The first Lake Forest Music Festival will take place on August 24 in downtown Lake Forest in the parking lot behind City Hall. The event, which is being presented by Lake Forest Parks and Recreation, will run from 3 to 10 p.m. and feature a selection of country music artists and tribute bands.
Also featured will be local food and drinks. At least six chefs of all types will showcase their signature burgers, to be enjoyed in a comfortable seating area. A bourbon tasting pavilion will offer more than 20 types of bourbon for tasting, along with beer and wine.
The musical lineup includes country music star Joe Nichols and emerging country artist Brooke Eden. Bruce in the USA, a Bruce Springsteen tribute band, and Trippin Billies, a Dave Matthews tribute band, will also be taking the stage. Bands Fletcher Rockwell and Brass Buckle round out the lineup.
While Lake Forest Parks and Recreation is a department of the City of Lake Forest, much of its funding for special events such as the Music Festival comes from the Friends of Lake Forest Parks and Recreation Foundation. Lake Forest Director of Parks, Recreation & Forestry Sally Swarthout says the Foundation is critical in helping the Parks and Recreation fulfill and expand its mission.
“They’re very important to us and they have done so many wonderful things for us, everything from ball fields to batting cages to basketball courts to rescue boats,” she says. “They’ve helped with all kinds of things for this community that we’ve truly needed, and that not always public funds were available for.”
Rick Amos sits on the board of the Friends of Lake Forest Foundation and has served as event coordinator for the Festival & Fireworks since its inception.
“We’re a 20-person volunteer army, if you will, and our mission is to engage our residents and make them aware of all the great things at the Parks and Recreation Department,” he explains.
Amos says Lake Forest is unique on the North Shore in that other communities have park districts that operate independently from city or village governments, while Lake Forest Parks and Recreation is a department of the city. The Foundation was created as a separate 501(c)(3) to raise funds for events and other activities.
The Foundation board also provides feedback and interacts with the residents through surveys and assessment programs to help the city understand what the needs of the residence are as it relates to the Parks and Rec Department.
“We hold our annual Festival & Fireworks event in July, have this Music Festival in August now, and throw a golf outing. We also do Christmas events,” he says. “Last year, we recognized the need to have a fire and rescue boat at our marina for patrolling around the shore of Lake Michigan, so we raised funds for that.”
Amos says the Foundation board views the city’s beautiful natural environment as being an important asset for Lake Forest’s 20,000 residents, and that keeping the downtown looking nice and attractive for restaurants and businesses is what motivates him to serve on the board.
“We view Parks and Recreation as being an important asset within the community. There are certainly those that feel like to attract the next generation of residents we need to have the features that are important when considering where you want to live and raise your family,” Amos says. “One of our big amenities that we support is our lakefront. We think it’s the best lakefront on the North Shore and it’s one of the strongest natural assets of Lake Forest and Lake Bluff. So, we are focused on activities that boost awareness and connect the community.”
There are a variety of ticket packages available for the Music Festival. General Admission Youth tickets (six to 20 years of age) are $10 and $25 for adults. Children five years of age and under can attend for free. Day Passes, which include food and drinks, are also available.
For more information on the Lake Forest Music Festival, visit lfparksandrec.com.