WINNETKA – Organizers of the second Winnetka Music Festival are stepping it up a notch following the success of last year’s weekend-long festival, which attracted more than 10,000 people. Expect more stages, more food, more beer tents — and most importantly — more music acts than last year at the free event on June 15 and 16.
“The whole point of the festival is to introduce people to new music,” Val Haller, founder and music curator of the festival, told DailyNorthShore. Haller said she deliberately did not bring back the same bands a second time, providing attendees an opportunity to hear new music.
This year’s festival will include five stages — three main stages (a new main stage was added this year behind the Winnetka Community House) — as well as a children’s stage in Dwyer Park, and a more intimate stage in the Winnetka Chapel. Music acts will rotate among the stages, encouraging people to move around the festival to catch everything.
This year’s lineup includes more music on Friday night, as well as music all day on Saturday at the Winnetka Chapel. The chapel setting is an intimate, inside alternative, where festival-goers will find specialty music genres, Haller said. The lineup includes opera, gospel choir, jazz, acoustic singer-songwriters, as well as guitarist Jake Allen, who plays a 12-string guitar.
While last year on Friday night there were two acts, this year the festival will open with four acts that Haller describes as an “eclectic line-up” that includes indie-folk band The Last Revel, Low Cut Connie (“Jerry Lewis meets Billy Joel”), headliner country band A Thousand Horses which toured with Kid Rock, and electronic dance music (EDM) band Win+Woo.
Organizers aim to draw people of all ages with the eclectic lineup, expecting teens and college kids to come to the festival as well. “This is more than just your parents’ festival,” Haller said. In particular, she expects young people flocking to see pop act Ashe on Saturday.
The Music Festival will open on Saturday morning at the family stage with a musical theater performance by the Children’s Theatre of Winnetka, followed by four music acts. Farmer and Adel are sure to be a crowd pleaser, with their Wild West costumes. “They are a blast. They are like back porch country music,” Haller said. Interactive drum company Rhythm Revolution (a fan favorite at Lollapalooza’s kids’ stage) will get families moving. “Moms and dads will love this as much as the kids,” Haller said. There will also be fun crafts and activities in Dwyer Park for families to enjoy.
Music acts are coming from all over to perform at the festival, from as far away as Australia, where indie-pop band Castlecomer calls Sydney home. “These are established touring artists with developed fan bases and music on Spotify,” Haller explained. When curating the festival, Haller went out of her way to select a range of music. “We believe that there is something for every music taste,” she said. But she also hopes that festival attendees will get outside of their comfort zone and experience new genres. “We purposefully went for a broad range of all great music. We want a really full experience,” she said.
Organizers also encourage people to come and spend Friday evening and all day Saturday at the festival. There will be more food trucks, as well as more beer tents throughout the festival. “We know that food is very important and will make people hang and stay,” Haller noted. Local restaurants also plan to offer easy take-away items for the festival.
A new central merchandise tent will also be located by the bridge, where people can by CD’s, t-shirts and other band merchandise. Local kids will be performing as street musicians throughout the festival, performing on street corners, and in restaurants and stores.
A few tips when planning to attend the Winnetka Music Festival:
- Parking is limited and large crowds are expected and so plan to take public transportation (the Metra train stops steps away from the music festival), walk or ride a bicycle
- Take a look at the music line-up on the festival’s website and plan your day accordingly. Each act has links to their music if you want to listen in advance
- If you are taking a baby or toddler Haller recommends healthy listening. Baby muffs that are noise canceling can be purchased ranging from $10 to $40 online
- Expect to walk a lot if you want to check out all of the music. Wear comfortable clothes and shoes and bring sunscreen
For more information about the Winnetka Music Festival go to www.winnetkamusicfestival.com.
Here are some photos from last year’s inaugural event: