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Thirsty Ears Festival Brings Classical Music, Craft Beer To Ravenswood This Weekend

A $10 suggested donation for entry to the festival benefits Access Contemporary Music’s School of Music. 

Thirsty Ears Festival
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RAVENSWOOD — The Thirsty Ears Festival will bring live classical music and craft beer from Empirical Brewing to Ravenswood this weekend. 

The event kicks off 2 p.m. Saturday on Wilson Avenue, between Hermitage and Ravenswood avenues. A $10 suggested donation benefits Access Contemporary Music’s School of Music

The annual street festival organized by Access Contemporary Music is now in its 6th year and showcases baroque to contemporary pieces in a relaxed setting for people who may be new to classical music. 

“One of the new things we’ll have this year is a group called The Growlers, which is a bunch of Chicago Symphony musicians who play bass, which will be really fun for people,” said Seth Boustead, Access’ executive director. “I don’t anyone has ever seen six double basses perform together before, especially at that level. They’re such great players.”

Other highlights include a screening of ACM’s Sound of Silent Film Festival, premieres by five Chicago composers and a mash-up of music from Gustav Mahler and Antonio Vivaldi performed by art-rock band Origin of Animal.

“That’s really new for us this year as well because we’ve previously stuck strictly to classical,” Boustead said. “Having these jazz, big band/alternative rock remixes of classical music is going to be fun and sound really cool.”

In addition to beer from Empirical Brewing, the festival will also feature vendor booths from community and arts partners, food from Urban Tables and kid-friendly activities and performances in Kidzone at the west end of the street both days. 

Below is the festival’s schedule (rain or shine).


Main Stage:

2 p.m. – Frederic Rzewski Tribute

3 p.m. – Chicago Chamber Music Festival

4 p.m. – Lakeshore Rush

5 p.m. – Wurtz-Berger Duo

6 p.m. – Chicago Ensemble

7 p.m. – Jonathan Hannau/Kyle Flens

8 p.m. – Palomar

9 p.m. – Mini Sound of Silent Film Festival


2 p.m. – Magic with Rob

3 p.m. – Instrument Petting Zoo with Traci Newhouse

4 p.m. – Jennifer Viets

5 p.m. – Dawn-Marie’s Toddler Jam

6 p.m. – Magic with Rob


Main Stage

2 p.m. – Marianne Parker

3 p.m. – 5th Wave Collective

4 p.m. – Quixote Duo

5 p.m. – Lapis Trio

6 p.m. – Michael Hall

7 p.m. – The Growlers

8 p.m. – Origin of Animal Classical Remix


2 p.m. – Magic with Rob

3 p.m. – 5:00 Lucky Trikes

5 p.m. – Dinder Brothers Family Circus

6 p.m. – Magic with Rob

For more information about the event click here.

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