Live music is back with touring indie acts at Summer Solstice Yorkville
Posted on 06/08/2021 by James Cardis
Celebrate summer’s longest days with Chicagoland’s finest pairing of craft beverages and independent music at Summer Solstice Yorkville.
Summer Solstice Yorkville offers locals and visitors an excellent opportunity to enjoy the rising stars of independent music and craft brewing on the scenic Yorkville riverfront June 25-26, 2021.
The festival will kick off at 5pm the evening of Friday, June 25th and from noon to 11pm on Saturday, June 26th at Yorkville’s Riverfront Park. Admission to Summer Solstice Yorkville is free. Attendees are encouraged to bring their own lawn chairs or picnic blanket to enjoy the show. Beer trucks from Superior Beverage and Goose Island Brewing Company will serve up craft beer, and food trucks representing Josh’s Local Flavor Food, Rosati’s Pizza, and Grandma Rosie’s will be on site offering concessions.
The festival has partnered with Flight Bottle Shoppe & Tasting Room in Yorkville, who will be on hand for special tappings of locally brewed beer in conjunction with select sets. Full festival information can be found at solsticemusicfest.com.
"Since its inception, this event has become a true testament to how a small community can come together in concert with the blessing of its local government to host a one of a kind cultural experience,” said Boyd Ingemunson, owner of The Law Office Pub & Music Hall and founder of Summer Solstice Yorkville.
“This opportunity to showcase the next generation of independent music in our hometown has truly been a blessing. The harmonic ambiance between artist and patron strives to set a new standard for cultivating a true appreciation for the arts."
‘Finding great musicians the easy part’ of assembling the Summer Solstice lineup
This year’s festival lineup includes touring bands and independent artists from across the country, complemented by performances from a curated collection of Chicagoland musicians, some of whom are regular fixtures at the festival.
"I've had the luxury of meeting so many unbelievably talented musicians through booking and promoting at The Law Office Music Hall,” Ingemunson said. “That makes finding great musicians the easy part. It's the decision of whom you want to invite that is the tough part.”
“This year was extra tricky with the pandemic and finding artists willing to hit the road. Luckily, we were able to reach out to some close friends to put this great bill together in a very short period of time."
Vandoliers, photographed by Mike Brooks
Vandoliers, headliners on Friday’s bill at Summer Solstice, are representative of a new generation of Texas music, channeling all that makes the Lone Star State unique: tradition, modernity, audacity, grit, and size. Based in Dallas-Fort Worth, the six-piece band have made three previous appearances at Solstice host venue The Law Office Pub & Music Hall over as many years. This time around, they’ll take top billing on the festival’s Friday night, which in 2018 saw fellow Texans Mike & the Moonpies lead an eager crowd well into the night with an energetic series of encores.
Alex Williams, a modern Outlaw country artist described by NPR as “a long-haired, scruffily bearded singer and songwriter from small-town Indiana, who's plied his trade in Nashville” since dropping out of college, joins the list of headliners with a set of new tunes as well as cuts from his Better Than Myself LP, released in 2017 on Big Machine Records.
Hailing from Provo Utah, Saturday headliner Desert Noises has been touring extensively throughout the years playing major festivals and venues of all sizes. The band continues a journey that started over a decade ago, with an extended break that allowed for individual artist projects and tours with high profile groups such as Cage the Elephant, RayLand Baxter, and Liz Cooper & the Stampede.
Fronted by visual artist Aaron Martin and The Weeks’ guitarist Johny Fisher, Nashville based collaborative Okey Dokey channel everything they love about classic Motown combined with a dash of their self-described “psychedelic storytelling.” Their latest, 2020’s Once Upon A Time, features contributions from Poolside, My Morning Jacket, Grizzly Bear, and The Shins.
Airpark is a forward-thinking Nashville based duo comprised of brothers Ben Ford and Michael Ford, Jr., tha have made frequent appearances on tour in Yorkville at The Law Office Pub & Music Hall since their 2016 debut. Their music emphasizes soulful vocals, drums that groove, and the occasional nod to ‘70s pop. In early 2021, the duo released a single for their song “Quiet Type,” recorded with Natalie Carol of Valley Queen, showcasing the Ford brothers’ vocal harmonies and slick instrumentation on acoustic and slide guitar.
Bands will perform on two stages, providing a seamless run of live music for the entirety of the festival. The full schedule for Summer Solstice Yorkville is as follows:
Friday, June 25th
River Stage: Olivia Ports (5pm and 6:15pm), John Till (7:35pm and 9pm)
Pavilion Stage: John Condron (5pm), David Quinn (6:45pm), Alex Williams (8pm), Vandoliers (9:30pm)
Saturday, June 26th
Pavilion Stage: Screeching Halts (1:30pm), Yard Eagle (2:50pm), Tim Gleason (4:10pm), Jake Stringer (5:30pm), Craig Brown Band (6:50pm), Okey Dokey (8pm), Desert Noises (9:30pm)
River Stage: Nikki Morgan (5pm and 6:20pm), Airpark (7:40pm and 9pm)
Grammy winners find their way to Yorkville
Summer Solstice has played host to the rising stars of country music and indie rock over the years. In 2013, the festival’s debut, Grammy award winning singer/songwriter Sturgill Simpson graced the riverfront stage for a performance of songs that would end up on his second solo LP, Metamodern Sounds in Country Music. Other standouts over the years include SUSTO, an indie rock outfit out of Charleston, South Carolina; Nashville songwriter and performer LOLO; Nashville “countrypolitan” artist Andrew Combs; indie folk singer/songwriter Erin Rae; and Grammy nominated singer/songwriter Cory Chisel.
"Most people are blown away when they hear that Sturgill Simpson headlined his first festival right here in Yorkville,” Ingemunson said. “One of the most intoxicating aspects of the festival is catching these artists before the proverbial train has left the station on their commercial success. We hear such positive feedback from all the artists who truly appreciate the support and the opportunity to build their fan bases in the age of mega-corporatized music and unfair streaming services."
Attendance at Summer Solstice Yorkville has increased over the years, topping 6,000 music fans in 2019, many who travel from all throughout Chicagoland, downstate Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, and Wisconsin. Visitors can plan to enjoy dining at destination eateries like Mandrake for small plates and craft cocktails, Crusade Burger Bar with its popular punk rock-themed burgers and shakes, or follow the mouthwatering aroma of smoked meats to Southbank Original Barbecue, a riverside eatery with a spacious outdoor patio and wraparound views of the Fox River.
Lodging is available at Yorkville hotels Holiday Inn Express & Suites Yorkville or the Hampton Inn Yorkville, as well as in the neighboring communities of Oswego, Aurora, and North Aurora. For hotel and travel information, as well as discounts on dining and shopping, visit enjoyaurora.com.
The annual Summer Solstice Yorkville 4-mile and 2-mile run will occur on Friday night at 7pm — registration is required for the run, and a $35 race fee includes one (1) Summer Solstice beer token (21+, redeemable from participating vendors), a wristband for attendees 21 and older, and a t-shirt. Medals will be awarded for top age-group finishers. For more information visit runsignup.com/Race/IL/Yorkville/SummerSolstice4M2MRaces.