The North Coast Music Festival is a three-day hat doff to the waning days of summer. Send off halcyon hours in style and gird your gooseflesh for the inevitable onslaught of winter with a lineup that includes electronic, hip-hop, jam-band, and indie-rock artists both famous and obscure. On Friday, the electronic poppiness of The Chemical Brothers will waft from the stage until it enters the noses and eventually implants itself in the brains of concertgoers. Saturday's lineup features the progressive improvisation of Umphrey's McGee and a DJ set by Moby, or Richard Melville Hall on his birth certificate, who has provided hot, ambient beats to films such as Any Given Sunday, The Beach, and Citizen Kane. The festival's final day presents Chicago product Lupe Fiasco and crowd-moving collaborators Nasty Nas and Damian "Jr. Gong" Marley.
A glass of cold sangria in one hand, a plate of food balanced in the other. The only reason to disrupt such a perfect combination might be to dance to the live band performing just a few feet away. That's the basic Midsommarfest formula, and every summer, nearly 50,000 people flock to Andersonville for this celebration of all things local. Going strong for the past half century, the fest takes over Clark Street from Foster to Catalpa with booths for food and crafts as well as five different stages. These showcase eclectic entertainments that truly reflect the neighborhood's charm: not just cover bands (though there are those, too), but a pet parade, Swedish music, dance troupes, and sets from blues, roots, and funk bands. All the fun also helps the neighborhood, and not just because stoplights are powered by laughter; proceeds go to benefit community causes.
The Wizard World Big Apple Comic Con “Spring Edition” herds international artists, writers, and celebrities together into one superpowered carnival atmosphere. Attendees can wander the pavilion's floor and meet their film and comic-book idols face-to-face, asking penetrating questions about their artistic processes, favorite projects, and availability to join a vigilante crackdown on line-cutters. The day’s program features events and guests, including a Q&A with Chandler Riggs of The Walking Dead renown, appearances by Harry Potter’s Tom Felton and Spider-Man: Turn Off The Dark artist Greg Horn, and a writing panel featuring Eisner Award–nominee Matt Kindt.
The Southside Polish Fest is said to be the largest of its kind in the country, an honor it has earned by attracting not just the local Polish community, but by welcoming Chicagoans of all ethnicities. Whether familiar with the culture or not, revelers can immerse themselves in it by sampling traditional foods and beers and by taking in the live performances scheduled to fill all three days of the festival. This entertainment includes polka bands, Polish musicians, traditional dancers, the unceasing movement of the sun, and even a pierogi-eating contest. Kids will be drawn to the 25 carnival rides, which riders can enjoy by purchasing wristbands good for either 4-hour blocks or all three days of the festival.
On May 20, 1891, an estimated 6,000 people attended the first-ever Opening Day at Hawthorne Race Course. The event featured the Chicago Derby—a quarter-mile race won by a horse named Brookwood. Since that day, the facility has thrilled Chicago-area racing fans season after season with live competition and full-card simulcasting. But it hasn't always been easy. In 1905, for instance, racing was banned in Chicago for more than 15 years after several of the facility's horses became mired in a political scandal. And Hawthorne Race Course itself has had to overcome its fair share of adversity, including two fires, the most recent of which destroyed the grandstand in 1978.
Under the Streetlamp pries open America's songbook of radio hits, belting out timeless sing-alongs. After fueling the Chicago run of the Tony Award–winning musical Jersey Boys, the old-school quartet has reconvened on stage, determined to resurrect the sounds of the ‘60s and twirl listeners back to an era of peace, love, and vinyl housepets. Unabashed head-bobbing sweeps through East Leyden High School's auditorium as rock 'n’ roll anthems, doo-wop jingles, and golden oldies soar from the band's vault, courtesy of legendary hitmakers such as The Beatles and The Beach Boys. A seven-piece ensemble backs the harmonized vocals with rollicking piano, crystalline guitar, and horns that burst forth with bombast during the rockers and slow to a dreamy sway for the ballads. The vocalists also regale audiences with whimsical choreography and amusing story banter between the songs. Adding to the evening's feel-good vibes, the River Grove School Education Foundation presents the performance as part of its continuing mission to generate funds for local educational programs.