From The Backyard To The Brewery

Music Festival
My Role
Creative Direction, Brand Design,
Festival Originator/Organizer
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Grassroots Beginnings

I started Nershfest with two friends in a backyard. The three of us lived in a small rental house in Uptown Minneapolis, where we shared a strong common bond in our love for live music. After seeing one particularly great live show in the Spring of 2013 (Bill Nershi @ Papa Charlie’s), we were inspired to start our very own music festival. The first Nershfest consisted of ~100 friends and family crammed into our backyard, passing around grilled hotdogs and beer while a carefully curated Spotify playlist played in the background. Fast-forward over ten years later and Nershfest has blossomed into the fastest growing live music event in the Twin Cities. In 2022 we featured 5 live bands on an outdoor stage, food trucks, vendors, swag, a limited edition Nershfest beer and more—all enjoyed by over 5,000 happy festival-goers.

Since 2016, Nershfest has taken place at Inbound Brewco in the North Loop Neighborhood of Minneapolis. Their partnership has really pushed our grassroots event to the next level. A taproom is a natural landing spot for an event like Nershfest, and Inbound gives us the ability to serve fans delicious craft beer while they enjoy the festival.

The Process

Each year I have the absolute honor to design the visual identity for Nershfest. The natural starting point for this process is a festival poster. From there, I create a website, social assets, marketing materials, swag, beer labels, event signage, stage banners and more. I always look to the major players in the music festival space for inspiration. Bonnaroo, Lollapalooza, Outside Lands. I aim to make our more modest-sized, one-day event feel like a larger-than-life atmosphere for our local music and craft beer community.

I’ve always found a lot of parallels between musicians and designers. There’s a kinship and an appreciation for one another, and a shared love for the abstract and psychedelic. To most, a multi-colored sasquatch with a jellyfish exploding from its cranium doesn’t mean much, but it’s that kind of nonsense that fits perfectly when viewed through the prism of Nershfest. The autonomy I receive to create this beautiful nonsense is invaluable to me and I love sharing it with my loved ones each summer.

Come check it out for yourself! Nershfest will take place at Inbound Brewco on August 12, 2023. Visit Nershfest.com for more information.

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