This film highlights the growth of a band, a culture, and a community that took form in Northfield, MN, in 1992 and grew to an influential presence in the Twin Cities and national music communities. The Big Wu has been a well-known, though still underground jam band through much of their career. You may not have heard of them, but if you did you were part of a tightly knit, uncommonly inclusive community of fans that mingled with the band as though they were lifelong friends. Having built their following with long-standing weekly residencies at the Terminal Bar and the Cabooze, both iconic Minneapolis venues, this story reflects an infusion of the Minnesotan way of life into what grew from a prominent local band to a traveling embodiment of Minnesota jam music. Through their career, The Big Wu has performed at many famous venues such as the Wetlands in New York City, the 9:30 Club in Washington, D.C., and The Vic and Aragon Ballroom in Chicago. While large music festivals are now prolific throughout the country, The Big Wu played the first notes at the inaugural Bonnaroo Music Festival in 2002, considered by some to be the groundbreaking event for the style of music festivals we have today.
As the band and its music evolved in its early years, a community of fans and friends grew into a culture in which the people directly influenced the band and their music as much as the band influenced them. The Big Wu meant something to the people who followed them through entire tours, supported the band through good times and bad, and made the band part of their lives in ways rarely seen in music. The band and its fans encapsulated the Minnesota pride that pervades many aspects of our state’s culture and never shied from taking that pride on tour throughout the country.
This film captures the story and the music of a band that was born and raised in Minnesota. The Big Wu carried that Minnesota persona across the country and overseas, proudly showing what the Minnesota music community meant to the people who lived and breathed the venues of the Twin Cities. The Big Wu also showed what the Twin Cities music culture values: community, passion, and camaraderie between musician and fan. The Big Wu’s story is one of the people who made it, and spans from their earliest days at the Terminal Bar to playing for 20,000 people at the Taste of Minnesota. Most importantly, this film tells the story of the band members, tour crews, roadies, fans, friends, and family that made it all possible.