When Robert “Bobby” Zimmerman was born here in Duluth in 1941, few people would have guessed this blue-eyed boy would become one of the most influential singer-songwriters in history. At age six the Zimmerman family moved to Hibbing. Upon finishing school there, the young man left the region to take on the world under the now familiar name Bob Dylan.
Celebrating Bob Dylan has had a long history in Duluth. In the mid 1990’s to the early 2000s a group of local musicians held an annual Bob Dylan Birthday Party at various venues in Duluth including the historic Northshore Theatre. Since 1992, the Highway 61 Revisited weekly radio show, created by the late John Bushey, has been integral in keeping the Duluth Dylan Connection strong on KUMD 103.3 FM. Host Miriam Hanson took over the show in 2018.
In May 2006, the City of Duluth designated a cultural pathway, Bob Dylan Way, in honor of Duluth’s native son. Following this designation, a small, grassroots committee was formed to raise funds for signs to mark the pathway. In conjunction with the Historic Duluth Armory, an annual May 24 birthday celebration at Bob Dylan’s original Hillside home was expanded into a week-long celebration of music, the arts and the inspiration generated by Dylan’s creative output.
Duluth Dylan Fest is dedicated to showcasing Duluth’s vibrant art scene. The group of volunteers is committed to providing creative events that tap the talents of artists, poets, and musicians in Duluth and the surrounding region. The annual festival is planned and carried on by a group of volunteers.
Artwork created and generously provided by Ed Newman.