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A & E

Joliet's Hopstring Fest to feature regional as well as local talent

Joliet’s Hopstring Fest to feature regional as well as local talent

About 3,000 people attended last year's Hopstring Fest. At least as many are anticipated for this year's event Saturday.
About 3,000 people attended last year's Hopstring Fest. At least as many are anticipated for this year's event Saturday.

JOLIET – Hopstring Fest has made the Midwest music map, said Mike Trizna, co-owner of Chicago Street Pub and one of the event organizers.

While lining up local bands through their management companies, Trizna said one company also represented Cracker – an international, Midwest-based touring band with a gold record – and suggested Cracker for the fest.

As a result, Cracker will headline the third Hopstring Fest, giving the other local bands – all fantastic musicians, he said – the right to say they opened for Cracker, Trizna added. He, for one, is excited.

“It’s amazing that somebody who has a gold record to see this festival as worth playing,” Trizna said.

But then, Trizna said, what makes Hopstring Fest’s celebration of craft beer and roots rock music unique is the heavy emphasis on local: the musicians, the supporting artists, the beer (the breweries may not be local, but the suppliers are, Trizna said), the restaurants selling their food and the charities that will benefit.

“Of the 31 acts we have playing, 30 of them are local, and this is a family-friendly event,” Trizna said. “People can come out with their kids, leave and then come back later when they’ve gotten a baby sitter.”

Stadium chairs, blankets and small bags will be allowed at Hopstring Fest, Trizna said. Underage drinking will not be tolerated, he added.

“People can get as close to the stage as they want,” Trizna said. “We don’t want them sitting far back in stadium chairs.”

A second new feature this year is the addition of local music students to the Hopstring Fest’s roots rock lineup, which includes performances on a main stage and two side stages, Trizna said.

“I thought, ‘As long as we have the room, we might as well get as much young talent exposed as possible,’ ” Trizna said.

The student musicians – ranging in age from 14 to 30 – went through an interview process to ensure they would be comfortable performing before a large crowd, especially with the youth musicians, Trizna said.

Last year’s Hopstring Fest attracted 3,000 attendees. So far this year, ticket sales already have reached 3,000, Trizna said.

He also wanted parents to be comfortable with their children playing at a venue that would attract a large number of adults.

“Some of them did not work out,” Trizna said, “whether we felt the music was not a fit or because the parents were nervous about it.”

The final new feature, Trizna said, is that several local charities will be selling tickets – and then keeping a portion of their sales for the organization – and having a presence at Hopstring Fest.

These organizations are Big Brothers Big Sisters of Will and Grundy Counties, Guardian Angel, Joliet Area Community Hospice, Miracle League of Joliet, Pink Heals of Joliet and Superior Vision.

Selling food that day will be Bothwell Farms (fresh sweet corn and Italian beef), Gjis Sweet Shoppe (desserts, popcorn, sweets), Jody’s Hot Dogs (hot dogs and nachos), Joliet Slammers (smoked pulled pork and brisket), McBrodys (burgers) and Stefanich’s Restaurant (tacos, tortas, quesadillas).

In addition to Chicago Street Pub, Digity, Flipside Works and Joliet Slammers are helping organize the event, Trizna said.

WHAT: Hopstring Fest 2014
WHEN: 11 a.m. to midnight Saturday
WHERE: Silver Cross Field, 1 Mayor Art Schultz Drive, Joliet
TICKETS: $20 in advance, $30 at the door. Reentry is permitted with ticket. For group rates, email


Main Stage

• 11 a.m.: The Prairie Ghosts
• Noon: The Leadfoot Band
• 1:05 p.m.: Alex Hoffer & Friends
• 2 p.m.: The Regressors
• 3:05 p.m.: Chicago Farmer
• 4 p.m.: Edward David Anderson
• 5:10 p.m.: John Condron & The Old Gang Orchestra
• 6:20 p.m.: Miles Nielsen & The Rusted Hearts
• 7:30 p.m.: The Steepwater Band
• 8:40 p.m.: The Righteous Hillbillies
• 9:50 p.m.: Cracker

Red Betty IPA Side Stage One

• Dan Dougherty and the Tones
• Rebecca Rego and the Trainmen
• Allison Flood
• Chris Flood
• Matt Biskie Trio
• Tom & Becky
• Ernie Hendrickson
• J Ross Green
• Scott McNeil
• Ted Slowik

Deschutes Side Stage Two

• Pete Jive
• John Till
• CottonHeaded Ninny Muggins
• Tim Streit
• Brian Barry
• Ryan Olsson
• Chase Walsh
• John Narcissi
• Molly McKenna Batozech
• Charlie Champene & Eric Totherow

Other area artists include:

• Sue Regis Glass Art
• Matt Ryan (Midwest Work Ethic)
• Levi Brock Tick Tock Guitar Clocks
• Elegant Henna Tattoos
• Jim Hamilton Soy Candles
• EM Press various published area authors
• Bothwell Ceramic Beer Steins

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