At this time last year, Homegrown Arts & Music Festival founder Aaron Williams wasn’t sure he was going to carry the annual local music festival beyond its 10th year. Why not end on a solid round number, right?
But this weekend, the family-friendly fest rolls into BaseCamp Pub in Lisle for its 11th edition celebrating music and art from the Chicago area.
“Why did I do the second one? Why am I doing number 11? The aftermath,” Williams said with a laugh. His first incarnation of the fest, a daylong party in Prospect Heights in 2013, was only planned as a one-off event. “But people kept asking when’s the next one? What’s coming next? So I knew the interest is still there.”
This year, Homegrown brings together musicians from around the Chicago suburbs to play across two stages — the indoor Homegrown Main Stage and the outdoor Harvest Stage for acoustic acts. The patio stage, sponsored by The Bunker Live studio in St. Charles, will be hosted by fellow musicians — Brian Christian Adam, Zachary Edwards and Bryan Joseph Kuhn — who will also perform later in the day.
Another new addition for 2023 is the Out of State Stage, featuring three regional artists from outside the Chicago area, all part of Williams’ plan to expand his Local Nation brand to help ferry local musicians to new markets across the country.
“I’m thrilled Homegrown has been so successful and the reach has grown beyond the Western suburbs,” he said. “I’m always moving pieces around and building new connections.”
Historically drawing up to 1,500 music fans throughout the day, BaseCamp Pub’s layout gives opportunities for fans to get up and dance to rock and jam bands at the Main Stage, chill with acoustic artists on couches on the patio or spread out at tables or on the grass out back. The fest also features 12 regional artists and craft vendors, so guests can leave with jewelry, art and other mementos of their day.
And BaseCamp’s full-service bar and menu offers a variety of food and drink options for purchase, whether festgoers are looking for lunch, a hearty dinner or a late-night snack.
The Homegrown Arts & Music Festival’s strength is in bringing together artists and fans in an organic way, as guests can wander from stage to stage sampling all sorts of the great talent from DuPage County and beyond. New friendships and fans have formed at the fest. Collaborations have been born. And future show lineups have grown between bands discovering each other for the first time.
For the Glen Ellyn native now living in Lisle, Homegrown — as well as the Road to Homegrown concerts and open mics he’s been throwing throughout the spring and early summer — is all about making connections and shining a light on the talent coming up in our backyards. It’s about creating opportunities where there were none when he was starting as a young musician.
“It’s about helping people,” he said. “It’s about meeting people I want to help and saying, ‘You’re awesome! Come join the Homegrown family.'”
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Homegrown Main Stage
1 p.m. – Modern Daybreak
2 p.m. – Kelsey Montanez Band
3 p.m. – Eve Casino
4:30 p.m. – Polly on the Wall
5:30 p.m. – Downers Groove
6:30 p.m. – Shukin and the Ramblers
7:30 p.m. – Young Detectives
9 p.m. – Arreis
10 p.m. – The Vultures
11 p.m. – North of Eight
12:15 a.m. – Ottobott
(sponsored by The Bunker — hosted by Brian Christian Adam, Zachary Edwards and Bryan Joseph Kuhn)
Noon – Sticky Gumbo
12:40 p.m. – Mister Rees
1:20 p.m. – Stone Mason
2 p.m. – Addison Leigh
2:40 p.m. – Briley
3:20 p.m. – J.J. Smith
4 p.m. – Cleggie
4:40 p.m. – Josette Kacey
5:20 p.m. – Velvet Taco
6 p.m. – Aaron Williams
6:40 p.m. – Steven Bard
7:20 p.m. – Brad Yeoman
8 p.m. – Host set: Zachary, Brian & Bryan
9 p.m. – Clark Carlos and Friends
10 p.m. Comin Up
Out of State Stage
Party Marty • Ali J • Lucas Powell
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Homegrown Arts & Music Festival
When: Noon Saturday, July 29 (doors open at 11 a.m.)
Where: BaseCamp Pub, 5750 Lakeside Drive, Lisle; homegrownartsandmusicfestival.com
Tickets: $25 for adults; $10 for children 10 and younger. Discounted tickets can be purchased for $20 directly from Homegrown acts, while supplies last.