Cloud Cult is an experimental indie rock band from Minneapolis led by singer/songwriter Craig Minowa. The name references the indigenous North Americans ancient prophecies that talk about the need for balance between technology and nature.
Cloud Cult’s music is inspired by the “big picture” issues of life: who we are, why are we here, where did we come from, where do we go. Rooted in spiritual convictions and influenced by nature, the music is personalized by hardships, which has gained Cloud Cult a cult-like following.
Developed in 1995 as Craig’s solo studio project, his early work earned several offers from record labels, but all were rejected, opting instead for independence and maintaining control of his art and environmental efforts. The music eventually received the kind of attention it deserved, including widespread critical acclaim and rising to #1 on college radio charts across the country.
Those early successes convinced Craig to create a band of stellar musicians to perform the music live. Today Cloud Cult is an eight-piece band with guitar, bass, drums, keyboard, horns, violin, and cello. One of the bands distinctive features is that two of the members are visual artists that create one-of-a-kind paintings during the show that are auctioned off at the end.
These live performances are spiritual experiences for both the band and the audience. Being engulfed in a crowd of heads bobbing in bliss, like leaves in a tree, blown away in the breeze that is Cloud Cult is both amazing and humbling. It’s one of those events that fill your soul so completely that it both stills your mind and energizes you for days.
Three years since their last album, Cloud Cult has returned with their ninth album, Love, this spring. In support of the release, they went on tour in April and May to sold out shows across North America. Now it’s our chance to be drawn into “The Cloud Cult” and become entranced by the physical expression of their music live at the Kickapoo Country Fair.
Cloud Cult is an extremely environmentally conscious band. Craig and his wife Connie formed Earthology Institute, a not-for-profit environmental organization, on their organic, geothermal-powered farm. Their mission is to provide resources and an action network that disseminates critical, forward thinking, and practical tools for the advancement of human health, sustainability, and the environment using advocacy, science, and the arts.
Earthology Records is their non-profit record label dedicated to minimizing the carbon footprint of music making. They developed the first 100% post-consumer recycled CD packaging in the industry. On tour, Cloud Cult has been committed to net zero greenhouse gas emissions. They’ve used a van outfitted with solar panels that runs on bio-diesel and have planted thousands of trees to offset their CO2. Most notably, they were doing all this long before it was trendy for bands to be green.
This spring at Natural Products Expo West in Anaheim, CA, CROPP Cooperative marked its 25th anniversary with a big celebration. And no party is complete without good music. Enter our own homegrown band, Cultivate.
Organic Valley director of non-dairy pools and man of many bands, David Bruce, assembled a cast of musical CROPPies (aka OV employees) past and present, including a few special appearances for the Anaheim occasion. The band was such a hit that we’ve asked them to stick together for a while longer to warm up the main stage for the headliner at this years KCF. There are so many talented people in this co-op, there’s no telling who might jump up and grab an instrument or the mic! Eat. Drink. Cultivate.
Hailing from parts unknown in the hills of southwest Wisconsin, Black Cat (formerly The Dirt Bros) is a loud, two-piece dance band playing original insect boogie country blues. What this duo lacks in total members they more than make up for in total awesomeness.
Phil “Lucky Duck” Moon lived in Wisconsin with a black cricket on an old farm. His guitar is powered with multiple stacks of antique radios. Adam “Greasy” Cook came from Vermont with a puppet on his drum hand. Now he has a 1920s big bass drum and a mallet duct taped to that hand. When this rawkin pair hits the stage, the vicious panther guitar and gorilla drum produce raw primitive dance grooves for your butt’s enjoyment. It is undeniable.
What you have here is a rare collaboration in which all members write, sing, laugh, engage in general naughtiness, and generally like each other. As members of the vibrant Iowa City music scene, The Feralings travel a vast musical landscape, combining bully musicianship, sparkling harmonies, and evocative songwriting.
The Feralings are Benji Upchurch (mandolin), Nicole Upchurch (clawhammer banjo), Patrick Bloom (upright bass), and Stacy Webster (acoustic guitar). Patrick and Stacy share a long musical partnership that includes performing in the critically acclaimed Iowa roots bands The Mayflies and The Letterpress Opry. Nicole and Benji came to Iowa from Montana, with Nicole joining the all-female Awful Purdies and Benji soon playing with The Mayflies. Eventually a unique kinship was born and the four were pulled into a quartet that became The Feralings.
Magic Mama is an eco-edu-tainer who plays an eclectic variety of instruments to make her own unique style of organic hip hop and world beats. She delivers an empowering and hope-filled message of love and respect for all and inspires creative thinking and Earth-friendly actions. Performances are lively and interactive; kids can play all kinds of provided noisemakers throughout each set. The audience is invited to open their minds and think about the world in new, life-affirming ways. Magic Mama has released two full length albums and is currently producing her third. She tours in her ‘79 VW Dasher grease car performing at family-friendly venues across the country.
When it’s toasting time, it’s time for the Swing Crew, a fun interactive, acoustic band that features a wide variety of music, audience participation, jokes, and stunts. If you wanna hear something just ask, but chew all your food first.
If there were a chef’s choice menu of Driftless musicians Jane and Kevin would be on special. Staples around here since forever, their old time, country, and bluegrass are good listening for that plate of food you’re about to bite into.
Spicing up the plate and also from the hills and valleys of the Driftless is Sweet Grass & Sage with freestyle, finger-picking acoustic guitar and mandolin. A little something to go along with that cold beverage you have in your hand.
Organic Valley Family of Farms ©2013