Fletcher Rockwell plays the Old Dominion After Party at Joe's Live in Rosemont Friday, Jan. 18. Courtesy of Thomas M. Kubik

Homegrown fest in Lisle unites suburban music scene

Chicago’s music scene is so strong, it sometimes overpowers its suburban brother.

Glen Ellyn native Aaron Williams is working to change that.

After more than a decade playing on local stages, he saw a need to stir up excitement around the suburban music scene.

Gathering friends and collaborators of his band, the Aaron Williams Band, along with other musicians from the DuPage County area, Williams created a place where friends and family, fans and musicians could meet up and celebrate the music they love to make and share.

His labor of love, the Homegrown Arts & Music Festival in Lisle, is now in its third year. His goal? To bring the scene together.

“This is less of an exposure thing and more about uniting,” Williams said.

Bands that played together at last year’s event have kept in touch and continued to work together, he added.

“Even if they’re not performing, it’s great networking for artists and musicians from the area,” Williams said.

While this is Homegrown’s third year, it’s the event’s second year at Mullen’s Bar and Grill in Lisle.

The festival will feature newer and up-and-coming acts on the Harvest Stage inside Mullen’s, headlined by Ryan Mumby and the Hundred Year Rain; veteran DuPage County-area acts will play the larger outdoor Homegrown Stage, leading up to headliner Fletcher Rockwell. Also playing is this year’s out-of-state “hospitality guest,” Five Pound Snap from Detroit, Michigan.

Even though the festival drew about 400 fans last year and promises to be even larger this year, Williams said, Mullen’s will remain open to others as well; a portion of the restaurant will be just for diners.

“Last year, we had a bunch of people there to eat who heard the music and ended up paying the cover and staying for the rest of the night,” Williams said.

Mullen’s food and full bar service will be available inside and outside.

The festival also will have 12 local artists showcasing and selling their products and services, including one who does movie-themed paintings, plus hat and jewelry makers, a henna artist and face-painting for the kids.

While all these attractions are nice, the focus ultimately remains on giving people an eclectic music experience.

“I want to open people’s minds and hearts to genres of music they maybe didn’t know they love,” Williams said.

Outdoor Homegrown Stage

Tonic Freight Train — 1:30 p.m. 
Members: Dan Dick, Jake Kramer, Ben Alston, Sean Reimer
Genre: Rock/funk
Hometown: Wheaton

Members: Aerie Dover, Tony Montana, Pat Goode, Quentin Dover
Genre: Rock
Hometown: Aurora
Hear it: kadooge.com

Brent Brown & Vision — 3:30 p.m.
Members: Brent Brown, Brandon Batchelar, Jenna Heerdt, Charlie Dresser
Genre: Pop, rock, funk, folk
Hometown: Naperville
Hear it: brentbrownmusic.com

North of Eight — 4:30 p.m. 
Members: Steve Peterson, Ray Di Julio, Bob Koutek, Matt Psenicka, Max Meador
Genre: Rock
Hometown: Downers Grove
Hear it: northofeight.com

3 In Counting — 5:30 p.m.
Mike Hayes, Evan Behmer, Rob Kletsky, Matt Hines (This is a one-time-only reunion of the band’s original lineup.)
Genre: Acoustic rock
Hometown: Glen Ellyn and Naperville

The Aaron Williams Band — 6:30 p.m.
Members: Aaron Williams, Dan Wonsover, Kris Ahrens
Genre: Rock/indie/pop
Hometown: Chicago
Hear it: awband.com

On Your Marx — 7:30 p.m.
Members: Roger Chavez, Kevin Lustrup, Lailah Reich, Kathleen Irion, Steve Katz, Tim “Reckless” Schuett, Bill Stulgin, Tim Williams, Dee Guzman-Isler, Steve Grossinger
Genre: Ska, reggae, dub +
Hometown: Chicago
Hear it: reverbnation.com/onyourmarx

Honey & the 45s — 8:30 p.m.
Members: Kristina Cottone, Kim Kozel, Jon Gould, Sean Tatum, Jarad Kleinstein
Genre: Folk, blues, funk, soul
Hometown: Villa Park
Hear it: honeyandthe45s.com

Fletcher Rockwell — 9:30 p.m.
Members: Mike Nutt, Charley Bredrup, Tim Bredrup, Steve Pahl
Genre: Rock/alternative/country
Hometown: Naperville
Hear it: fletcherrockwell.com

Indoor Harvest Stage

The Ex_Files — 2 p.m.
Aaron Williams and Mike Hayes play breakup rock about their ex-girlfriends.

Erica Heiden and Friends 3 p.m.
Former singer from 7th Heaven and Libido Funk Circus brings her gang along for a show.

Five Pound Snap — 5 p.m.
Members: Michael O’Brien, Alex Niemi, Gwendolyn MacPhee, Scott Ryan
Genre: Garage-Groove, Space-Fuzz
Hometown: Detroit
Hear it: fivepoundsnap.bandcamp.com

Homeschool Drop Outs — 6 p.m.
Members: Lily Fosco, Delaney Durbin, Sarah King, Sarah Durbin, Anna Mitman, Amy Sczepanik
Genre: Cover band based out of Rock Academy of DuPage
Hometown: Downers Grove

Members: Trevor Hill, Bill Carroll, Glen O’Fallon, Austin Deadman
Genre: Jazz-fusion
Hometown: Chicago
Hear it: YouTube.com playlist

Bloody Mary — 8 p.m.
Members: Ana Apollo, Kat Cannons, Rickee Divine, Hollie Wood
Genre: Rock, alternative, metal
Hometown: Chicago
Hear it: gobloodymary.com

Clear Confusion — 9 p.m.
Members: Max King, Griffin Tome, Colin Riordan, Fredo Fosco
Genre: Rock and acoustic originals and covers
Hometown: Downers Grove
Hear it: clearconfusionband.com

Pete Jive — 10 p.m.
Members: Pete Jive
Genre: Folk, bluegrass, reggae
Hometown: Chicago
Hear it: petejive.com

The Homegrown House Band — 11 p.m.
Members: A conglomeration of members from many of the bands playing the festival
Genre: Bluegrass covers

Ryan Mumby and the Hundred Year Rain — midnight
Members: Ryan Mumby, Courtney Stone, Steve Baxter, Brian Baxter
Genre: Blues/rock
Hometown: Chicago
Hear it: ryanmumbyandthehundredyearrain.com

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