Yorkville’s Summer Solstice Indie Music Festival returns this weekend

A fest anchored in Yorkville’s DIY identity

As the Summer Solstice Indie Music Festival in Yorkville enters its 11th year, organizer Boyd Ingemunson sees the event as a reflection of the town’s identity: authentically grassroots, blue-collar and built from the bottom-up.

“Indie means the DIY approach, and it encapsulates 100% of the work we’ve put in throughout the history of our festival,” said Ingemunson, owner of Yorkville’s The Law Office Pub and Music Hall and Rogue Barrister Records. “I was born and raised in Yorkville, and seen the changes over time. As we’ve grown, we’ve always maintained true to our small-town identity and shown pride in our community and locally-owned businesses.”

Located in downtown Yorkville along the Fox River, the festival runs from 5-11 p.m. June 21 and 3-11 p.m. June 22 in Riverfront Park, 301 E. Hydraulic St. Headlined by Texas-based Americana band Silverada, the fest provides an intimate experience with rising indie stars. Local-craft beverages will be served in addition to local vendors like Alfie’s Barbecue and Grandma Rosie’s Sweet Treats.

Teala Marie of Yorkville shows her skills with a hoop while the Miles Miller Band performs on Friday June 23, 2023 during the Summer Solstice Music Festival in downtown Yorkville.

Following in the footsteps of Grammy-winning Sturgill Simpson, who performed in the very first Summer Solstice, are the likes of Americana rockers The Vandoliers, outlaw country darling Elizabeth Cook, who is a frequent performer on the Grand Ole Opry, and Taylor Hunnicutt, whose music carries forth the traditions of roots Americana into a dynamic new sound.

Festival co-hosts Silverada often exude a performative energy reminiscent of Sturgill Simpson.

Ingemunson said what separates Summer Solstice from other larger festivals is the special proximity you experience with the bands.

“Our small town values reflect in the ability of visitors to meet and greet the bands in an intimate setting,” Ingemunson said. “We focus on the love of the music. There’s something special about fans knowing their money goes directly to help fuel the careers of the musicians and buy gas to get them to their next performance.”

Just as the fest and the Law Office Pub serve as a community for tight-knit musicians who often view each other as family, Ingemunson emphasized the community volunteers, like the Kiwanis Club of Yorkville staffing the front gate, who make the fest so welcoming to guests.

On Saturday morning, there also is a Summer Solstice 4-Mile Road Race and 2-Mile Fun Run/Walk in partnership with the Yorkville High School Distance Program.

“Having all the community involved is how we have been showcasing our town,” Ingemunson said. “Our DIY approach makes all the difference in the world. I’ve had to learn so much myself, but also to rely upon the volunteers that I would not be able to do this without every year.”

Ingemunson said the grassroots organizing is emblematic of the type of emerging and hard-working artists the fest strives to promote and curate as their careers take-off.

“I really wanted to promote and create something unique to showcase original independent music,” Ingemunson said. “We have to sell to the community to come out and support these artists you are not going to often hear on the radio or see in big stadium concerts. The best artists are the ones traveling from city to city, playing 200 shows a year, working hard to build fan bases. That’s why we feature up-and-coming artists, and we get so many compliments compared to other suburban festivals that have become cookie cutters of themselves.”

By striving to cultivate the performers within the industry, Ingemunson said he was not caught by surprise the nationally sold-out stadiums for Americana musicians such as Tyler Childers, Zach Bryan, Sturgill Simpson and Margo Price. Ignemunson said while hosting indie artists at the Law Office Pub he could see the way the music resonated with people on a deeper and more personal level.

He said the bigger names now having success just provides a face to what has long been happening on the local scene.

“We have had big names and a number of artists performing their first show ever there,” Ingemunson said. “Fans get to know the musicians more personally. I’ve literally ran every low voltage wire in there; it’s become my home away from home. People love the intimate experience.”

Ingemunson hopes the continued success of the festival and the revenue accrued will help someday inspire the creation of a permanent bandshell stage in Riverfront Park East to forever align the Yorkville community as a haven for the performative arts.

“One of the most rewarding parts of the festival is talking with all the people in the community and the people that traveled to see us,” Ingemunson said. “Their kind words and support make the countless hours that go into planning this festival every year very worth it.”

Music lineup

Friday, June 21: John Till – Tony Logue and the 184 – The Vandoliers – Silverada

Saturday, June 22: Midnight River Choir – Jason Eady – Taylor Hunnicutt – Rob Leines – Elizabeth Cook – Silverada

Acoustic Sets: Eli Howard – Jeff Bearcat Bunch – Memphis Kee – Drew Cooper – Maggie Forgue

Ticket costs

Single-day tickets cost $30 and 2-day festival passes run $50.

Children 14 and younger receive free admission when accompanied by a parent.

Special VIP tickets are available for full festival passes and exclusive access to unforgettable after-shows hosted at the Law Office Pub featuring Memphis Kee on Friday and Drew Cooper and special guests on Saturday.

For more information, go to solsticemusicfest.com.

Advance tickets and VIP packages available at prekindle.com.

Parking: Available on city streets and designated school parking lots