When the future of an iconic music venue is on the line, artists and music lovers haven’t just stood around. Colleen Cowie reports from Minneapolis where a group of volunteers created the First Love Project, a compilation album that gives back to the famed music venue, First Avenue. Listen here:
Like many Minnesotans, musician and guitar technician Molly Maher has many favorite memories from inside First Avenue’s star-studded walls.
“First Avenue is truly the holy grail of venues,” says Maher. “Emmylou Harris turned 50 and she was playing First Avenue and somebody in the crowd made her a birthday cake. And to see Lucinda Williams get married! It’s not just a local iconic stage for us – it’s embraced all around by the music community all around the states and all around the world.”
2020 was slated to be a busy year for First Avenue. The club was celebrating its 50th anniversary. First Avenue’s staff was loading bands in and out of the Mainroom and 7th Street Entry nearly every night of the week. But that all came to a halt in March, when Covid-19 forced First Avenue to close its doors.
In early Spring of 2020, hashtags and petitions spread like wildfire attempting to draw financial support for local music scenes. A group called the Committee of Concerned Citizens decided to take more direct action with a specific venue in mind. They volunteered to create a benefit album for First Ave. It’s called the First Love Project.
Music fans can subscribe to a plethora of tracks donated by local and national artists, including Dessa, Jeff Tweedy, Har Mar Superstar and more. Find the music at the project’s bandcamp page.
Support for MinneCulture on KFAI comes from the Minnesota Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund. Illustration by Ryan Dawes.