When Caitlin Edwards of Bumsy and the Moochers first formed the Punk the Burbs Facebook group back in 2014, building an annual music festival around it hadn’t even crossed her mind.
“There are all these Facebook groups for Chicago shows, DIY Chicago, all the Chicago groups, and I’m like what about something for the burbs?” she said. “So, let’s just make this a group for all things in the suburbs. Shows, discovering new music, trying to form bands, whatever.”
Thanks to a nudge from Jason Fein of The Run Around, who first contacted the La Grange musician with the fest idea, the Punk the Burbs music festival is celebrating its fifth year bringing together the community in much the same way the Facebook group did. The two-day fest this weekend will draw artists from 23 punk, ska and rock bands — most from Chicago and the suburbs — to BaseCamp Pub, tucked away at Four Lakes in Lisle.
“I always wanted to do a fest that really serves to put the spotlight on bands that don’t typically get the spotlight,” she said. Edwards and Fein made the decision to keep the lineup hyperfocused on the Chicago-area scene — with only a few national and regional acts making their way onto the bill — to boost the visibility of local artists.
“Yeah, we’ll have some bands you know. … But let’s give some other bands a chance that might not be as well-known or might be starting out,” she said. “Jason and I agreed. Let’s have it be a fest for some up-and-coming bands and some really good bands in the scene.”
Looking back over lineups past, Edwards and Fein are clearly keeping to their mission. While some of the acts on this year’s bill have built up a certain level of renown, a couple on a national and international level, only a few have played the fest before.
“We don’t care if you have a label or not. … As long as you sound good and you’re having fun, we would love to have you on the fest,” she said. “Over the years, submissions got so crazy. We’d get hundreds of bands, which was great. That gave us so much to choose from. So that’s why every year you always see pretty much a different lineup. … We want to always just bring new music, give more and more people a chance to be on these lineups.”
Friday, headliners Kali Masi and Counterpunch will be joined by She’s Alive, Jeff Schaller and the Long Way Home, Bad Planning, Nowhere Days and Overcoast. Saturday’s schedule features Avenues, Dreadwolf, Won’t Stay Dead, The First Rule, The Usuals, Lollygagger, Wes Hoffman and Friends, Lights Over Bridgeport, Eddie Ate Dynamite, The Hallow, The Hellcatz and Jesus Coyote, headlined by Much the Same and returning act The Bollweevils. Saturday also includes sets by Fein’s punk band The Run Around and Edwards’ Bumsy and the Moochers, who will be playing new music from their early-September release “Diet Violence.”
“Over the years of Punk the Burbs, I definitely wanted to try and make it more diverse and inclusive as far as bands with more women and people of color, people who are trans or from the LGBTQ community,” Edwards added, reflecting on the widening boundaries of the Chicago punk scene. “We’ve got to mix this up because the scene has changed. Nothing wrong with the white-dude bands, but let’s mix it up. Let’s try and really change and progress.”
While all the acts will be performing on the main stage inside the venue, BaseCamp Pub has plenty of room to spread out, with two spacious outdoor patios. Food and drinks will be available for purchase from BaseCamp’s menu. And bands are encouraged to bring merch to sell.
“We want people to come see a band and be like, ‘I’ve never heard of this band, but I love them now. I’m gonna check them out,'” Edwards said. “So it’s just like building a community.”
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Punk the Burbs 5
When: 7 p.m. Friday, Sept. 30, and noon Saturday, Oct. 1
Where: BaseCamp Pub, 5750 Lakeside Drive, Lisle, eventbrite.com
Tickets: $20 cash only at the door; $30 for a two-day pass; free for kids 7 and younger