Winnetka is getting ready to host its first-ever music festival on June 23 and 24. Make It Better is thrilled to be the media sponsor of this groundbreaking event, which will be jam-packed with a lineup of rising stars in the music industry (and one very special main event ). In addition to hand-picked artists, the festival will also feature tons of food, live street performances, and much more. Here’s what you need to know.
First, check out the amazing lineup of top emerging bands, who have played important stages at SXSW , Firefly Music Fest  in Delaware, the Grand Ole Opry , and have shared stages with top artists such as John Legend, John Mayer, Carly Simon, Vince Gill and more.
The Friday night kickoff concert will feature The Accidentals, an indie trio from nearby Traverse City, Michigan. The Saturday lineup will include Alabaster, a psychedelic blues-rock jam; The War on Peace, an electronic indie-pop band; Heather Maloney, a folk-rock singer-songwriter; Great American Canyon Band, an indie-folk duo; Joe Hertler & the Rainbow Seekers, a funk, soul, R&B band; Brendan James, a piano-based singer-song- writer; Logan Brill, Nashville-based country artist; and Phoenix- based Jared & The Mill, a self-described “western indie rock band” that has shared stages with the likes of Zac Brown Band, Barry Gibb, Boy & Bear, War on Drugs, Wildfeathers, Cake, Flogging Molly, The Killers, Allen Stone and more.
There will also be a Family Stage on Saturday, featuring CREW, a kid-rock band from our very own Glencoe; Jess Godwin, a pop singer-songwriter from Chicago; and Manny Torres of “American Idol” and Ethan Butler of “The Voice.”
“These are established, touring artists … we’re bringing in vetted acts that tour all over the country. It’s not just local music,” says Val Haller, founder of boutique music website Valslist.com , and one of the creators of the Winnetka Music Festival. “We’re bringing this hand-picked lineup of bands to showcase a variety of genres and to showcase our beautiful town at the same time. It’s a true ‘destination festival.'”
The official concert headliner will be announced on May 13 on makeitbetter.net, so keep your eyes peeled! We can’t say any more here, but they’ve been featured on CONAN, The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, and Lollapalooza … so that’s exciting.
In addition to professional acts, the festival will also feature street buskers from local schools. These young performers auditioned for the honor of playing in and around the streets and businesses of Winnetka. “They’re going to be the spice sprinkled on top of the main stage acts,” Haller says. “It all ties in with how the village wants to be a host in every way — to the bands and the concertgoers in our town.”
If you’re headed to the fest for the music, you’ll definitely stay for the food. The festival will feature a number of food trucks, and local restaurants will be playing a big role in making sure concert- goers are fed and watered. There will be opportunities to sample new craft beers and plenty of wine as well.
If the idea of this music festival really speaks to you, you can even get a personalized Winnetka Music Festival street banner. These will sell for $500 each (a contribution to the festival), and will be hung on the lampposts on Green Bay Road from May 26 through June 24. Each banner can be personalized with a family name and a message — think Father’s Day or graduation present for a family member who loves music. “I think what differentiates this festival from many others is this is a curated list of artists,” Haller says. “This festival is an emerging artist showcase. These are some of the newest artists out there who are getting major traction in the industry. I’m excited to bring that to a big audience … introducing a dozen new artists to busy adults who might not have time to find out about those bands on their own.” Basically, if you want the hip lowdown on the hot new bands to listen to (and who doesn’t?), you’ll want to be at the Winnetka Music Festival.
Jessica Suss is a native Chicagoan currently residing in Washington, D.C. She is currently getting her master’s degree in secondary English education at the University of Maryland. She enjoys petting other people’s dogs and is faithful to Lou Malnati’s alone.