FitzGerald’s American Music Festival


Another reason why you wish that you lived in Chicago.

FitzGerald’s has been bringing music to Chicago for 30 rears. For the last 27 it has hosted its American Music Festival, 4 nights of wall to wall music during the 4th of July weekend. If you love music, this is the place to be.

There are two stages, one outdoors under a tent and one in the main music room. You can also listen to acts doing acoustic sets in one of the other bars. Music begins about 1pm and ends around midnight. The acts on the two principle stages overlap so that you can be reveling in music for the full 11 hours. And what music it is.

We went Sunday- a beautiful summer day- and though we could only stay until 8 (it was a work night) we heard seven acts. The musical forms included rock, country rock, big band, rockabilly, blues, gospel and a group that included a fiddler/singer guitar player with a stand up bass that was hard to categorize. Although all of the music was great, I will share my thoughts and pictures of two of the bands.

We had heard Anna Fermin’s Trigger Gospel a few years ago. We were smart enough to buy her CD Things to Come which is rated as a 48Facets “Got to Own”. Trigger Gospel’s  music is original, spirited and Anna has a unique voice that should not be missed. One of the only things better than the CD is the live performances. I tried to capture this with my digital camera but the sound quality sucks. The link to Things to Come brings you to one of the album tracks and though it is not one of the better ones, it is worth a listen.

Bill Kirchen is known as the King of Dieselbilly for his penchant for songs about trucks and cars. I could hear Bill sing and wail on his guitar before I could see him on stage. The man epitomized the high energy fast hands rocker. I was a bit surprised to see a white haired man in his sixties. Nothing seems to be slowing him down. His best known song is Hot Rod Lincoln performed when he was in a group by the name of Commander Cody.

When a group was done they would often just mix in with the crowd and enjoy the other musicians. Sometimes one would be called onto the stage by another. The crowds were just having fun. Toe tapping, clapping and even dancing would often break out. Everyone there seemed to just be having fun. 

My only regret was that I could only attend one of the four nights of the American Music Festival. Music, biking, writing and hanging out makes up my perfect life. Sunday was a little slice of near perfect.


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One Response to FitzGerald’s American Music Festival

  1. Frank says:

    That sounds REALLY fun. Hot Rod Lincoln. I loved that song….cool event!

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