Last Sunday, we aired a compilation of some of our favorite live music performances recorded on MN Original during our first three seasons. We’re proud of these performances not only because they highlight the incredible level of talent in the Twin Cities music scene, but also because it gave us the opportunity to pair that talent with some beautiful and iconic Twin Cities landscapes. Not surprisingly, filming on location brings about interesting quirks and challenges that set the experience apart from filming in the more controlled environment of the tpt studios. MN Original‘s Associate Producer, Kate McDonald, lends some insight on what it was like to produce three of the performances that aired during the music compilation:

Storyhill at the Wabasha Street Caves

As anyone who’s been to the Wabasha Street Caves just outside of downtown St. Paul (or any large cave) knows, it’s a dark, dank, and cold environment, and not necessarily suited for music performances. So it may not be surprising to hear that before the Wabasha Street Caves became the set for our Storyhill segment, they were used as a cheese curing factory, mushroom growing greenhouse, and a speakeasy during Prohibition. We even used some of the left-behind mushroom storage pallets as a surface to house our audio equipment during the shoot.

Monroe Crossing at the Bruentrup Heritage Farm

The Bruentrup Heritage Farm, managed by the Maplewood Historical Society, is one of the oldest historically preserved farms in MN, established in 1891. During the taping with Monroe Crossing, we enlisted farm volunteers (and even a member of the Maplewood Historical Society’s Board of Directors!) to provide us with props for the shoot, such as milk cans from the farm’s basement, and hay bales from the barn’s loft. TPT’s own Events Manager, Justin Madel, also came through with his extensive prop collection, including rugs, strings of lights, lanterns and even a birdcage which he donated to the shoot.

Heiruspecs on the Jonathan Paddleford Riverboat

Captain Gus Gaspardo made us feel more than welcome on the rooftop of his Paddleboat while filming Heiruspecs, although running audio off of the deck proved to be a bit more complicated than we had thought because of the noise of the Mississippi. We ended up filming the band with the boat docked, and then Captain Gus took us for a ride so we could get moving shots of the river, which were added to the segment in post-production. Each cameramen also had their own personal assistant on the shoot as well, whose sole job it was to make sure they didn’t take a unexpected dip in the Mississippi.

What Twin Cities locations do you think would be the perfect backdrop to an MN Original music performance? Send us your thoughts at [email protected]!