Winnetka, Community

‘A Legit Fest’: Band of Horses, Milky Chance to rock Winnetka Music Festival

The Winnetka Music Festival is letting the good times rock ‘n’ roll.

The modern community tradition has made a name for itself, creating its own momentum that drives the event to new heights year after year.

For its eighth year, the festival announced on Tuesday another impressive lineup of musical acts — headlined by Grammy-nominated Seattle indie rock band Band of Horses and German electronic rock band Milky Chance — that will perform for the two-day event on Father’s Day weekend, Friday-Saturday, June 15-16, in Winnetka.

“The festival has really proven itself to be a great destination for artists and fans,” said Mark Haller, one of the event’s organizers. “That means we’re taken very seriously and a lot of bands are offering their services and agents are calling us. We are a legit fest.”

It’s hard to argue as Band of Horses and Milky Chance join a list of internationally renowned musicians — like Guster, The Wallflowers and Michael Franti — who have played downtown Winnetka in the past few years.

Band of Horses is a dream get for Val Haller, the festival’s founder, who credited Jake Samuels, a booker for Evanston SPACE, the music festival’s partner.

Led by captivating vocalist Ben Bridwell, Band of Horses found something special in 2006 with their album “Everything All the Time” and its hit singles “The Funeral” and “The Great Salt Lake.” They followed it up with 2007’s “Cease to Begin” with its smash “No One’s Gonna Love You.” They have released four more original albums since.

Milky Chance emerged in 2012 with the chart-topping single “Stolen Dance,” which took multiple countries by storm. The band has four studio albums, including 2023’s “Living in a Haze.”

“We’re ecstatic with the headliners,” Val Haller said. “… It’s very exciting to get to (compete) for the big guys. … Band of Horses and Milky Chance give just a wow factor for us this year.”

The two headliners will be joined by more than 20 other artists who will play across four stages during the two days. Others include Half Moon Run, Yola, The Verve Pipe, Caroline Jones and Michigander. To read more about those musical acts and the rest of the lineup, visit the Winnetka Music Festival website.

More artists will be added to the lineup in the coming weeks, Val Haller said.

Ticket information

Two-day passes to the Winnetka Music Festival go on sale to the general public at 10 a.m. on Friday, March 8. Some individuals, including previous festivalgoers and Evanston SPACE patrons, are eligible for a presale that is open now. Winnetka residents are eligible for discounted tickets and will receive by mail instructions on how to access the discount, Val Haller said.

Tickets are also available for Winnetkans at physical pop-ups in the community: Hometown Coffee and Juice, 749 Elm St., from 2-5 p.m. on Wednesday-Thursday, March 6-7; and at Evanston SPACE, 1245 Chicago Ave., from noon-4 p.m. on Friday, March 8.

Single-day passes go on sale April 5.

The festival also offers a VIP experience that includes food and drink, and premier seating.

Festival backstory

Val Haller launched the Winnetka Music Festival as a two-day street-style program in 2017.

But things changed in the first three pandemic-impacted years. The event was canceled in 2020 and in 2021, it was given a new name, Emerge Winnetka, and location, the Skokie Playfields.

In 2022, the concert returned to its Winnetka Music Festival moniker and welcomed its biggest names yet, Guster and The Record Company, for a one-day extravaganza.

And the music fest went back to its two-day roots last year and welcomed more hit musical acts, headlined by The Wallflowers and Michael Franti and Spearhead.

In its current form, the festival spreads its musical acts across four stages — two main stages, a chapel stage at 630 Lincoln Ave. and a family-friendly stage — along Lincoln Avenue north of Elm Street.

Complementing the stages will be food trucks and food and beverage vendors throughout the festival space.

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joe coughlin
Joe Coughlin

Joe Coughlin is a co-founder and the editor in chief of The Record. He leads investigative reporting and reports on anything else needed. Joe has been recognized for his investigative reporting and sports reporting, feature writing and photojournalism. Follow Joe on Twitter @joec2319

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