Festival Watch | Fitzgerald's American Music Festival

Festival Watch is a Tomorrow’s Verse feature that breaks festival news into the facts you need to know.

Fitzgerald’s 37th Annual American Music Festival – June 29-July 3

Headliners To Watch

Nick Lowe with Los Straitjackets – Esteemed English singer-songwriter returns to Fitzgerald’s on Tuesday, July 3 for a performance with Nashville instrumentalists Los Straitjackets. Combining Lowe’s powerful songwriting with the band’s talent, this is one you won’t want to miss.

Banditos – Blending garage rock and punk aesthetics with country, Americana and soul, Banditos have a massive sound fit for headliner status at a festival like this. Expect a raucous live show that focuses on rock ‘n roll energy.

Marcia Ball Band – Southern blues pianist and singer Marcia Ball will headline on Sunday night. A powerful and prolific artist in the blues scene since the early 70s, it’s a great chance to catch a living legend in action.

Joe Ely Band – A perfect fit for the festival, Joe Ely has remained a prolific force in the Americana scene, blending country, folk, honky-tonk, and rock ‘n roll into a sound that’s extremely representative of Texas. A true talent and influential player, Ely will perform on Saturday.

James McMurty – An active voice in the Americana scene since the late 80s, McMurty has performed with many of country’s biggest names and regularly released records throughout the years. With songwriting that remains personal yet political, McMurty has gained a serious following for a reason.


The Undercards

Sarah Shook & The Disarmers – North Carolina’s Sarah Shook & The Disarmers have been tearing up the Americana scene since 2013, adding an energy and urgency to country-based songwriting. They’ll be a great, hard-rocking addition to this fest.

Luke Winslow-King – New Orleans songwriter Luke Winslow-King has a breezy, infectious brand of bluesy folk that translates perfectly live.

Band Of Heathens – Texan rockers Band Of Heathen will bring their energetic, electric live show to the festival. Known for their skilled and powerful live performances, they should add a blast of rock to the lineup.

Bob Schneider – Former Ugly Americans band leader Bob Schneider will perform a set at the festival. With a lot of experience with rocking live shows under his belt, this is one you won’t want to overlook.


Local Talent

Robbie Fulks – Underground folk legend Robbie Fulks will perform with pianist Linda Gail Lewis (daughter of Jerry Lee Lewis) and Redd Volkaert, known best for being Merle Haggard’s guitarist.

Tributosaurus becomes… The Band – Chicago’s most beloved cover band Tributosaurus will fittingly take on the music of The Band in a set that should be nothing short of amazing.

Devil In A Woodpile – Country blues band Devil In A Woodpile perform constantly around Chicago, but will make a great addition to the festival with their energetic take on country, ragtime, blues and folk songs of the past.

Flirting With Time: A Tribute To Tom Petty – Chicago cover band Flirting With Time will take on the songs of Tom Petty during an undoubtedly fun and fitting set.


You Need To Know

Taking place at Fitzgerald’s Nightclub in Berwyn, this marks the 37th year of the American Music Festival, which remains one of the most underrated and overall best festivals in the area. Taking place Friday, June 29, Saturday, June 30, Sunday, July 1 and Tuesday, July 3, the fest manages to pack a lot of talent into each day, with live music happening from the early afternoon to late night. Individual day tickets are $40 a piece for the first two days and $50 for the second two. Four-day passes are available for $140.


The Bottom Line

Truly one of the greatest music festivals in the Chicago area at one of the oldest, most respectable venues, the American Music Festival is an institution at this point. With a stacked, massive lineup that ranges from household names to small, local talent, it’s an opportunity to discover new talent while seeing old favorites. The price is reasonable for the setting and long days full of music, so this certainly gets our highest recommendation.

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