Shakekspeare Festival Announces Concerts

Johnathan Daly

The Great River Shakespeare Festival will grow its Concerts on the Green music series from 15 to 45 in 2018, organizers have announced, as part of a plan to grow the festival by leaps and bounds during its 15th anniversary. The news came amid other announcements about the season’s new and returning cast members and a new Pay What You Will program that allows theater-goers to name their price in order to preview a play.

The Great River Shakespeare Festival will feature four plays this season, including A Midsummer Night’s  Dream, All’s Well That Ends Well, Shakespeare In Love, and Venus in Fur. You can find more information about the plays on the GRSF website.

Read all about the festival’s news in this feature story in the Winona Daily News.


Winona Originals Film Debuts

Visit Winona proudly announces the release of its latest film: The Winona Originals! This two-minute promo joins a collection of five other films on the many things that make Winona so special. Watch them all on the Visit Winona Youtube channel.

Frozen River Film Festival Set to Open

The 2018 Frozen River Film Festival kicks off Thursday, February 7, and will run through February 11, showing dozens of films on screens throughout Winona. Films celebrating extreme sports, the environment, and adventure are all on tap, as are a number of other powerful topics told through compelling documentary filmmaking.

On the eve of the festival’s opening, the Winona Daily News featured an outstanding story about Frozen River Film Festival and its journey to becoming an acclaimed annual event. Read more about the festival here too, and buy your passes on the Frozen River Film Festival website. 

Minnesota Beethoven Festival Announces 2018 Lineup

Celebrated violinist Sarah Chang will be coming to Winona next summer to give a solo recital as part of the 2018 Minnesota Beethoven Festival, which runs from July 2 through July 22. Other guest artists of the Festival’s 12th season include the return of pianist Marc-André Hamelin, the Takács Quartet, and the sixth appearance of the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, which will open the Festival on July 2. Artists making their Festival debuts include So Percussion, guitarist Pablo Sáinz Villegas, and pianist and Minnesota native Kenny Broberg, who recently took the silver medal at the Van Cliburn International Piano Competition. The Minnesota Orchestra will be making two appearances at the 2018 Festival, including the free concert at Lake Park on July 15 as well as the season finale on July 22, with music director Osmo Vänskä.

“Every summer we strive for an eclectic mix of new and returning artists, and while we always love welcoming back those who have become favorites of the Festival, it is also always particularly enjoyable to introduce new musicians to our audiences,” reports Artistic & Managing Director Ned Kirk. “Our audiences have come to trust the balance of concerts that we offer, and I often hear patrons say that it is the ensemble or person they were least familiar with that ended up being one of their favorite concerts.”

Further details about ticket sale dates, ticket package options, and pricing will be available in the coming months. Tickets will be available through the Saint Mary’s University Performance Center box office at (507) 457-1715 or

Winona Originals Launches New Website

Underscoring how unique it is to have so many extraordinary, original festivals all created in one city, Visit Winona, the area’s convention and visitor bureau, has launched the Winona Originals, a collective brand that spotlights each of Winona’s festivals and the legendary city where they were born.

“Our festivals are one-of-a-kind and draw many thousands of people to Winona each year,” said Pat Mutter, executive director for Visit Winona. “We have become known across the region and in some cases across the country for our festivals, and the Winona Originals brand celebrates that by promoting these fine events together as something really special.”

While many communities boast local festivals, Winona’s are unique in that several are on a grand scale, attracting performers and an audience from well beyond the Upper Midwest. The Great River Shakespeare Festival selects its cast from national auditions each year, and the Minnesota Beethoven Festival brings in world-renowned classical musicians the likes of Yo-Yo Ma to the historic river city of under 30,000. Combined with a festival that features films one might see screened at Sundance or Telluride’s Mountain Film Festival, a music festival that draws upwards of 75 indie rock bands, two more music festivals aimed at bluegrass and jazz lovers respectively, plus local history and cultural festivals, and you’ve got a city hitting far above its weight class as an entertainment destination.

“We are proud of what has been created by this community, and this website will make it easier to tell festival lovers about the amazing experience waiting for them in Winona,” Mutter said.

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