This weekend, appreciate “the art of the music video” — on a 53-by-39-foot screen.

The Minnesota Music Video Menagerie, taking place Saturday night at the History Center of Olmsted County, hearkens back to the days of the music video TV channel, where rap followed pop-punk and country played hand-in-hand with gospel rock.

Co-organizer Tyler Aug had just finished compiling the roundup of video submissions Monday afternoon.

About 36 videos were sent to a “celebrity” panel — the judges will choose their top 10, and on Saturday, those will be the videos the audience votes on, using their car lights to select their favorites.

The top five submissions, as chosen Saturday, will win prize packages from Carpet Booth and Pure Rock studios, video production from Scopophile Productions or Treedome, and more.

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The music videos range wildly in tone — from Claymation set to organ music, to band “just coming out of quarantine and filming live session in the studio.”

Aug and co-organizer John Sievers questioned whether the latter videos fit in with the “MTV culture of music videos, with … bands in all these kinds of scenarios, or dressing up.” Some bands, like Minneapolis three-piece Gully Boys, leaned into '80s and '90s music video tropes. Others are more bare-bones.

It’ll be up to the audience to decide what they prefer, Aug said.

“It’s like the old days of MTV, where you sit down, and if you were watching music videos, you didn’t know what’s coming next,” he said. “This is a time to take in stuff — most people seek out music in so many ways, unless they have a Spotify playlist or the radio. … They’ll discover music and learn about these bands and hopefully follow them in some respect.”

Tyler Aug
Tyler Aug

Sievers and Aug, who are plugged into the local music (and music video) scene, had discussed a music video festival last year, using their contacts in Southeast Minnesota, Winona and the Twin Cities. At the beginning of the summer, Dan Van Hook with Spectrum Pro Audio set up “the biggest screen in town — it’s like IMAX-size out there” at the History Center.

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So the two talked to Van Hook about holding a festival on that giant screen. The History Center will open up at 7:30 p.m. for cars, and kick off around 8 p.m. with a collaborative song by Jae Havoc and Fires of Denmark.

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Expect a two-hour block of music videos, followed by a half-hour intermission show, followed by the top-10 finale, Aug said. The actual submissions totaled more like 40, Aug said — a few files came in corrupted, but may still be screened this weekend.

It’s been a great way to learn about bands even Aug and Sievers hadn’t known before, he said — whether for genre reasons or lack of local promotion.

If you go

What: Minnesota Music Video Menagerie

When: 7 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 29

Where: History Center of Olmsted County, 1195 W Circle Drive, Rochester

Cost: Free; tickets available on eventbrite.com.