Bon Iver protest Minnesota pipeline at their first show since March 2020
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  • Post published:20/08/2021
  • Post last modified:20/08/2021

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“You know the one thing we need to be alive? Water. And that’s why we’re here.”

Bon Iver at Mad Cool Festival

Bon Iver have performed their first live show since March of 2020, headlining the Water Is Life festival in Minnesota to protest the Enbridge Line 3 pipeline.

  • READ MORE: Bon Iver at Mad Cool: a fine end to the ‘22, A Million’ era, but they “don’t know how” to play the new songs

Held at the Bayfront Festival Park in Duluth, the event raised money for Honor The Earth, who aim to stop Canadian oil giant Enbridge from building their proposed Line 3 pipeline expansion.

As per Stereogum, the pipeline – which if built, would transport tar-sand oil from Alberta to Wisconsin – “would cut across Minnesota, and it could cause environmental devastation and cold [sic] violate treaty rights of Anishinaabe peoples and nations”.


During the band’s set at the Water Is Life festival on Wednesday (August 20), Bon Iver frontman Justin Vernon said: “Being a music fan can just become, ‘Well, I like this band and I like that band.’ But for me, this whole thing started out as an expression of being alive. And you know the one thing we need to be alive? Water. And that’s why we’re here.”

The band played an eight-track set heavy on cuts from their 2016 album ‘22, A Million’, as well as the standalone single ‘Blood Bank’, two songs from 2007’s ‘For Emma, Forever Ago’, and covers of songs by Bob Dylan and Leon Russell.

Take a look at fan-shot footage of Bon Iver covering the former’s track ‘With God On Our Side’ below:

Bon Iver released their most recent album, ‘i, i’, in August of 2019, following it up in 2020 with the singles ‘PDLIF’ and ‘AUATC’ (featuring Bruce Springsteen and Jenny Lewis).

Speaking with local publication the Star Tribune ahead of their show earlier this weel, Vernon addressed the potential of Bon Iver recording a fifth album – when journalist Chris Riemenschneider asked if they had any plans for a new record, he said: “Absolutely none!”


Earlier this month, the band announced a limited reissue of their eponymous second album in celebration of its tenth anniversary.

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