” Tour, which plays Sunday at Bayfront Festival Park.

The concert is to raise money and increase awareness about a Canadian pipeline proposed for this region.

Nahko and Medicine for the People is a world music collective billed as “beautiful and stirring” by the Huffington Post; Annie Humphrey recorded “Uncombed Hair” in 2016 and was nominated for the NAMMY’s Artist of the Year; Gingger Shankar is an opera singer turned rocker who appeared on Katy Perry’s “Prism” and toured with Smashing Pumpkins.

“A Night To Remember” is 5-10:30 p.m. July 14 at Bayfront Festival Park. Tickets: $18 at

Bayfront Reggae & World Music Festival starts at 11 a.m. Saturday at Bayfront Festival Park. Tickets: $45 adults, $20 youth at and $50 adults, $25 youth at the gate. Children 11 and younger free with a paid adult.

“Love Water Not Oil” tour plays at 6 p.m. July 16 at Bayfront Festival Park. Tickets: $25 advance at or $30 at the gate.

Just dance

Billy Elliot is a boxer with ballet dreams in the Elton John-Lee Hall musical set in a northern London mining town during a strike in the mid-’80s. The Duluth Playhouse’s production of “Billy Elliot,” directed by Kelly Grussendorf, tells the tale of the titular character, who just wants to dance — and the townies who don’t want to let him.

Duluth Playhouse’s production of “Billy Elliot” plays at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday-Saturdays and 2 p.m. Sundays July 13-30 at the Duluth Playhouse, 506 W. Michigan St. Tickets: $32 adults, $27 youth at

Speaking of dance …

This year’s performance by the Freshwater Dance Collective will feature work by Duluth choreographers Alex Loch, Nik Wourms, Erin Tope, Naomi Christenson, Cathy Podeszwa and Minneapolis-based artists from Christopher Watson Dance Company, Kinetic Evolutions Dance Company and Marco Carreon and Sarah Cashmore, from California.

Dances on the Lakewalk is at 7 p.m. July 14-15 at Lake Place Park. Free, open to the public.

Dancing in the streets

A popular Minnesota-based bluesman will headline the 10th annual Downtown Duluth Street Dance. Lamont Cranston Band, which formed in the late-1960s, has played alongside Muddy Waters, Buddy Guy, Kansas, Bonnie Raitt and more. The band opened for the Rolling Stones in 1981 during a leg of its North American tour.

The street dance closes out Sidewalk Days and will feature beer tents, food and special brews by Seth Maxim of Dubh Linn Irish Pub.

Superior Street Dance is at 8 p.m. July 15 in front of Dubh Linn Irish Brew Pub, 109 W. Superior St. Tickets: $5.

Pot Bellied Stallions play the First Street Street Dance at 8 p.m. July 14 at Aces On First, 113 W. First St.

Gang vs. spies

The gang tackles Russian beer spies in an upcoming episode of “Take It With You,” live radio musical theater recorded monthly at The Underground. The show is written and produced by good-humored local theater-heads like Mary Fox and singer-songwriter Blake Thomas. The hour-long episodes feature a group of friends who might, for instance, play a softball match against a rival bar or get snowed in, and also a visit from a real-live Duluth business owner, politician or musician.

“Take It With You” is at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday at The Underground, 506 W. Michigan St. Tickets: $15 at