Greenway Takeover Festival

Victoria Ledum, Dakota Student

Grand Forks may not have Coachella or Lollapalooza, but the city does host a one-of-a-kind music festival driven by the community filled with music, light shows, DJs, games, art, and vendors that are accessible to all.  

If you are unfamiliar with the Greenway, it is a 2,200-acre green space and paved trail built out of the tragedy of the 1997 Red River Flood, a connector between Grand Forks and East Grand. It serves as a popular space for recreation, including biking, rollerblading, walking, running, skateboarding, and cross-country skiing in the winter. The Greenway has become a staple for the community since its opening and hosts several events throughout the year, all of which are worth checking out. However, the biggest and perhaps most favored event is the Greenway Takeover Festival.

Tricia Lunski, the festival manager and co-founder, started the event back in 2017 with the goal to bring back live music to the region. “Live music hadn’t come back since the flood to the same capacity,” Lunski said, and uniting the people of greater Grand Forks with a unique festival experience became her mission.  

The event was named Greenway Takeover Festival with “Takeover” added to highlight the community involvement. Businesses, artists, sponsors, and volunteers participate as much as possible, and according to Lunski “without their help we wouldn’t be able to do what we do.”  If you would like to volunteer at the festival, you can still help by signing up online! 

Another notable reason the community values the festival is its outstanding accessibility.                          The Takeover, which runs Thursday through Sunday, is free every day until 6:00 PM which puts the event above most other music festivals in my book, and tickets for the nightly performances are still affordable at only $10 per night or $25 for a weekend pass. People may come because it is free, but they stay for the comradery and superb activities and entertainment. 

Free games are available for the entirety of the Takeover along with constant entertainment. Whether it be from big headliners, regionally based artists, or local organizations, the three stages along the Greenway are sure to keep you thoroughly amused all weekend long. If you are not interested in the music scene, there are interactive art projects, dance classes, and a huge Friday night light show sure to blow you away! All this to say, the festival is more than a place to chug a beer – though that is still an option if you choose as the Craft Beer Row will supply you with your frothy fix. Also, do not forget about the delicious food truck vendors on the festival grounds either. UND Students can even pick up a $10 voucher for food for the festival.   

As with any event, they have faced their share of struggles. Most recently, due to Covid-related issues, it became more difficult to book talent and artists for the festival, and the Takeover was even canceled in 2020. However, undoubtedly due to the unwavering dedication of the organizers and the overwhelming support from attendees, the event has earned a reputation of success and has received positive feedback year after year.  

The 2022 Greenway Takeover Festival is the fifth of its kind and is sure to keep guests coming back for more. The headliners include Gear Daddies, Big Head Todd and The Monsters, Mae Simpson, Yonder Mountain String Band, DJ Matt Lutgen, Koo Koo Kangaroo, and Manic Drive. Find a full schedule and more details and performers on the festival’s website.  

The event’s goal to “bring the community together, appreciate live music, and appreciate the talent we have here locally” is a testament to not only the resilience of greater Grand Forks, which has continued to support growth after the devastation of the 1997 flood but also to the power of music and arts.  

Over the course of the past five years, locals have become enamored with the four-day-long experience that now fills every September in Grand Forks with fun, food, and fantastic music. It is undoubtful that the Greenway Takeover Festival will continue to maintain its reputation for excellence both in entertainment and community growth in years to come.  


Victoria Ledum can be reached at [email protected]