MOORHEAD — Harold’s on Main has its heart in music.
The Moorhead bar that opened in February was inspired by the city's former popular touring spot, Ralph’s Corner, and started by former Spuds Eric Odness (Ageist, Primitive Weapons) and Preston Olson (Dag Island Lewds, Dirty Preston), not to mention their friends Sean Tillmann (Har Mar Superstar), Rob Pope (Spoon, The Get Up Kids), Frank Bevan (Freedom Fighters), Tom Kemmer (The Danforths) and Aaron Hanson.
So when the owners decided to celebrate the bar's first summer, they called a few friends to come jam.
Harold’s Fest, happening this Friday, June 14, and Saturday, June 15, features Har Mar Superstar, Green/Blue (featuring former Fargoan Annie Sparrows), Minneapolis’ Dusty Heart and local acts The Cropdusters and Disappear Forever.
So how did The Cactus Blossoms, a Minneapolis duo that hasn't played in Fargo-Moorhead in six years, come to headline Friday’s bill?
“I don’t know if you know this, but Har Mar is our dad,” says Page Burkum, who fronts the band with his brother Jack Torrey.
They are having fun with the Har Mar joke, which plays off another often-asked question — why do you have different last names?
That answer is pretty simple, though something they don’t explain when asked. Torrey took that as a stage name a few years ago and it stuck.
“We’re buddies with Har Mar from the Minneapolis music scene and we thought it would be fun to join the party at Harold’s,” Burkum says.
The brothers have made a name for themselves in the Minneapolis music scene over the past decade for their tight harmonies. They released their second album, “Easy Way,” this spring.
While the group often is labeled alt-country, the brothers aren’t sure it fits.
“I don’t know what I hear it as,” Jack says. “We definitely are big fans of a lot of older country music and we learned a lot of older country songs when we got started with our band and some really old stuff. I don’t think our new album is a country record. I don’t think people would think ‘country’ when they hear it, but I’m sure it’s influenced by some of our love for that stuff.”
“Easy Way” includes the song “Got a Lotta Love” which was co-written with Dan Auerbach of The Black Keys.
That’s not the only cultural influencer the brothers have caught the ear of. In 2017, David Lynch tabbed the duo to perform their song, “Mississippi,” on screen when he revived “Twin Peaks.”
Their harmonizing on the tune is reminiscent of The Everly Brothers, a comparison that’s often made, including recently in the Minneapolis Star Tribune, when Jon Bream wrote of their recent show at the Minnesota Zoo, “this local brother duo came across as the Everly Brothers-meet-the-Jayhawks. That’s high praise.”
It is for the brothers, who listened to The Jayhawks, that country-rock-turned-pop Twin Cities band as they started playing their own music. They even got to open for their hometown heroes.
“That’s a pretty cool box to check for us,” Page says.
The Cactus Blossoms have spent most of this year on the road promoting “Easy Way,” so a long-awaited return to the area — they last played here at the Plains Art Museum in 2013 — was also another box to check.
“We’re not avoiding the area or anything, but as you know, it’s not exactly on the way to very many other places,” Page says. “We’ve actually been waiting for a good chance to get back there.”
Harold's Fest lineup
Friday, June 14
- 6 p.m.: The Cropdusters
- 7 p.m.: Dusty Hearts
- 8 p.m.: The Cactus Blossoms
Saturday, June 15
- 6 p.m.: Disappear Forever
- 7 p.m.: Green/Blue
- 8 p.m.: Har Mar Superstar
DJ sets from Har Mar Superstar, Dirty Preston and I Was Born to Love-Love You will happen throughout the two-day event.
If you go
What: Harold’s Fest
When: Shows start at 6 p.m. Friday, June 14, and Saturday, June 15
Where: Harold’s on Main, 1330 Main Ave., Moorhead
Info: Tickets are on sale for $20 for single-day tickets or $30 for two-day passes. Tickets will be $25 the days of the show. Tickets are available at https://jadepresents.com and 866-300-8300.