It started with a Facebook group.
“Chicago’s suburbs have a great (music) scene,” said Caitlin Edwards, singer and guitarist with ska band Bumsy and the Moochers. “A lot of great bands come out of here, and I wanted to show people the suburbs can rock out as much as the city can.”
Edwards, the co-founder of the Punk the Burbs 3 fest in Lisle this weekend, started a Facebook group of the same name to help promote and connect suburban musicians.
“You always saw DIY Chicago events,” she said, “but the suburbs needed to get that love, too.”
Edwards’ project drew the attention of Jason Fein, frontman for punk band The Run Around and owner of three School of Rock franchises in the suburbs, who approached her about collaborating on something bigger in 2017.
“Running my own venue or fest was on my checklist of dreams,” she said. “There is a scene here; there is a need here. There’s a thirst for more music, for a festival in the suburbs that would support local bands. … A lot of local bands don’t get the chance.”
Now in its third year, PTB3 is expanding to two days Friday and Saturday, Sept. 20 and 21, at Lisle’s BaseCamp Pub and boasting national-level headliners and two stages — the indoor Burbs Stage and the outdoor Punk Stage — loaded with local and regional acts.
“There’s a very limited original scene when it comes to suburban fests,” Fein said. “That doesn’t do anything for the next generation of music. What does that open your eyes to?”
He added the last two years have seen a number of School of Rock-inspired bands — some of them his own students — making the lineup, such as Stellar West, Bad Planning and California Killers. This year, School of Rock students in Cherryhead are on the bill.
“It allows me to take what I do for a daily job and take kids and introduce them to the scene that I grew up on,” he said.
The festival lineup, heavy on punk, pop-punk and ska, features headliners Tsunami Bomb (in the band’s first show in Chicago in nearly 15 years) on Friday, Sept. 20, and The Mr. T Experience on Saturday, Sept. 21.
“These bands have a special place in peoples’ hearts for that era of punk rock, the Bay-area punk scene from the ’90s,” Fein said. “That’s what triggers Green Day and other bands like that. It ended up restarting a national movement that hadn’t been at the forefront for a decade or so, at least not in the pop-culture world.”
“And it’s coming full circle for us in our lives. Growing up listening to these bands and now being able to actually share the stage with them,” said Edwards, whose band plays immediately before Tsunami Bomb on Friday. “And not just sharing a stage, but they’re actually playing a fest (organized) by us that they heard about somehow. It’s kind of surreal getting that momentum and acknowledgment.”
And as the fest continues to grow, Edwards and Fein said they’ve learned from experience — staggering set times, covering changeover delays, having a plan in case of rain and perhaps most importantly, just understanding being musicians.
“We learned the most how to do all this by being in a band,” Edwards said. “We know the struggles and we’re patient with things. We know when equipment falls apart, the frustrations of setting up for a set. And actually knowing the bands, too. A lot of the bands on the set, we know them, we’ve played with them or we’ve seen them play.”
And with over 300 submissions for this year’s festival, the duo had plenty of acts to choose from.
“It’s about the music,” Fein said. “It’s about the quality that we put on stage. We could put on the 10 bands that draw the most or we could put on the 10 bands we think are going to be the most fun. … Everybody who’s up there is somebody we really wanted to put on the list.”
“I want people to walk away saying ‘I want to start a band,'” Edwards said. “Or ‘I just got into something new that I’ve never heard before.'”
• • •
Punk the Burbs 3
When: 5 p.m. (doors open at 4 p.m.) Friday, Sept. 20, and 2 p.m. (doors open at 1 p.m.) Saturday, Sept. 21
Where: BaseCamp Pub, 5750 Lakeside Drive, Lisle
Tickets: $20 per day; two-day pass for $30; free for kids 7 and younger. ticketweb.com
• • •
Friday, Sept. 20
• Tsunami Bomb
• Bumsy and the Moochers
• The Run Around
• Crimson Riot
• The Von Tramps
• Blind Adam and the Federal League
• This Obsession
• The C-Sides
• Evil Engine
• Double Feature
• Suburban Delinquents
Saturday, Sept. 21
• The Mr. T Experience
• The Radio Buzzkills
• Dirty Rotten Revenge
• Something To Do
• Hot Alice
• The Land Before Tim
• Eugeine Grey and the Bad Habits
• The Studs
• Nahuales Underground
• Turbo Vamps
• Solution Unsatisfactory
• The Dead Seahorses
• Nifty Skullet
• The Islanders
• The Grow Ops
• Mite and Monsters