Greetings everyone! Courtney here, editor-in-chief of MNSKA.com. This site is celebrating it’s 10th anniversary this year. I wanted to take a little time to discuss the many successes of the past year and look ahead at what 2013 will bring for the MNSKA (Minnesota Ska) community.
2012 brought an unprecedented number of ska-related events to the Twin Cities area! We had an increased number of nationally touring ska acts come through, many of them twice in one year, which I am taking as a sign that you, the ska fan, are actually going out to the clubs and going to shows. We had bands like The Slackers, The Skatalites, The English Beat, The Toasters, The Aggrolites, Reel Big Fish, Big D and the Kids Table, Streetlight Manifesto, Mustard Plug, Ken Boothe, Lee “Scratch” Perry, Jimmy Cliff, Deal’s Gone Bad, Green Room Rockers, The Pinstripes, The Bishops, and We Are The Union. We saw our local scene step up its game, with bigger shows that drew bigger crowds, including bands like Rocksteady Breakfast, Umbrella Bed, The Dropsteppers, The Prizefighters, Dred I Dread, and Secondhand Ska Kings. There even was the first annual ska battle-of-the-bands, Ska-POW! As incredible as it sounds, we had almost 100 shows this year!
This past year, we have also helped establish a strong local music scene that involved not only bands, but active music fans that had a huge hand in our success. We have established a monthly DJ night called Boss Sounds Downtown, featuring DJ Aaron Porter, at Grumpy’s Downtown, where ska fans can come, drink and meet one another outside the realm of a noisy club. In August, we held our annual MNSKA BBQ which was incredibly attended and featured some of the finest culinary masterpieces from notable fans in the scene. I had a fantastic time listening to the portable turntable playing vintage Jamaican vinyl, pigging out on delicious food and meeting a lot of our local fans. It was such a success that we are planning to have regular events like this in the coming year. We had several people step up and help book and promote shows for the scene, which was paramount in our expansion this year. Notably, Jeff Bockenhauer helped put on some big shows and has taken on the responsibility of managing both Rocksteady Breakfast and Secondhand Ska Kings; a tall order, no doubt. Big thanks to Brad Klein (General Moses) for helping bring The Skatalites to town and hope his connection to Jamaican legendary musicians will help us in the new year. We have started our own MNSKA Street Team, which engages volunteers to help promote upcoming local shows via the internet and by putting up posters around town. I have also been continuing to build a working relationship with Rude Radio on Radio K, going on the air with DJ Todd to talk and promote the site and the local shows. Everyone in this community has contributed to our 2012 success; every time you read this blog, go to a show, put up a poster, listen to our podcasts, or talk to a friend about local ska, you help our whole scene. From the bottom of my heart, I thank you.
So what will 2013 bring? As I mentioned, this is our 10th year of existence, so we are going to celebrate with a special show this Summer. Still working out the details, but we are aiming at the first ever MNSKA Booze Cruise. We are also going to try to put out another MNSKA compilation (it’s hard to believe that the last one was put out 5 years ago!) to highlight the best in local ska music. As always, we are working on becoming a more prominent part of the overall Twin Cities music scene and will be building partnerships and connections with local non-commercial radio. We will continue to bring in more bands, put on more shows, and keep you the local ska fan engaged in the music. We have come a long way in 10 years and we are still working to make Minnesota and the Twin Cities the ska capital of the Midwest. It’s gonna be a great year! Cheers!