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Empty Bottle’s Winter Outdoor Block Party Returns This Weekend: ‘It’s Our Best Worst Idea We’ve Ever Had’

Music Frozen Dancing is back Saturday after skipping last year because of the pandemic.

Empty Bottle, 1035 N. Western Ave., in Ukrainian Village.
Hannah Alani/Block Club Chicago
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UKRAINIAN VILLAGE — The Empty’s Bottle’s annual mid-winter music festival, Music Frozen Dancing, returns Saturday outside the Ukrainian Village music venue.

The cold weather block party began in 2014 with outdoor live music at the corner of Cortez Street and Western Avenue. It’s a play off the Empty Bottle’s “music-friendly dancing.”

It was canceled in 2021 due to COVID-19.

“It’s our best worst idea we’ve ever had,” said Brent Heyl, a managing partner at Empty Bottle Presents. “Winter is this long slog of just being stuck indoors and going stir crazy, and you’re not really seeing the sun much.

“[The event is] one thing we can do to get everybody outside and just say, ‘Screw it, let’s just go outside. It’s going to be cold, but it’s going be the best time of the winter because you’ve been stuck inside the whole time.'”

Music Frozen Dancing is free, but donations at the gate will be given to The Chicago Coalition for the Homeless, as will proceeds from a raffle where contestants can win a pass for free shows at the Empty Bottle for an entire year, among other prizes.

The festival has typically featured some of Chicago’s louder bands and artists. Performers this year include Chicago’s own American/Colombian rock band Divino Niño,  local punk band Stuck and dance group Pixel Grip.

“We try to make sure anybody who’s playing out there is at least something that you can move to, whether it’s heavier rock or dancier stuff. Just something to keep the energy up, keep it moving, because it’s freezing,” Heyl said.

Music Frozen Dancing is co-sponsored by Goose Island Beer Co. Doors open at 1 p.m. Saturday. Temperatures are expected to reach 38 degrees.

Credit: Provided
Empty Bottle’s Music Frozen Dancing block party returns Saturday after being cancelled in 2021.

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