The world lost a music icon on Thursday, April 24 but in Minnesota we lost a hometown hero.
In this week’s Minnesota Mondays post I wanted to share a first-hand account of the memorial that has formed outside Prince’s home and studio—Paisley Park.
On Saturday evening just before six, I made my way out to Chanhassen to pay tribute to the music legend. As I made my way closer, the traffic on Highway 5 began to slow, and I saw the lines of cars making their way to find parking within Lake Ann Regional Park and streams of people dressed in purple, carrying signs, flowers and mementos. As I became part of those walking along the trail to Paisley Park, I was taken aback by the sheer volume of people who had come out on a Saturday night to pay their respects. As I got to the fence surrounding Paisley Park, the massive amount of purple balloons, flowers and people just amazed me. The fence was lined with cards, drawings, notes, paintings, buttons and bouquets of Tootsie Pops. Prince’s music was playing, press trucks were lined up along Audubon Road and thousands of mourners were gathered at the site, somberly paying respect to a life lost, yet celebrating the legendary work of the artist at the same time.
The rainy weather had moved out, there was a soft breeze blowing and the sun illuminated all of the purple along the fence. Family and friends were coming out of the private memorial that had just ended, media outlets were reporting live from the scene, artist Dan Lacey was adding details to a painting of Prince, there were multiple languages being spoken and people of all ages and ethnicities were amongst the crowd. It was truly a moving experience and it was clear to see the depth and importance of Prince’s music.
Sadly, I don’t think we always realize the profound greatness of people until they’re gone. Growing up in the 1980’s as a child in Minnesota, Prince’s music was everywhere. It seems nearly everyone has a Prince-related story to share with everything from sightings of Prince at The Dakota, Paisley Park parties and even a sweet story of him stopping by a young girl’s lemonade stand. As a music lover myself, I always enjoyed when artists would sing a Prince song at a concert, and I knew he had a lot of fans, but standing at the fence on Saturday, I realized I hadn’t fully recognized all that Prince had given to the state of Minnesota. He put our local music on the map and gave the state some serious street cred. Plus, regardless of his success, he stayed local, created thousands of musical masterpieces and ultimately left this earth right at Paisley Park in Chanhassen, Minnesota, within an unassuming white structure along Highway 5.
Unfortunately, I don’t have my own story to tell about the time I met Prince. But as a writer, music aficionado and Minnesotan, I want to say thank you to Prince for your music that you shared with the world and bid you a fond farewell. #RIPPrince #Prince #Purple
What’s your favorite Prince-related memory?