New location brings new vibe for sixth annual Dunn Dunn Fest

 
 
Updated 2/14/2018 11:53 AM
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  • The JC Brooks Band headlines Dunn Dunn Fest Friday, Feb. 16, at FitzGerald's.

    The JC Brooks Band headlines Dunn Dunn Fest Friday, Feb. 16, at FitzGerald's. Courtesy of Dunn Dunn Fest

  • Bluesman Toronzo Cannon headlines at Dunn Dunn Fest at FitzGerald's.

    Bluesman Toronzo Cannon headlines at Dunn Dunn Fest at FitzGerald's. Courtesy of Dunn Dunn Fest

  • Fox Crossing Stringband kicks off Friday night's festivities Feb. 16 at Dunn Dunn Fest in Berwyn.

    Fox Crossing Stringband kicks off Friday night's festivities Feb. 16 at Dunn Dunn Fest in Berwyn. Courtesy of Dunn Dunn Fest

  • Catch Hannah Wicklund & The Steppin Stones perform Saturday, Feb. 17, at Dunn Dunn Fest in Berwyn.

    Catch Hannah Wicklund & The Steppin Stones perform Saturday, Feb. 17, at Dunn Dunn Fest in Berwyn. Courtesy of Dunn Dunn Fest

  • Charley Crockett plays Dunn Dunn Fest at FitzGerald's.

    Charley Crockett plays Dunn Dunn Fest at FitzGerald's. Courtesy of Dunn Dunn Fest

Music promoter, bar owner and guitar-player Donnie Biggins is bringing Dunn Dunn Fest, his three-day celebration of roots rock, blues and Americana, back for its sixth year.

But this time there's a twist. Instead of spreading shows out across six city venues, this year the festival will be held entirely at FitzGerald's in Berwyn.

"A problem I noticed was that people weren't able to go to multiple shows in one day," said Biggins. "It would be like, 'I wish I could have gone to see that, but I couldn't get across town to the other venue in order to catch a set.'

"Last year, it was getting so big I was beginning to compete with myself a little bit, clubs against clubs. I wanted to bring it all back to one central location."

The festival -- Thursday through Saturday, Feb. 15-17 -- is a product of Biggins' desire to showcase hometown musicians as well as touring acts.

Josefina plays Dunn Dunn Fest at FitzGerald's.
Josefina plays Dunn Dunn Fest at FitzGerald's. - Courtesy of Dunn Dunn Fest

"I just want to expose the music I love," said Biggins, "and watch these people grow and build this event up bigger every year."

Some may know FitzGerald's as the home of the annual American Music Fest, held every July.

"I wanted to give it a destination festival vibe," Biggins said of Dunn Dun. "Kind of mirror that American Music Fest vibe, only in the winter."

The Dunn Dunn Festival features 28 acts spread across three stages. According to Biggins, it's roughly an even split between local and touring acts.

Cole DeGenova plays Dunn Dunn Fest at FitzGerald's.
Cole DeGenova plays Dunn Dunn Fest at FitzGerald's. - Courtesy of Dunn Dunn Fest

"It's a good mix," Biggins said. "There's some FitzGerald's regulars in there. The Hoyle Brothers, Heavy Sounds, MilkMoney, Ryan Joseph Anderson, Ian Leith. These are people that live in the area. I tried to keep that familiarity for our local folks so they know they'll see people they know but also be exposed to some of these bigger headliner names."

Headliners include Moonrise Nation on Thursday, the JC Brooks Band and Blackfoot Gypsies on Friday, and Toronzo Cannon and Alanna Royale Saturday.

"The Blackfoot Gypsies are like a modern Rolling Stones in a way," said Biggins. "Their energy ... they're like the ultimate party band. Really good roots rock 'n' roll."

Dunn Dunn Fest acts will be showcased on three stages: The main club, the Sidebar stage (an intimate space which will feature smaller bands and solo acts) and the yard, a 90-foot heated tent with a stage built onto a pontoon boat.

The festival has also secured a food truck for sustenance for the music fans.

The move to FitzGerald's is a homecoming of sorts for Biggins, who grew up in Oak Park and lives there now. But the biggest challenge he faces with the festival move is drawing new people to the Berwyn club.

Oak Park's Moonrise Nation closes out Thursday night's club lineup at Dunn Dunn Fest in Berwyn.
Oak Park's Moonrise Nation closes out Thursday night's club lineup at Dunn Dunn Fest in Berwyn. - Courtesy of Dunn Dunn Fest

"Last year, we had about 3,700 people come over the course of the three days to all the shows. That's a huge number," Biggins said. "I'm taking a step back moving out of the city. That's probably not going to happen this year. We wouldn't have space for that. Do I try to go into the realm of starting a new street festival in Chicago to add to the dozens that already exist, or try to stick with what I have ... and make something great?"

But the location out of the city is also a benefit. "It's right smack in the middle. ... I'm hoping to bring the next generation of city transplants that have moved to the suburbs and also to get people who think they have to go really far," said Biggins.

"Everybody knows about (FitzGerald's) in my parents' generation. It's an awesome club, and the sound is incredible. It's been around longer than I've been alive. It's tradition to be going there."

• • •

Dunn Dunn Fest

When: 8 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 15; 6:30 p.m. Friday, Feb. 16; and 6:30 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 17

Where: FitzGerald's, 6615 Roosevelt Road, Berwyn, (708) 788-2118 or dunndunnfest.com

Tickets: $15 for Thursday, $20 each for Friday and Saturday; $40 three-day passes are available.

MilkMoney plays the Sidebar stage Thursday, Feb. 15, at Dunn Dunn Fest at FitzGerald's.
MilkMoney plays the Sidebar stage Thursday, Feb. 15, at Dunn Dunn Fest at FitzGerald's. - Courtesy of Dunn Dunn Fest
Thursday

Club

7:30 p.m. -- Emily Blue

8:45 p.m. -- Michigander

10 p.m. -- Moonrise Nation

Sidebar

7 p.m. -- MilkMoney

8:30 p.m. -- Allegra Malone

10 p.m. -- The Hoyle Brothers

Friday

Tent

7:15 p.m. -- Wild Earp

8:45 p.m. -- Charley Crockett

10:30 p.m. -- JC Brooks Band

Club

6:30 p.m. -- Fox Crossing Stringband

8 p.m. -- Bailey Dee & Her Late Night Bait

9:30 p.m. -- Cole DeGenova

11:15 p.m. -- Blackfoot Gypsies

Sidebar

7 p.m. -- Scientific Map

8:30 p.m. -- Garrett Clemens

10 p.m. -- The Heavy Sounds

11:30 p.m. -- Bonzo Squad

Saturday

Tent

7:15 p.m. Ryan Joseph Anderson

8:45 p.m. -- Hannah Wicklund & The Steppin Stones

10:30 p.m. -- Toronzo Cannon

Club

6:30 p.m. -- Carson McHone

8 p.m. -- The High Divers

9:30 p.m. -- Matthew Ryan

11:15 p.m. -- Alanna Royale

Sidebar

7 p.m. -- Ian Leith

8:30 p.m. -- Josefina

10 p.m. -- The Family Gold

11:30 p.m. -- Chicago Funk Mafia

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