With a couple nice weekends under our belt, summer in Chicago is officially underway (okay, well not officially until June 20th, but close enough). When it's hot in Chicago, most of the media might be talking about the increase in violence over the summer months, but we just want to talk about food, fun and street fests for a moment. While the word 'festival' in other parts of the country might mean teenage girls in ill-advised Native-American garb, here in Chicago it means street parties: lots of them. Emerging from the annual 9-month hibernation period, we Chicagoans certainly know how to pack the warm months with plenty to do and this weekend is the perfect example. With a trio of healthy-sized fests kicking off this weekend, we take a look at Green Fest in Wicker Park, Pride over in Boystown and Taste of Randolph, which takes over the newly-bustling West Loop neighborhood.
June 18 & 19 / 12pm-10pm / $5 Donation / Website
Green Fest, entering it's eighth year in 2016 is a festival for the new genertion of Wicker Park-ians. The annual romp on Damen Ave is a general ode to all things "green" with a signature bike-powered stage to boot. Headlining this year's edition is Black Joe Louis, King Khan + The Shrines, Waxahatchee and Broncho. To be honest, the top-end of this one reads like the fillers on most traditional festivals, acts to fill your afternoon but not really enough to get truly excited about. Shit, it's Wicker Park in the summer, you could throw just about anything up there and sell out of Lagunitas. The real action appears to be on the side-stages, with The O'My's once again gracing their home neighborhood stage and the homie Rich Jones doing his thing on the bike-powered stage. Green Fest is never a bad time, with three stages and two days, there's plenty to enjoy from this one as it nears a decade on Damen. all the rest of the info is here below.
Festival: June 18 & 19 Parade: June 26 / Donation / Website
Few cities do Pride as well as Chicago and the annual celebration once again descends upon Boystown and, generally, the city at large for another colorful romp through the streets. Accented by parades, parties and plenty of interesting outfits, this year's Pride Fest comes underlined with the sobering news of the Orlando shooting at a gay nightclub that killed 49 people. While festival-goers will head out with heavy hearts, they'll most certainly continue to persevere and embody the good in the world. Increased police patrols have been appropriately scheduled for the Lakeview area so if you're heading out that way this weekend, be careful and keep your eyes open. The event is sure to be a special one this time around, packed once again with more events and activities than we could even list here. Check out the official website for all the pertinent info and check the photo to the right for the official parade route.
Taste of Randolph
June 17, 18 & 19 / 12pm-10pm (Friday begins at 5pm) / Donation / Website
Chicago's latest bustling neighborhood is without a doubt the West Loop area. The past five years or so have been mighty good to the area just left of downtown as chic restaurants, hotels and boutiques have begun dotting the main thoroughfare in the area, Randolph St. While the neighborhood may be just now peaking, the festival that has called the locale home celebrates it's 20th anniversary this year with a packed lineup and associated vendor schedule that position it as one of the weekend's pre-eminent events to make this weekend. Peter Bjorn & John headline the fest alongside the likes of MS MR, Atlas Genius, Devotchka, The Motet and Patrick Watson, but the real act to make sure you circle on your schedules is none other than Eryn Allen Kane. The 26-year-old soul singer and TheseDays' June cover story takes the stage at 7:30 on Saturday, just blocks from City Winery where she wowed a sold out show in February. Get there early though to catch a full heaping of beautiful voices as Ravyn Lenae who sits perfectly suited for a 4:30 afternoon set. Earlier in the day, Rae Chardonnay kicks off what should prove to be a dope day of female artistry. Friday, get there around 7:30 to catch Judah & The Lion and show up early to see Zaramela take the West Stage just before The Ivorys. It's a packed three days with plenty going on, check the official site for more info.