FitzGerald's Foot Stomping, Feel Good 31st Annual American Music Festival: July 1-3

Joel Guzman's accordion at the 2008 festival. [Photo: Sarah Zupko]

Every year FitzGerald's puts on one of the finest festivals of American roots music in the country and the latest kicks off this Friday just outside Chicago.

Every year FitzGerald's puts on one of the finest festivals of American roots music in the country. The Americana Music Festival and Telluride Bluegrass Festival may be better known, but FitzGerald's foot stomping, feel good festival is every bit their equal... and the food is always better too, featuring delicious Cajun and Southern fare. BeauSoleil's Michael Doucet has bragged from the FitzGerald's stage on many occasions about how great the food is and how it reminds him of his Louisiana home. This year, chef Tom Cimms will be catering the event with a mouthwatering array of dishes inspired by the food on offer at New Orleans' famed JazzFest, including his signature platter, the Cochon du Lait Po’boy.

But anyway, back to the music. The American Music Festival features a carefully curated line-up of diverse Americana, including country, bluegrass, blues, Cajun, zydeco, old-time jazz, R&B and more. This year's highlights include multiple appearances from the spectacular Preservation Hall Jazz Band, whose new collaborative album with the Del McCoury Band is one of 2011's very best, as well as a headlining set from Tributosaurus paying tribute to the Neville Brothers and the Meters. Dave Alvin, Junior Brown and Bottle Rockets will rock the house with glorious twangy beats, while Marcia Ball, Michelle Malone, and Tracy Nelson bring some strong women's bluesy sets to the festival stages.

Music will be presented inside the club, as well as at a second stage outside under the big tent, which will be shaking Saturday night when NOLA comes to Berwyn as the Meters and Nevilles hit the stage. There's plenty of relaxing spots to sit and take a breather between sets, grab a drink and chow down on that wonderful food. This girl is super happy Shrimp Creole is on the menu this year, alongside Andouille Po'boys, Jambalaya, and more.

FitzGerald's is located at 6615 Roosevelt Road in Berwyn, Illinois, just outside the Chicago city limits... a fast and easy drive in from the city. Check back here next week for photos and commentary from this year's event. The full list of performers appears below or you can take a gander at the performance schedule grid here.


Friday, July 1:

Preservation Hall Jazz Band, Marcia Ball, Tracy Nelson, Cathy Richardson & the Macrodots, Jeff & Vida, Michelle Malone, Roddy Romero & The Hub City All-Stars, Go Long Mule, Harrison St. Ukulele Players

Saturday, July 2:

Preservation Hall Jazz Band, Reckless Kelly, Bottle Rockets, Tributosaurus becomes The Neville Bros./Meters, Dave Gonzalez & the Stone River Boys, Dave Kay Band, Whitey Morgan & the 78’s, Special Consensus, Uncle Lucius, Les Bassettes, Chicago Salty Dogs, Roddy Romero & The Hub City All Stars, Bunkertown, The Tillers

Sunday, July 3:

Dave Alvin & the Guilty Ones, Junior Brown, Joe Pug, Jon Dee Graham, Hobart Bros., Spampinato Bros., Chicago Grandstand Big Band, The Iguanas, Ronnie Baker Brooks, Paul Cebar Tomorrow Sound, Expo '76, Susan Cowsill & Russ Broussard, Sarah & the Tallboys

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