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Monday, February 26

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Andrew / May 18, 2007 10:18 AM

Question suggested by Steven D.

Leah / May 18, 2007 10:26 AM

I'm a total curmudgeon and avoid almost all summer fests. I did them my first summer in Chicago and, guess what, I haven't grown to like being hot and sweaty in a crowd of strangers.

That said, Printer's Row is probably one I'll make a point to hit this summer.

mike-ts / May 18, 2007 10:28 AM

Wells Street/Old Town Art Fair, Blues Fest, St. Mike's Fest, and whatever fest I'm conveniently available for.

Sure, I pay the cover. The only reason it's a "donation" is due to some regulation, when it should be a fee. Sneaking past it doesn't cheat "the man", it cheats a lot of small groups who benefit from the fest, and who are the reason for the fest in the first place. Once they stop making coin, there goes the fest, and you wonder why fests dropped off.

Mikey / May 18, 2007 10:49 AM

After a long, cold winter spent bellying up to the bar at many a smoke-filled joint, I welcome the onset of the fest season with open arms...

I usually only frequent the fests in the area of the city near my home, with the Lincoln Square Mayfest, Rock Around the Block, Summer on Southport and Retro on Roscoe being amongst my favorites...

And I do pay the "donation," hoping it might be used to fund a park or some other public improvement to the neighborhood...

Stephen / May 18, 2007 10:52 AM

I like the summer fests and will try to hit the Old Town / Wells Art Fair. If that one in West Town on Chicago Avenue between Wood and Damen happens again, I'll definitely go.

mike-ts hits the nail on the head: This stuff ain't free, and lots of good groups put a lot of time and energy into making these fests a reality! Make the "donation," folks.

skafiend / May 18, 2007 11:32 AM

Custer Street, maybe Andersonville. That's about it. You see one giant turkey leg....
But I miss the Granville Fest. They only held it one year but I saw Patty Elvis (a riot) and Crash Test Dummies. WTF happened to it?

vit / May 18, 2007 11:37 AM

I like the old town art fair. However, last summer I had a blast watching the Waco Brothers, eating pirogies and dancing in the street at West-Fest. I'm looking forward to that again this year.

Jill / May 18, 2007 11:51 AM

I usually go to Printers Row, but this year I'll be out of town that weekend (only my wallet is happy about that)

Unless there's a band I like, I skip the rest of them. They all seem quite similar after a while--same crap beer, same bands, same food/merchants (that aren't local businesses).

John / May 18, 2007 11:52 AM

When I read these comments I laugh at how people seem to be no naive about throwing money at fest under the assumption that the money is being used for charity. DO YOURSELVES A FAVOR. INSTEAD OF HOPING THE MONEY IS GOING SOMEWHERE GOOD EDUCATE YOURSELVES!!!

These street fests are not "good" that may seem to be. In recent years these street fests have become less of charity and more money making ventures due to the lobbying of event promoters and beer distributors with the local Chamber of commerce. Many of them seem "cookie cutter" and the reason there are now so many

There is may reasons why I would be relucate to pay the "donation"

1. On many occasions you are intimidated and harrassed if you don't pay even though it's not required due the fact it's on public property. They never clearly mark the donation aspect of it. Many times they force you to pay to enter which is illegal.

2. The beer distributors earn huge profits from these events. While they do pay to participate the profits vastly outweight the amounts.

3. Most of these street fests are not about any charity they are about "raising money for the local area business or chamber". Of Course it your a beer distributor or event promoter you pay enough of a fee(bribe?) you can host a huge money making event also!!! It's not about Charity it's about vast profits folks. It's like paying the service charges to Ticketmaster....

If you really think your $5-$10 "donation" is going to Charity you'd be vastly surprised.

JohnnyQ / May 18, 2007 12:10 PM

Naperville Rib Fest: Blue Oyster Cult will be wailing on their cowbell.

spence / May 18, 2007 12:25 PM

Mayfest in Lincoln Square is always a good time. Nothing better than grabbing a liter and listening to some polka. The only other one I plan on traversing to is Printer's Row.

Julia / May 18, 2007 12:31 PM

I always hit up Lincoln Square's Mayfest (beginning of the summer), usually the first weekend of June, and Germanfest at the end of September. Neither requires a donation, and both festivals just cut right to the heart of what a street fest should be--drinking beer and eating bratwurst and saurkraut outside on a public street. No street vendors, not a ton of carnival food, just good beer in huge plastic steins, grilled German meat, and a huge tent filled with polka music and drunk, dancing Chicagoans. Huzzah!

Emerson Dameron / May 18, 2007 12:55 PM

Paseo Boricua parties almost every weekend.

Allan / May 18, 2007 1:19 PM

I go cuckoo for cocoa puffs
Drop rhymes for b0ku bucks
hold a mic in one hand
in the other my nuts
like girls with big butts
find myself stuck in ruts
When I think of my life
I gets sick in the guts
I'm not fat anymore
got no job so I'm poor
I keep eat'n ramen
cause their cheap at the store
I'm not a kid anymore
but I'm a kid at the core
got a dong so long
makes my right arm strong
I like bust'n on spook
I think fluffy's cute
I keep post'n on GB
'cause they think I''m a hoot

What was the question again?

Pedro / May 18, 2007 1:33 PM

I always pay the fee because it is my way of being progressive and supporting the independent street fair instead of the corporate street fair set. Community building is all about giving five bucks to the people who organized an event of vendors with knock-offs, macrobeer stands, and crappy musicians.

Viva la revolution!

spook / May 18, 2007 1:49 PM

Bucktown Art fest, they've so much cool stuff!
And yes I admit it Ö. Halsted Market Days! They have cool stuff to buy,
good looking women, beer and strong drinks, stores and bars that abut(excuse the pun!) the fest
and of course the gay dudes make it sooooo festive while seeming to scare away the backwards wearing baseball hat frat types.

I generally go to the Wicker Park and Ukrainian Village festivals, but each year they get worse with more corporate booths giving away "freebiesĒ from Sprint, Comcast, etc., instead of cool art vendors. For these I never pay the ďdonationĒ.

And of course I got major beef with the southside African Fest in Washington Park! Its hard because I love the event so much! Its sooo much cool stuff to buy and you get to negotiate like a real African Market. But like last year, this year Iím boycotting. Yea I can afford the 20 bucks to get in, but how you gonna, in a sea of poor folks, charge a mandatory twenty dollar entrance fee! That just aint right! I think about all the neighborhood kids who canít afford to get into African Fest, in their own park! I mean donít you think they would greatly benefit from being able to experience a slice of African culture in THIER own hood? Of course perhaps itís in keeping with the culture of excluding them from whatís rightfully theirs! Yea I know, who cares.

Dutch101 / May 18, 2007 2:00 PM

Most of the festivals are so profoundly mediocre that I don't bother, though I usually end up at one or two somehow. I have had fun at rib-fest over on Lincoln.

And no, I don't pay the donation, or I take it seriously and just chip in a couple of bucks. While John is a little vitriolic about the whole thing, he is right. No one there is really out there out of the goodness of their little hearts. They are pretty corporate through and through, the vendors make money, the beer guys DEFINITELY make money (at least some of which should pass through, if anyone has half a brain), and the promoters, whoever they might be, probably get a piece of it.

That having been said, staging and production cost money, bands cost money, and infrastructure costs money (I know, I have produced festivals before) so if you get anything out of it in terms of enjoyment, why not chip in a couple of bucks. If the goons at the gate in any way attempt to MAKE me pay though, fuck 'em.

skafiend / May 18, 2007 2:06 PM

Yeah, that African Fest fee crap is pretty fucked up. I work for a gov't agency and we had a booth there last year. I got in because of my pass, but there were a bunch of other people (kids) standing outside trying to hear the music. That sucked.

but it'll be over by 2016 anyway, when pole vaulting and the 400m hurdles take the place of Lem's BBQ

Anyway, I forgot about the Puerto Rican festival in Humboldt Park... If you haven't been, go. 'Specially if you like hot women... DAMN!

Allan / May 18, 2007 2:45 PM

I'm with skafiend I love oogling Puerto Rican girls, making love to them with our bulging eyes. I love where they pack all that rice and pigeon peas, boobies jiggling, asses wiggling, me and skafiend with mouthfuls of pork jabritos and noticeable protrusions in our trousers, dancing like fools and trying not to get stabbed. Bring on the fests!

spook / May 18, 2007 3:00 PM

Well Ska...that's kinda interesting too.
Word on the street is that Puerto Rican Festival is in its last throes. I hear the city is forcing festival organizers to cover the -time and a half- overtime for the army (and I do mean army) of police officers that provide security. I also heard that festival organizers have to pay for the porta potties (sp?), and the insurance as well this time around. A lot of people speculate that this has too do with the gentrification of the neighborhood.

spook / May 18, 2007 3:03 PM



who would have thunk it!
That Allen and you were homies!

fluffy / May 18, 2007 3:27 PM

I go where the beer is cold, the music's good, and there's no attitude. I like to sit and watch people, dogs, bands, drunks, clowns, midgets, unicorns, lasers, whatever. I drink.

mike / May 18, 2007 3:36 PM

I like the Folk & Roots Festival, Andersonville Midsommerfest, Printers Row Book Fair. I hope to expand on my list this summer.

I always make the donation, because it just seems like the right thing to do if you can afforrd it. However, I was never under the impression that I was giving to charity (as a matter of fact, reading through the comments, I don't see any of the people who John claims "[assume] that the money is being used for charity").

Allan / May 18, 2007 3:42 PM

Spook, your more than welcome to come along I am sure there will be plenty PRTA to go around. We can even have a pastellas shirt stuffing contest. I will bring my stun gun and mace. I recommend you do the same. Maybe I will wear my Puerto Rican flag baby tee, a fresh cut pair of crotch hugging daisy dukes and my Corona flip-flops. The ladies will be swooning. Boys night out.

Tobermory / May 18, 2007 4:13 PM

I'll go to Maifest (in June?) in Lincoln Square because I can walk there and stumble home, then there are a couple of bands I want to see at Taste of Randolph Street (or whatever it's called. I usually try to get over to the 57th St. Art Fair and the Bucktown Art Fair sounds cool too. I usually get stuck seeing some lame band at Taste of Palatine because that's where the hubby is from and he likes to go back every year.

Allan / May 18, 2007 4:18 PM

Taste of Palatine? I imagine it would be some strange combination of swamp bog juice, dirty Ball Park Franks and beer.

carrie / May 18, 2007 4:51 PM

Isn't there some cornfest in Des Plaines or somewhere? I love corn and want to go.

Every year I have big plans to make it to lots of street fests, but I usually only end up at one or 2. I like to play the games and win dumb prizes.

spook / May 18, 2007 5:05 PM

Not the response I was expecting Ska!

But as Iíve been dragged into the cess-sand box where Allen plays, I think the site of the two of you dancing, -Iím sure Allen will dress equally apropos- will have the tattooed tear eyed hardest of the hardest members of the Latin Kingís, Insane Unknowns, Latin Jivers and Counts, Insane Mexican Mafia, Maniac Latin Disciples, etc boarding boats, plans, straight swimming and running back to P.R and Mexico in seconds!

But word to the wise, you two donít want folks who donít know you, to think that youĎre depopulating Humboldt Park of the ďnativesĒ on behalf of the rich white developers.

So make sure you two get your patriotic groove on at the Air and Water Head show on the Lake. I know it may not qualify as a ďFestĒ which means perhaps the only thing to get drunk on might be the jet and boat fumes,( not sure if they serve beer) so donít forget to bring a flask big enough for two.

Now please excuse me while I go crawl into shot glass after being
out slimed, by the two of you, but honestly like the lion said to the goat any excuse with do!


Attention to all members of every Gang Nation that I left out in the above list! Attention. Please Please, Please donít get mad if I didnít mention your set, crew or gang in the above. I meant no Disrespect! honestly! And I aint got no crew, back up, or no gun. So if you see me out drinking, please donít go running up on me. Itís just a joke, you know, ha ha he he. all I'm saying is give peace a chance, can't we all get along??????

fluffy / May 18, 2007 5:28 PM


you're a jive turkey


kate / May 18, 2007 8:59 PM

I'm not sure if it's the fact that I am currently highly intoxicated, BUT I have never read a Fuel thread that made me lol so much. srsly. omgwtfbbq.

Yes I go to many fests - Randolph Street generally has music I like (years past - Black Keys & Ted Leo) fairly consistently. Aside from that, I have no favorites... hit them up if I'm free that weekend or whatevs.

No I don't pay. I am extremely fucking against paying money to walk on the sidewalks in the city in which I reside.

A bike like this is every boy's dream.

mike-ts / May 19, 2007 3:41 PM

John makes a very good point that not all is 100% charity. Some of these things are corporate ripoffs, I'm sure.

St. Mike's Fest's funds go to the building fund, and being a good Catholic boy I'm in for supporting a parish's keeping their church all pretty. The Wells Street donation goes to their Merchant/Resident assn. The Old Town Art Fair donation goes to youth groups.

Now I might be in for an education when it comes to what % goes to the named groups, and what % goes to vendors, bribes, etc.

Maybe it's because I've been with people who b**ched or snuck their way across the line to have a laugh about how they "got over" and weren't suckers like the payers, who are the same ones who never tip at a restaurant or bar they think they'll ever go to again, since they won't get in trouble for it. When I was a teen it was fun, now it's just a**holian.

I'm usually too busy eating my elephant ear while ogling pretty women in summer outfits to notice the corporate booths, so they don't bother me.

btw, I almost forgot: Pierogi Fest!

jasmine / May 19, 2007 11:30 PM

i'm going to pitchfork and lollapalooza for sure. wicker park and taste of randolph festivals have been good in recent years. ribfest is nice because well, i love ribs. i've also heard rumors of a pizzafest starting this year, so i'm sure i'll hit that as well. lincoln square's mayfest is always fun. i will probably go to the taste of chicago, too, because i'm a glutton for punishment.

as for donations, i give whatever's in my pocket, which usually isn't much. or, i sneak in. i have this attitude of, "i pay taxes around here, so i don't have to contribute to the neighborhood festivals." it's probably the wrong attitude to have, but when i'm someday swimming in money/find a sugardaddy/momma, i'll rethink it.

Jill / May 20, 2007 12:43 AM

Oh, yeah! Pierogi Fest! I'm from the Region and have been meaning to go to that for years. Thanks for the reminder, Mike. It's going on my calendar right now!

Time to study up for Eastern Bloc Jeopardy....

madachode / May 20, 2007 10:50 AM

There is a free fesitval outside of the bijou theater almost daily called sodomy laws are coming back to chicago.

paul / May 20, 2007 11:13 AM

Funnel cakes!

There's many I always want to get to, but misss. I seem to miss the Lincoln Square fest every year. I go to the Evanston Fests, 'cause I can walk to them and I think Custer St. is the only one with a donation. I can't remember ever paying, but they don't rope off the streets as tightly as they do for Chicago.

Vendors are paying up the ass for a few square feet to sell their knock-off sunglasses or cell phone service, I shouldn't have to pay to walk past them. If there's a band I want to see at Andersonville or Halsted, I don't mind paying to get in, but I'd rather see them pass a hat in front of the stage.

Bill V / May 20, 2007 2:06 PM

The Belmont Arts and Music Festival is looking good in June. Andersonville's fest and Ribfest usually have pretty decent music.

Yes I pay the fee, it does go to help out each neighborhood or a local school, so that's all good.

benjamin / May 20, 2007 2:14 PM

For the $5 fee, the Wicker Park Fest SUBT North Stage is probably the best deal as far as music is concerned. I've gathered that The Thermals, Centromatic, Maritime, Man Man, High on Fire, Russian Circles, Sybris, Pit er Pat, The Race, and the Mannequin Men. As usual, the South Stage will have music as well.
As far as a community fest/food/etc., there's not much of it, but I like to rock... so... see ya there.

benjamin / May 20, 2007 2:15 PM

For the $5 fee, the Wicker Park Fest SUBT North Stage is probably the best deal as far as music is concerned. I've gathered that The Thermals, Centromatic, Maritime, Man Man, High on Fire, Russian Circles, Sybris, Pit er Pat, The Race, and the Mannequin Men. As usual, the South Stage will have music as well.
As far as a community fest/food/etc., there's not much of it, but I like to rock... so... see ya there.

p / May 20, 2007 2:53 PM

mayfest is funtimes. greekfest has great grilled octopuses and lots of other great food. both are great opportunites to drink heavily whilst wearing your sunshades. best phenomenon of summer drinking and "people watching" is when the sun goes down and you take off the shades but you forget people can now see where your eyes are resting and you can see people straightup Starin' at Others. surely allan feels me on this.

btw- i remember a post allan made after having met a young lady at may fest last summer but, ultimately, was left feeling even more depressed by their romantic rondeyvu. i can't recall the exact cause of the awkwardness tho- take me back to that place real quick holmes. she told you to hurry up or answered the phone or something, right?

i donated at the schadenfreude thing on friday and i didn't know i was funding a fix. andrew and them were straight Snappin' OFF on those fools from the Reader. With Props! the fix was in tho and the boos appropriately rained down. 53rd ward alderman Ed Buss is the Truth too.

is there an albanian fest? there could be contests of con-artistry, forgery craftsmanship, and a counterfeit watch toss. and a guarantee that 100% of the profits would go towards something sleazy.

oh fests / May 20, 2007 6:35 PM

I have been involved in producing a few fests, and they are extremely expensive to do because you have to build stages, bring in electricity, security, cleaning staff, etc. You're building it from the ground up, and its not cheap. This means that often not a lot of money ends up going to the charity - less than 50% of your donation. However, that's still more money than the charity would have had before the fest, right? So as long as I'm actually interested in the fest, and I'm cool with whatever the cause is, I donate. The exception is when I'm in my own neighborhood - I don't pay multiple times to walk down the street where I live, but I do donate once.

Olive / May 21, 2007 1:08 AM

I would like to check out Printers Row, anything at Lincoln Square, since I live so close, and I really enjoyed the Mayfest?? (a German fest type of thing, I think everyone is alluding to) last year. I would like to check out a fest in Hyde Park because I never go down there anymore and the arts fest seems like it would be worth the trip.

I always paid - a lot of times they don't say it's a donation. It really looks like a fee. Also, I don't do well with a "donation" because I end up paying what they request anyways. If I paid anything less, I would feel too self-conscious in front of the hefty security guys - like I am too cheap or something. My insecurities are totally dumb, but still.

revets / August 11, 2007 10:05 AM

If merchants weren't making money at the street festivals then they wouldn't have them and support them.As a merchant if you did not make any money at the street festival then you have the option of not participating. Its a city ordinance that they CAN NOT charge a mandatory entrance fee if held on a city owned street but ask for a donation instead. Which if you want to donate then donate, if not then so be it. It has nothing to do with being cheap. We pay for parking (meters) we pay to park (privately owned lots) we pay taxes (sales,property,income,convience). I really think the chamber of commerce or who ever is in charge should really go after the merchants other then the common folk and get a pre determined percentage of the gross sales from the merchant. I know for a fact i am not cheap, but these overly excessive so called fees are ridiculous.

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