Milwaukee Ave.
From North Ave. to Wood St.
July 23rd & 24th

How often do you stop and think, “gee, I’d sure love to listen to some great music in an awesome neighborhood where I can also attend a totally rad petting zoo.” Once, twice, three times a day? Well let me match your dreams, and raise you, say, face painting and a sweet karate demonstration, all at Wicker Park Fest on July 23rd and 24th.

Yeah, you can thank me later.

Wicker Park Fest is a great weekend for everyone: hip, child-less twenty-somethings and families alike. Held in an ever-changing neighborhood that has come to be known for it’s sweet book shops and awesome bars, Wicker Park Fest is everything Wicker Park itself has come to represent, multiplied by a zillion. So go, it’s not like you have anything better to do. (No, but seriously, you don’t.)

For full details on the sweet happenings of the Fest, check out their Music and Activities page. Here’s a few of my suggestions:

For the Kids

Even if you don’t have kids (you lucky, lucky individual), some of the things in this section just might appeal to you. For example, who doesn’t like to bounce? There’s not one, but two Bouncie Houses at Wicker Park Fest this year. Admittedly, I’m not sure if adults will be allowed in (I’ll still try). One is clearly stated as being for children six-years-old and under, but(!) the other Bouncie House is labeled as being for “older kids.” I don’t know about you, but I’d be perfectly happy to argue that the age of twenty-five would totally fit into that description.

As mentioned before, there’s also a petting zoo. It’s only open from 1pm-5pm though, so make sure you get all your petting done in that time frame. Wicker Park Fest will also have Face Painting, an Arts & Crafts station, a Rock & Roll hair tent, and my favorite: cookie decorating. An activity with sweets, heck yes.


With three stages and a packed schedule of bands, the amount of music contained in just a neighborhood festival is daunting. For the full list of bands, check out the Music page. Here’s a couple you might want to check out:

Wild Flag

A super group made all that more super since they’re composed of four talented and tough ladies, Wild Flag should be at the top of your list of bands to see this summer. Composed of members from bands like Sleater-Kinney, the Minders and Helium, Wild Flag has years of rock experience under their belt, guaranteeing a great performance.



A main stay of the Chicago DJ scene, Flosstradamus has been entertaining decent crowds in the city for a few years now. For those who haven’t heard his toe-tapping DJ stylings, check him out. For those who have, well, I guess you don’t need me to tell you he’s great.

Murder by Death

Combining rock, pop punk, emo, alt-country and a myriad of other genres, Murder by Death has been entertaining people for over ten years now. Their songs often take on fun themes, the Exorcist, werewolves, and a plethora of other things, embodying the best aspects of genre books and television. They are, if anything, an experience.

What Else?

As always, don’t forget to bring the necessities: water, sun screen, a snack. The wild weather of Chicago is not a thing to underestimate. And if you can, consider riding your bike to the event. Parking is a pain, and biking is fun. There are many choices for public transportation too, being within walking distance of the Damen Blue Line ‘L’ train, and accessible from a handful of buses. So make sure to check out the CTA website to see just how convenient public transit can be.

However you get there, and whatever you bring, just make sure you enjoy yourself. Summer isn’t the time of the year to sulk inside, that’s for the Winter, so just be thankful we’re not currently caught in a blizzard and go enjoy Wicker Park Fest.

Mason Johnson, CBS Local Chicago