If you’re as allergic to crowds as I am, Chicago’s many neighborhood music festivals can be a mixed bag. But one event I unequivocally associate with a certain kind of chill is the Square Roots festival in Lincoln Square. And that low-stress atmosphere seems likely to be by design. Launched in 1998, the weekend-long festival, which benefits the Lincoln Square Ravenswood Chamber of Commerce and the Old Town School of Folk Music, features a mix of local restaurants and business vendors, more than half a dozen (and counting) local breweries, and four stages of live music whose bookings are organized—albeit loosely—around roots and traditional music from around the world. As of this writing, the full schedule wasn’t yet available, but whatever additional acts are announced before the festival weekend will be a bonus given the already strong bill. The fun starts Friday evening with a bill headlined by DIY legend Bob Mould that also features Seattle pop-rockers Deep Sea Diver and high-energy local multicultural funk collective Ésso. Saturday’s lineup kicks off with unhurried electronic-inflected hip-hop and pop from Chicago act Ness Heads (Vanessa Ortiz) and sun-kissed psychedelic folk from Milwaukee-based Sleepy Gaucho (Andy Goitia), then weaves between styles all day en route to a rousing evening with California dance-rock cult favorites !!!, local indie-pop mainstays Dehd, and prolific Ohio indie-rock greats Guided by Voices. All three groups released a new album this spring, with the exception of GBV—they’ve released two, so far. Later that same night, the Old Town School hosts an indoor set from the Indika Reggae Band. Sunday’s bill is equally diverse, with a notable preponderance of country and Americana thanks to East Nashville singer-songwriter Lily Hiatt, Texas country-folk singer Hayes Carll, and Chicago honky-tonk crew the Lawrence Peters Outfit—plus other local acts such as moody indie rockers Bnny and soulful stalwarts the O’Mys. Come for a couple hours or for the whole weekend, and you’re bound to leave a little more refreshed than when you walked in.
Square Roots Day One: On the North Stage, Bob Mould headlines; Deep Sea Diver and Ten Cent Men open. On the South Stage, Ésso headlines; the Reminders and RCA Ensemble open. Fri 7/8, 5-10 PM, Lincoln between Montrose and Wilson, suggested donation $10 for adults, $5 for kids and seniors, $20 for families, all ages
Square Roots Day Two: On the North Stage, Guided by Voices headline; Dehd, Cactus Blossoms, Gerald McClendon, Los Gallos, and Jarochicanos open. On the South Stage, !!! (Chk Chk Chk) headline; Aeon Station, Tobacco City, Win Noll & the Rockin’ Souls, and Eclectic Electric Ensemble open.
At Maurer Hall (4544 N. Lincoln), Family of Geniuses headline; Ness Heads, Chromabeats, Dwaal Troupe, and Teen Open Mic open. Sat 7/9, noon-10 PM, Lincoln between Montrose and Wilson, suggested donation $10 for adults, $5 for kids and seniors, $20 for families, all ages
Square Roots Day Three: On the North Stage, Hayes Carll headlines; Lilly Hiatt, Wild Pink, Quique Escamilla, Rosalba Valdez, and Azania Drum Core from Music Moves Chicago open. On the South Stage, the O’My’s headline; the Altons, Bnny, Minor Moon, and the Dirty Nines open.
At Maurer Hall (4544 N. Lincoln), Uncovered: John Prine headlines; Lawrence Peters Outfit, Ephraim Bugumba, Hannah Mayree, and Old Town School Students open. Sun 7/10, noon-9 PM, Lincoln between Montrose and Wilson, suggested donation $10 for adults, $5 for kids and seniors, $20 for families, all ages