The Cedar: Best World Music Venue 2012
The Cedar Cultural Center, or simply "The Cedar," is a 501(c)(3) non-profit performing arts center located in Minneapolis, Minnesota. With over 150 events each year, it's a busy, thriving hub of culture (local, national, and international), and one that has raised the bar for world music venues throughout the US. The performance room, a converted movie theater, is really the perfect size in which to hear live music. Seating just under 500, it holds a big enough crowd to provide some audience intensity, but remains small enough that it retains some intimacy.
In the '80s and even into the '90s, world music in the US was concentrated on the coasts. Artists would fly into the country, play the Northeast, fly to California and play there, and head home. The Cedar, along with fellow Best World Music Venue nominee The Old Town School of Folk Music in Chicago, changed the game. The Upper Midwest, anchored by this fantastic venue, is now a destination in and of itself.
(text by Megan Romer)