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Wicker Park, Bucktown, West Town

Extended To Three Days, Wicker Park Fest Plans For Crowd Of 90,000

Against Me! and synth-pop group Porches, are among the bands booked to perform at the July 27-29 fest.

A scene from a past Wicker Park Fest.
Photo by Vladimir Zaytsev
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WICKER PARK—  Expect more — literally— of Wicker Park Fest this year. The sprawling street party will run from July 27-29, and it’s likely to bring a lot more people to the neighborhood.

“Since this is our first year going to three days, we are guesstimating 90,000 people [could attend],” said Debbie Rinella, a special events coordinator for the Wicker Park/Bucktown Chamber of Commerce, which produces the fest.

Past Wicker Park Fests have drawn about 70,000 revelers. In celebration of the festival’s 15th year, the Wicker Park Bucktown Chamber of Commerce announced last month that it’ll extend the fest.

Set for 5-10 p.m. July 27, and noon-10 p.m. on the 28th and 29th, the fest runs from the 1300-1600 blocks of North Milwaukee Avenue, between North and Paulina. A suggested donation entry fee of $10 benefits the Wicker Park Bucktown Chamber of Commerce.

Rinella told Block Cub that fest-goers will receive a button when they donate $10 at the gate and they can wear that button on other days to show they’ve already donated. The button will also get donors to-be-announced perks at the fest’s official after parties.

This year’s fest includes four stages of live music featuring more than 50 bands, a dedicated children’s fun area and fashion fest, food and drink vendors, a specialty beer tent, 120 merchant booths, and an arts area with interactive exhibits and sculptures. The art fest at Wicker Park Fest is underwritten by the Wicker Park Bucktown Taxpayer District No. 33.

Live Music Lineup

Subterranean booked bands to play on two of the fest’s three main stages. The fest’s center stage will be hosted and curated by Reggae Gold, Pachanga! Latin Dance Party and Emo Nite LA.

The “first wave” of bands are as follows; check back later in the week for the final lineup: 

Against Me! – Punk rock mavens led by transgender icon Laura Jane Grace
Porches – American synth-pop stars with a hot new album, The House
Red Fang – Stoner metal trailblazers from Portland
Turquoise Jeep – Flynt Flossy and his purveyors of perfect viral rap songs
Ezra Furman – Chicago-based singer-songwriter armed with a new album, Transangelic ExodusSnail Mail – The indie rock solo project of guitarist and singer-songwriter Lindsey Jordan

Remo Drive – “Emo” rock group founded by brothers Erik and Stephen Paulson
Rozwell Kid – Anthemic power pop stalwarts from West Virginia fronted by the affable Jordan Hudkins.

Dos Santos – Chicago-based quintet that rocks the sounds of popular Latin dance genres with psychedelic flare, from Colombian Cumbia to Afro-Caribbean Salsa.

Kids Fest at Wicker Park Fest

Wicker Park Fest is also home to a dedicated Kids Fest at Wolcott and Milwaukee (in the Walgreen’s parking lot), and there is no separate entrance fee for visitors. The Kids Fest runs from noon to 6 pm. on July 28 and 29.

Proceeds from the activities at Kids Fest will benefit Jonathan Burr Elementary (specifically to improve the technology and programming). Burr Elementary receives will receive 100-percent of ticket sales from activities in the Kids Fest area.

Dogs Welcome

Well-behaved dogs on leashes can attend the fest, though it gets very crowded at night, so keep that in mind.

How To Get There?

There’s dedicated bike parking at the North Avenue entrance. Public transportation is recommended due to the crowds.

To stay updated on the fest, “like” the Wicker Park Fest Facebook page, visit the fest’s website or call the chamber at 773-384-2672.

The day crowd at a past Wicker Park Fest. [Provided] 
Credit: Photo by Vladimir Zaytsev
Wicker Park Fest will offer live music on four stages from July 27-29. [Photo by Vladimir Zaytsev]
Credit: Provided
Dogs on leashes are welcome at Wicker Park Fest.