KAXE’s big tent approach to community and local radio

“Events Under the Tent” summer season brings community together for live music, movies and nature

The complete line-up for KAXE/KBXE’s 2018 summer of Events Under the Tent is set. The season is filled with a wide variety of events including live music, family movie nights, nature walks and more.

In total, there will be eight events as part of Events Under the Tent. The season kicked off May 11 with a concert by The Social Animals. Based in Duluth, this indie rock band is fronted by Dedric Clark.

“We are fortunate to have KAXE in our community not only for their excellent radio programming, but also for the opportunities they provide the community to attend fun, outdoor musical and family events,” says Sarah Copeland, Grand Rapids Area Community Foundation Director of Grants and Programs. “The Northern Community Radio endowment at the Community Foundation supports local radio, along with the Events Under the Tent for our children and grandchildren, and their grandchildren.”

Stories by the River provides free family fun

In partnership with the Grand Rapids Area Library, KAXE will host three evenings of Stories by the River, a free, family-friendly event where classic children’s books are brought to life on the big screen. In addition to animated movies, popcorn and kids activities will be provided. Families are asked to bring a blanket and chair starting at 6:30 pm. The first evening is June 20, featuring American Tales. Animated books include The Scrambled States of America by Laurie Keller, This Land is Your Land by Woody Guthrie and other patriotic tales.

The next evening of Stories by the River is July 18 with Bedtime Stories. Animated books in this series include The Happy Lion by Louise Fatio, Caps for Sale by Esphyr Slobodkina, Goggles and The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats.

The final Stories by the River is August 8 with Belly Laughs and include titles like Click, Clack, Moo: Cows That Type by Doreen Cronin, and Arnie the Doughnut by Laurie Keller. The complete listing of stories featured in “Stories by the River” is made possible in part by a grant from the Grand Rapids Area Community Foundation and the Greater Itasca Area Community Fund.

Phenology and Phestivals are Phun

On July 19 at 10:30 am, KAXE/KBXE’s staff phenologist, John Latimer, will guide a nature walk along the Mississippi River and the Rain Garden at the KAXE Studios. Throughout the school year, John, along with area teachers, provides phenology in the classrooms. This program helps 5th graders identify plants and animals they see in backyards and how to note the changes they observe as the season transitions. To continue the observations outside of the classroom, phenologists young and old are invited to attend. This event is free and open to the public.

Two Day Musical Festival

The 14th Annual Mississippi River Festival will be held Friday, July 20 and Saturday, July 21. This two-day music festival features both national and local musicians. Friday’s line-up starts at 6 pm and includes a great evening of music with the eclectic folk band, Humbird, a Wisconsin-based folk/bluegrass group, Them Coulee Boys and concludes with Minnesota's Crankshaft and the Gear Grinders.

Day two of the River Festival starts at 2 pm with a full line-up, starting with roots-blues performer Kerri Powers, followed by Latin-folksters Y La Bamba. The day continues with Luke Winslow-King. King is known for his eclectic mix of retro New Orleans blues. Capping the night off is the Minnesota Country Supergroup made up of Erik Koskinen and Actual Wolf. Ticket information is available at KAXE.org. A special thanks to the Minnesota Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund for making the festival possible.

Wrapping up the season of “Events Under the Tent” is a live broadcast of KAXE/KBXE's popular Green Cheese trivia show on Saturday, August 11. This live interactive trivia show is a family-friendly event. Bring a chair, your thinking cap and some trivia questions and be part of the fun! A potluck picnic starts at 5 pm followed by Green Cheese Trivia at 7 pm.

Listener-Supported Radio

Northern Community Radio (KAXE/KBXE) is ‘listener-supported radio’. That simple statement says it all. Think about it. We have our own radio station – right here! “We can walk down to the radio station, right on the Mississippi River and say ‘howdy’ to people working there, who live right here in our community. We can turn our radio to 91.7 FM and hear our neighbors and local school kids talking about everything from birds to local news and events – again, it’s all local,” says Copeland. “I just think it is so cool to be driving around town and hear Sarah, Heidi and John bantering back and forth on the radio. I think, ‘Hey, I know them!’”

Copeland continues, “Right now, KAXE needs a new tower, and that is important to keep our local radio station broadcasting. You have probably heard about people donating to help with that. Just becoming a member of KAXE helps support what KAXE is doing now. However, I’m not sure how many people know that they can help KAXE in the future, too. Anyone can become a member for today’s events, and support the Northern Community Radio Endowment for tomorrow.”

Anyone can give to an endowment at the Community Foundation, including Northern Community Radio. Call the Community Foundation at (218) 999-9100 for more information about current endowments or to set up your own.


The KAXE Amphitheater was constructed in 2005 from a grant from the Grand Rapids Area Rotary Clubs.

Northern Community Radio is an independent, listener-supported, nonprofit public media organization that operates KAXE 91.7 FM in Grand Rapids, 89.9 FM in Brainerd, and 103.9 FM in Ely as well as KBXE at 90.5 FM in Bagley-Bemidji and streams online at www.kaxe.org. For more information contact Sarah Bignall at 800-662-5799 or email sarah@kaxe.org.

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350 NW 1st Ave, Suite E  | Grand Rapids, MN 55744  |  218-999-9100

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