Nostalgia in Naperville
Last week, the Naperville Music Festival announced its lineup and put tickets on sale for a late September weekend of concerts to tap into our love for some of the music we grew up on. Set outdoors at Naper Settlement, the fest will feature throwback favorites Vanilla Ice, Smash Mouth, Color Me Badd and C+C Music Factory on Saturday, with Kool & The Gang, Village People, Pointer Sisters, Peter Beckett (of Player), John Ford Coley and Orleans on Sunday. Food and drinks will be available at this family-friendly musical event.
5 to 10 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 25, and noon to 8 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 26, at Naper Settlement, 523 S. Webster St., Naperville. Tickets start at $49 for Saturday, $59 for Sunday; premium, VIP and front stage VIP packages are also available at napervillemusicfestival.com.
Bitter Jester grand finale
This year’s return to in-person competition rolls on to its grand finale for the Bitter Jester Music Festival, a weekly showcase of Midwestern emerging musical acts. Each Friday of the competition, now celebrating its 15th year in Highland Park, music industry professionals considered the acts, provided feedback and determined who would move on to the final round. Eight winners and wild card winners — Adem Dalipi Band, Fluctuation, Pretoria, Quick and Painless, Quite Frankly the Band, Scorched Waves, Summer Drive and Venganza — will take the stage Sunday for a full-scale concert to crown this year’s champion, followed by Highland Park’s fireworks display. One Man Ginger Band, Feed the Monkeys, Ian Jake Robleza and Opening Day will also be performing throughout the event as featured showcase acts. Bring your blankets or lawn chairs, meet the 101.9 The Mix Road Crew and enjoy food and drinks from local vendors.
3 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 5, at Wolters Field, 1080 Park Avenue West, Highland Park. Free. bitterjestermusic.org.
It’s September, but fest season is nowhere near over
The start of September typically marks the winding down of major music festival season in the Chicago area. But the last two summers have been anything but typical. With COVID-19 causing cancellations of nearly every major event last year, festival organizers have been doing everything in their power this year to give their fests a fighting chance. And for some, that meant pushing things toward later in the year in hopes the virus numbers would be dropping even lower and attendee numbers would be climbing.
While the delta variant’s rise is throwing another complication into this year’s season, most of those planned events are still forging ahead, but with additional safety precautions — proof of vaccines, negative tests, masks in indoor spaces and other possible measures aimed at mitigating the spread of the virus.
Here’s what’s left to enjoy for this year’s season, including this Labor Day weekend. But make sure to check the fests’ sites regularly for updates and additional safety requirements.
• North Coast Music Festival brings a strong Chicago-area mix — including North Shore acts Kaskade and Louis the Child, along with Ron Carroll, Stratus, Dani Deahl, INZO, Birthdayy Partyy, Align, Bentley Dean and others — along with GRIZ, Zed’s Dead, Nora En Pure, Bonobo and more in the city’s long-running EDM festival. 2 p.m. to midnight Friday and Saturday, Sept. 3, and 4; 2 to 10:30 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 5, at SeatGeek Stadium, 7000 S. Harlem Ave., Bridgeview. $248.51 plus fees for three-day general admission; $88.57 plus fees for single-day GA passes at northcoastfestival.com.
• Celebrating Chicago as the home of house music, the ARC Music Festival is making its debut here this weekend. Featuring a stacked lineup of area and global artists, ARC aims to showcase the music and artistry inspired by Chicago’s style. And with the ARC Car Stage featuring Joe Domingo and his GoodBus jammed with a full lineup of artists from the city and the suburbs, homegrown music will be front and center. 2 to 10 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 4-5, at Union Park, 1501 W. Randolph St., Chicago. $249 for two-day general admission passes; $154 for Saturday; $126 for Sunday; lineups and tickets at arcmusicfestival.com.
• Pitchfork Music Festival: 1 to 10 p.m. Friday through Sunday, Sept. 10-12, at Union Park, 1501 W. Randolph St., Chicago. Three-day passes are sold out, but single-day tickets are $90 plus fees for each day at pitchforkmusicfestival.com.
• Riot Fest: 2:30 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 16, preview party; 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday through Sunday, Sept. 17-19, at Douglass Park, 1401 S. Sacramento Drive, Chicago. $45 for preview party, $124.98 plus fees for single-day passes at riotfest.org.
• DZ Fest 2021: Noon to 11 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 25-26, at DZ Records, 8548 S. 85th Court, Hickory Hills. $20 admission and donations will benefit a scholarship fund for Chicago Public Schools’ All City Performing Arts. Find the schedule and more event info at facebook.com.
• Spring Awakening — Autumn Equinox: 1 to 10 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, Oct. 2-3, at Addams/Medill Park, 1301 W. 14th St., Chicago. $309 plus fees for two-day passes, $160 plus fees for single-day general admission at springawakeningfestival.com.
• Punk the Burbs Fest 4: Noon to 11 p.n. Saturday, Oct. 30, at Tivoli Bowl, 938 Warren Ave., Downers Grove. $15 at eventbrite.com.
• Brian Shamie is a Daily Herald multiplatform editor and local music junkie. Email him at email@example.com, find him on Facebook or follow him on Twitter (@thatshamieguy) or Instagram (@chicagosoundcheck).