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New St. Paul music festival to be called 'River's Edge'

St. Paul is touting its showcase summer festival that will fill a gap left by the loss of the once-great but ignominiously departed Taste of Minnesota.

The new River's Edge Music Festival will be June 23 and 24 on Harriet Island, with the Dave Matthews Band and Tool as headliners.

The festival's name was announced today, along with confirmation of the top acts.

The contract with the city calls for promoter Live Nation Entertainment to pay $50,000 per year, for three years, to produce the annual festival. The contract runs from 2012-14, with a provision for renewal for two more years.

And the city agrees not to put on any new music festivals on Harriet Island that might compete for the same audience for 60 days before or after River's Edge each year.

City officials are careful to note that River's Edge isn't a direct replacement for Taste.

"This is not a food-themed event with a musical component included. It's a music event specifically more along the lines of Bonaroo, WeFest, etc." said Jake Spano, St. Paul's marketing director.

Taste, which collapsed upon itself with unpaid debts after the 2010 Fourth of July festival, had a storied history. For more than a quarter of a century, it was a midsummer landmark event in St. Paul, first on the Capitol grounds and then, when it grew too big for the mall, on Harriet Island, just across the Mississippi River from downtown St. Paul.

The city-owned park on Harriet Island also hosts an Irish Fair and Italian festival each year, but there was a big scheduling hole in midsummer after Taste left.

One problem promoters generally have with music acts on Harriet Island is noise: Residents on the West Side bluffs often complain and demand city action over nighttime noise. I'm sure the new promoter, Live Nation, is all over that.

Parking is also a bit of a hassle with Harriet Island events. There's barely any on-site parking, so those attending usually park downtown and hoof it over the Wabasha Street Bridge or catch shuttles, or else try to find parking in surrounding neighborhoods.

Other bands being promoted for this year's two-day festival:

The Flaming Lips, Brand New, Polica, Motion City Soundtrack, Puscifer, Coheed & Cambria, Diplo, Scissor Sisters, Datsik, MuteMath, Delta Spirit, Blaqstarr, Kinky, Mexican Institute of Sound, Civil Twilight, Quietdrive, An Horse, Gardens & Villa, AM & Shawn Lee, The Whigs, Hey Rosetta!, K-Flay, Yawn, Kids These Days, Yuna, The Rope.

Two-day wrist-band tickets are available for $99 for one week when sales start April 13. (There will be no service fees that first week if tickets are purchased at the Xcel Energy Center box office.)

After the first week, the price will be higher; at least $110, plus fees.

Two Cities blog, which covers Minneapolis and St. Paul City Halls, is made possible in part by grants from The Saint Paul Foundation and the Carolyn Foundation.

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