fForest Fest kicks off with live music, food trucks and vendors Saturday, June 1

The Tossers frontman braves a sliced finger to play his guitar during fForest Fest on Saturday afternoon.

Morris’ busiest season is about to kick off, as fForest Fest kicks off Saturday, June 1 with more live music, vendors, and food than ever before.

Festival organizer Stacey Olson told the Morris Herald-News back in February, when the lineup was announced that fForest Fest is starting to make a name for itself in the punk rock industry for the Midwest. This year, the organizers have had bands approaching them almost every day wanting to play in Morris.

One of the festival’s sponsors, Punkerton Records, has built a tour around fForest Fest that has bands starting in Las Vegas and playing shows up until fForest Fest.

“We got just a whole bunch of good bands,” Olson said. “I’m really excited about the music, but we have 200 vendors with everything you’ve come to expect at fForest Fest. It’s everything from plants to vintage clothing to handmade crystals to soaps and all sorts of other things.”

The day kicks off at 10 a.m. with ska band The Boy Detective, and a new band will be playing after with about 15 minutes between sets. Olson said this is because fForest Fest is providing the backline this year, which means the instruments. This will allow the first band to get off stage while the next band comes in for a soundcheck before they get started.

Performers this year include The Boy Detective kicking things off, along with Rodeo Boys, Bad Year, Part Time Problems, Counterpunch, Middle-Out, Knives, Jon Snodgrass & the Mankats, Crooked Teeth, Kilmaine Saints, Bad Cop/Bad Cop and Vandoliers.

Olson encourages everyone to take a look at the fForest Fest 2024 playlist on Spotify, as it’s a good way to get to know the bands before the festival.

“Vandoliers is our headliner,” Olson said. “My husband and I heard them on the Flogging Molly cruise a few years back, and everyone was blown away by them. They’re a country band with punk rock roots, so I think a lot of people in our area like country music, and this will have something for everyone.”

Olson said Kilmaine Saints is a new performer with a Celtic punk vibe, and Bad Cop/Bad Cop is returning from last year after the great response it received.

“Then there’s Crooked Teeth, an up-and-coming pop punk band,” Olson said. “They’re self-produced, which is crazy [in] this day and age. They’re not signed on with a record label, and they’re doing it by themselves, but they have almost 100,000 monthly Spotify listeners.”

fForest Fest has had more than 5,000 attendees the past two years, and Olson is hoping for a cooler day this year to get even more through the gates. It was more than 100 degrees out for last year’s festival.

Olson said IMC3, the Illinois & Michigan Canal Cleanup Coalition, is the driving force behind the festival. Any proceeds will go to IMC3, and she said there are projects on the horizon that will be announced in the future.

Michael Urbanec

Michael Urbanec

Michael Urbanec covers Grundy County and the City of Morris, Coal City, Minooka, and more for the Morris Herald-News