Each year, Belwin hosts Music in the Trees, a two day music event in which a diverse array of local musicians perform from perches high up in the red pine grove. Audiences come from far and wide to stroll through the woods and listen to the music drift down from above. 

Music in the Trees is a one-of-a-kind event. In order to help you get the most out of your experience this year, we put together a few steps you can take before the music starts playing from 11:00 am to 3:00 pm on August 19th and 20th!

1. Bring the Essentials

Music in the Trees takes place at the Red Pine Grove at the Education Site, one of Belwin’s oldest protected areas. The event is entirely outdoors, though guests can visit the Hilltop Classroom for restrooms and water fountains. Handicapped restrooms are also available.

Since it’s outdoors, we recommend bringing a sturdy pair of hiking boots and a water bottle! If you’d like food or snacks, feel free to bring that too. 

In the past, guests have brought hammocks which they hang between the red pines to listen to the musicians serenade them. We encourage this! If you’d like to lounge in a hammock or a lawn chair, make sure to bring whatever you feel most comfortable in! 

Music in the Trees is a rain or shine event, so if it rains (though the forecast is looking good — fingers crossed!) make sure to bring a jacket or umbrella. 

Lastly, make sure you have $10 on hand (cash or check), as the event has a $10 per car parking fee. 

2. Brush up on the Artists and Schedule

Music in the Trees is focused on two things: red pines and music. We’ll get to the red pines in our next point, but make sure to brush up on the musicians and schedule! Saturday, August 19th, and Sunday, August 20th feature largely different sets of different artists. To learn about who’s playing when, you can see the schedule below, or read our full lineup here

Music in the Trees schedule

The majority of the day is split between two music stands where musicians play simultaneously. You can sit down at one stand to watch an entire performance or leisurely stroll between the two stands and take in the scenery. It’s up to you! And that’s part of what makes this event so special. Each day ends with a fully accessible performance at ground level.

3. Learn About the Red Pine Grove

Music in the Trees was conceived by our Program Director, Susan Haugh, in order to draw attention to the aging red pine grove. We’ll have detailed storyboards up at the event (a digital version can be found here), but we also can give you a quick rundown here. 

Back in the 1940s and 50s many red pines were planted throughout Minnesota in an attempt to stop erosion. However, we now know that planting so many trees of the same age and species so close together makes them vulnerable to disease. That’s just what’s happening at Belwin. Many of these pines are dying from an infestation and need to be removed. As that work takes place, we are working to transition the forest to more sustainable native plant species.

Right now, the red pine grove at Belwin is slowly being replaced with white pines, which are better suited to this area, as well as native plants to support these trees. These plantings will help us better maintain a coniferous forest for our education programs.

This event helps celebrate the legacy of the red pines, as we make way for a healthier, more sustainable future.

4. Enjoy the Music!

The most important thing at Music in the Trees is to enjoy the music! Pack accordingly, take a look at a schedule, learn what you can about the red pines, but, at the end of the day, the point is to enjoy the music however you’d like.

We look forward to sharing this terrific event with you this year!

A Few Final Things

Handicapped restrooms and portable toilets are available.

No dogs or alcohol allowed at this or any Belwin event. 

See our General Guidelines for more information about visiting Belwin.

To learn more about Music in the Trees, read this great article in the Pioneer Press.

Musicians pictured include Reggie Neal playing the flute, Munir Kahar playing the drums, Izzy playing the ukelele, Diane Miller playing guitar, and SEVY singing.

To see footage of past performances, check out this video below!

Music in the Trees is made possible by the voters of Minnesota through a grant from the Metropolitan Regional Arts Council, thanks to a legislative appropriation from the arts and cultural heritage fund. Additional support for this event comes from the St. Croix Valley Foundation.

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Thanks to Steve Smillie for supporting our entire season of events in 2023!

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