In what has become a tradition, music will return to the Bicentennial Riverfront Park in Yorkville later this month for the two-day Summer Solstice music festival.
This is the 10th anniversary of Summer Solstice, first held in 2013. The event went on hiatus in 2020 because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“It’s going to be kind of a family affair.”— Festival organizer Boyd Ingemunson
Boyd Ingemunson, event organizer and owner of Rogue Barrister Productions and The Law Office Pub & Music Hall in downtown Yorkville, said the idea of Summer Solstice is to give residents a chance to hear up and coming bands in Yorkville as opposed to having to go to Chicago and elsewhere. Ingemunson is a lifelong Yorkville resident.
“It’s worked really, really well over the past 10 years,” Ingemunson said. “The first year, we had like Sturgill Simpson perform. No one knew who he was and now he’s one of the biggest names in country music. Ever since then, it’s just been kind of a steady stream of great independent bands that are under the radar. You’re not going to hear them on the radio but a lot of them have moved up the ranks.”
This year’s Summer Solstice will take place June 23-24 at Bicentennial Riverfront Park, 301 E. Hydraulic Ave. in downtown Yorkville. For tickets and more information, go to solsticemusicfest.com.
The headlining band both days will be Mike and the Moonpies, a band that has played at The Law Office several times.
“They’ve played at The Law Office since its inception,” Ingemunson said. “Last year, they played at the Windy City Smokeout in Chicago on the same bill as Miranda Lambert. All the bands that are coming this year are all tight together. It’s going to be kind of a family affair, which always leads to better performances and collaborations and all kinds of great stuff.”
Volunteers are key in helping put on Summer Solstice.
“I’ve got a core group of volunteers that help me,” he said. “Everyone who does it each year wants to come back and do it again.”
Ingemunson is working to create a music scene in Yorkville.
“I really want to make it a destination for touring bands and that Yorkville’s the spot,” he said. “I’m not entirely there yet, but we’re on our way. That’s the overriding goal.”
He helped start a nonprofit organization called Patrons Launching Arts in Yorkville.
“Their goal is to build a permanent stage on the riverfront,” Ingemunson said.
The festival will be in a new spot this year.
“We’re moving it down from where it normally was to Riverfront Park East,” Ingemunson said. “It’s a new part of the park that they cleaned up. It’s a beautiful spot. The idea is hopefully to have a permanent stage down there, similar to what they do at RiverEdge Park in Aurora, where you can have multiple summer events that are ticketed. If you can generate ticket revenue, you can pay bands a lot more money and you get bigger bands.”
To that end, this year, Summer Solstice will be a ticketed event. Tickets are $20 for each day or $30 for a two-day pass.
“We’re actually going to charge for tickets as opposed to a $5 wrist band, which is going to be different,” he said. “I’ve doubled my band budget. If you pay bands more money, you’re going to attract better bands and bigger bands. So that’s kind of the idea behind that.”
The Law Office continues to host live music. Ingemunson said the venue is open for limited events.
“We do a fair amount of private events there and we do limited shows,” Ingemunson said.
He noted the venue had been hosting several concerts a month, but that sometimes only 10 to 12 people would show up for a show.
“I just can’t afford to do that any more,” Ingemunson said. “It’s just kind of an event by event basis and I built an email list where I communicate with everyone. I can communicate directly with the people that support The Law Office. And it’s working.”