Aaron Williams’ Homegrown Arts & Music Festival turns six this year. And it’s still growing.
“Homegrown was mostly a grass-roots thing to get these local bands noticed,” Williams said. “That’s what we celebrated last year with the anniversary. Things had to evolve this year to make upcoming years bigger and better.”
The daylong celebration of suburban art and music — set for Saturday, July 21, at Lisle’s BaseCamp Pub & Eatery — features 30 musical acts across three stages, as well as a number of local art vendors.
The mostly DuPage-centric focus of the fest brings back a few Homegrown veterans — Downers Groove, From the Start, Black Bolts and Rebel Soul Revival, to name a few. But this year’s lineup also taps a selection of new names — including Take the Reins, Bury Me in Lights, SKYD, the David Paige Band, WICYC, Dirty Water and more.
In addition, the schedule includes Tonic Freight Train and The Roaches, the two winners of the newly created Homegrown Battle of the Bands June 29 and 30.
“All the bands that were ready to rock brought it,” Williams said.
Williams said he was surprised by the number of submissions this year despite his instituting a small submission fee and some requirements.
“The submission fee puts forward urgency and seriousness for the artist when they have to invest in the potential of being selected,” Williams said. “And it’s a sacrifice. The bands can’t play a show in DuPage for a month before the fest to build up the draw. But the artists of our community are really taking this thing seriously. It’s worth their time and effort, and I’m humbled by it.”
One of the best parts of going to a multistage festival is being able to bounce between acts, sampling new music along the way.
Turns out that’s a perk of putting together a fest lineup, too.
“I’m experimenting, reaching out to these other acts who have heard of Homegrown through the grapevine,” said Williams. “I talked to bands I had never heard of, and I think they’re going to bring really great things to the fest. I discovered a lot of good music in the submissions.”
While music may be the fest’s primary draw, Homegrown has other elements to appeal to festgoers. The vendor section will feature 15 art and craft vendors throughout the festival. And BaseCamp’s full menu and bar service will be available inside and outside on the front and back patios.
Discovering new music and connecting musicians with new fans have been root reasons for Homegrown since its inception, but connecting musicians to other musicians is just as strong a draw to the annual event.
“It’s exciting to see all these bands, to help these young acts with your know-how and your connections,” said Williams. “While it is a party, it’s not just about the party; it’s about lifting each other up.
“I’ve said it a million times: The next Nirvana, the next Beatles, the next big thing that people are really going to connect with, that big new act that just melts the whole world is coming. I’m not saying it’s going to come out of the Chicago suburbs, but why the heck not? Why can’t it be a great band from around here?”
• • •
Homegrown Arts & Music Festival
When: The daylong fest starts at 1 p.m. Saturday, July 21
Tickets: $20 at the door; $15 online; discounted tickets are available from band members
1:30 p.m. — Fire The Canon!
2:30 p.m. — Tonic Freight Train
3:30 p.m. — Jared Rabin Band
5 p.m. — Dirty Water
6 p.m. — Kevin Andrew Prchal & The Wheeling Birds
7 p.m. — Aaron Williams Band
8:30 p.m. — Take the Reins
9:30 p.m. — Rebel Soul Revival
11 p.m. — Teed
12:30 a.m. — All-Star Jam: North of Eight, The Kings Rising and The Ex_Files
1 p.m. — Stellar West
2 p.m. — The Roaches
3 p.m. — WICYC
4:30 p.m. — David Paige Band
5:30 p.m. — SKYD
6:30 p.m. — Black Bolts
8 p.m. — Soul Krave
9 p.m. — Downers Groove
10:30 p.m. — From the Start
11:30 p.m. — Bury Me in Lights
1 p.m. — Lorenzo M. Esposito
1:45 p.m. — The Nomadic Bards
2:30 p.m. — Jeff Brown
3:30 p.m. — Kacie Swierk
4:20 p.m. — Ryan Herrick and Rob Kletsky
5:10 p.m. — Isabel Osorio
6 p.m. — Jack Shales
6:50 p.m. — Lara Bell
7:40 p.m. — Jack Byron Music
8:30 p.m. — The Greenleaf Band
Video Girl Pro, Cheeker’s Gemstones and Jewelry, Salvaged Arts By Love, Crafted Harmony Company, Populist Recording, Idle Hands Pottery, Henna Designs by Teala Marie, Destiny Scott Design, Simple Soaps by J and E, Chris Hodge Art, House Heart, Kolyde-A-Scope Custom Designs, Wayfair Ceramics, Sunshine Is Happiness, Hidden Sea Treasures