The Twin Cities is lucky to have some really great Minnesota kids bands who call Minnesota home. My oldest will always be able to claim that she saw the Okee Dokee Brothers play in a friend’s basement. While, ODB is not so local anymore, the Twin Cities metro does not lack family friendly entertainment. The following is a list of the bands you’ll see at family-friendly events, a short description of their music and where you can find their music to add to your own collection.
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An Alphabetical List of Minnesota Kids Bands
In the grown up world, Sandy from the Alphabits is Sandy and the Hitmen. She takes her folksy, hippy style and plays classic kids songs, “kid-ified” rock songs and some original music.
A at the top of my family list, The Bazillions remind us of Schoolhouse Rock. Although this is totally kids music, I have them on some of my grownup Spotify lists. As teachers, the band started by creating classroom music and expanded from there. Now you will often find them on the park and library circuits in the summer. If you love The Bazillions, their grown up band is the Humbugs.
THE BIG EPIC SHOW
Miss Cherice and company started The Big Epic Show as a live, family-friendly variety show. The live show incorporates several hip hop and pop covers; but Big Epic’s first album, Make it Epic is a collection of original songs with the same energy and humor we’ve come to expect from the live show. If you are a fan of P!nk, you’ll enjoy sharing The Big Epic with your kids.
BOB THE BEACHCOMBER
Bob the Beachcomber plays covers of classic rock, beach party music. If you like the Beach Boys, you’ll enjoy sharing Bob the Beachcomber with your kids or grandkids.
The Bunny Clogs was started by Honeydogs frontman, Adam Levy, while he was doing the stay-at-home dad gig. His girls are bigger now, but they still sometimes do local shows. If you like 90s indie rock music, the Bunny Clogs could be your family music.
Gabriel Douglas is a member of 4onthefloor. He has recorded several albums for his niece Lillian, which are all available on Spotify. While I enjoy 4onthefloor, I don’t really think he pulls off the kids music. However, whatever I think, it is obvious that Lillian adores her uncle Gabriel. If you are a big 4onthefloor fan and want to share that with your kids, you’ll enjoy these albums.
JACK AND KITTY
No strangers to kids entertainment, Jack and Kitty won a regional Emmy “Best Children’s Program” award for a show they produced in Nashville. Now they play vaudeville style jug band folk. Jack and Kitty is the local kids band for Squirrel Nut Zipper fans.
Reminiscent of the kids music of They Might Be Giants, the Jolly Pops are fronted by MacPhail instructor, Billy Hartong and has a rotating crew of rock moms and pops, their daughters, and some puppets. This multi-dimensional band plays a variety of kid-friendly styles.
KID POWER WITH RACHAEL
A long-time staple of the park entertainment circuit, Kid Power with Rachael is an interactive educational show with animals and a kindness theme. There isn’t much music to be found online. This video was the best I could find for an example of her style:
KOO KOO KANGA ROO
Your kids may know Koo Koo Kanga Roo from GoNoodle. While many other musicians on this list have adult bands, Koo Koo Kanga Roo perform both kids and adult shows under the same name. When in town, you are as likely to see them playing a 21+ show at the Turf Club as a kids show. A downside to this is that I find some of their music videos a little too mature for kids. However, with that parental caution, this is your go to kids band if you like original hip hop. Koo Koo Kanga Roo’s latest single is Glitter. Watch it below.
OKEE DOKEE BROTHERS
We’re going to keep claiming these guys because we love them and they still perform in the Twin Cities a few times a year. The Okee Dokee Brothers just have an ability to write music that appeal to kids and adults. They evoke emotion and make social statements without ever feeling false or preachy. Check out their newest album Winterland.
PAPA SIAMA AND AUNTIE DALLAS
You can read Gianna’s full review of the new album by Papa Siama and Auntie Dallas. Regulars at Midtown Global Market, you can see them once or twice a month during Wee Wednesdays and/or Family Fridays.
ROE FAMILY SINGERS
While the Roe Family Singers are not technically kids music, they are family friendly and often play family and kids events. The Roe’s describe themselves as a “Good-Time, Old-Time Hill Billy” band. As grown ups, you can see them every Monday night at 331 Club in NE Minneapolis.
THE SPLATTER SISTERS
The Splatter Sisters have been around since 1990. Their trademark look is coordinating 80s-style bib overalls, while their music has an Andrews Sisters swing-style.
TEDDY BEAR BAND
The Twin Cities’ granddads of kids rock, the Teddy Bear Band‘s original fans are starting to bring their own kids to shows. TBB plays kids standards — the one’s we sang in the car and around the campfire as kids. These musicians pride themselves in bringing real instruments and real music to the stage while being developmentally appropriate for their audience. In the grown up world, most of the band is also Rich and the Resistors.
TRICIA AND THE TOONIES
Tricia and the Toonies play fast-paced, high energy kids music in this puppet-show music program. The Toonies perform a family show, an environmental show and a 50s music show.
WENDY’S WIGGLE JIGGLE AND JAM
Wendy Baldinger is a music specialist and storyteller who has developed a music curriculum for teaching preschoolers basic concepts. She performs her music and stories around the Twin Cities. Wendy’s CDs are out of print, but you can purchase her curriculum through her website and her music will soon be available through Spotify.
WILL HALE AND THE TADPOLES
If you like laid-back, bluesy jam bands, you’ll love this band. I wouldn’t call every song on these albums a kids song, but there is nothing objectionable either. This could be good car music for family road-trips since it is not saccharin sweet, but still has music kids would learn on repetition. Like most bluesy jam bands, this band has been prolific over the years, and there are quite a few albums to choose from.
Where to Find Minnesota Kids Bands
Quite a few of these bands are on Spotify, so if you have an account, feel free to follow or copy your favorites from my playlist. Most of these groups also offer music for sale on Amazon. The images above link to Amazon.
We have done a few reviews of family-friendly bands outside the Twin Cities:
While not, Minnesota kids bands, these musicians have traveled through the Twin Cities.
- Laurie Berkner: Music Review
- The Best of Raffi: Review
- Lemonade by Justin Roberts and the Not Ready for Naptime Players