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FitzGerald’s American Music Festival returns July 3-6

FitzGerald’s American Music Festival returns July 3-6

A beloved tradition continues at FitzGerald’s in Berwyn from July 3 to 6 with the 41st American Music Festival. Started by nightclub founder Bill FitzGerald, it is continued by husband and wife team Will Duncan and Jessica King, who bought the company in 2020.

On July 3, the doors open at 4 p.m.; 2 p.m. on July 4 and 5; and 12:30 p.m. on July 6.

Duncan stated that the festival “feels like a tradition worth continuing. It is an iconic part of FitzGerald’s history and it feels very important to continue it.”

He noted that this festival stands out from other festivals because of its intimacy. “It takes place here on our small site with the historic nightclub and the two adjacent buildings on either side of the club with a large central courtyard,” Duncan said. “It is a truly unique location for a festival with this quality of music and this number of artists.”

Another distinction is that there are actual bathrooms for those present. “It’s not a porta-potty festival,” Duncan joked.

King reported that they plan each festival for almost a year. “After last year’s festival we were already talking about headliners,” she said, adding that they started reaching out to artists in November last year.

“It really feels like all year round, always making plans,” Duncan stated.

The couple divides the responsibilities for putting together the festival.

“Will does all the artist bookings and I do all the marketing,” King said.

Duncan indicated that the festival is best known as an American roots music festival, which includes folk music, jazz, New Orleans brass band, Cajun and zydeco. They also generally include rock music, blues and soul.

When choosing the artists to perform, Duncan said: “We want to honor the legacy, so we always want to make sure we include artists who have been part of the festival over the decades.

“For example, CJ Chenier is a great zydeco artist from New Orleans who has been playing the festival since his father played some of the early years of this festival. So that is an artist who, as far as we are concerned, will always play at the American Music Festival. We are also interested in growing and expanding and developing new talent – ​​emerging artists.”

They also like to expand the genres associated with the festival. He mentioned the inclusion of indie rock bands that appeal to a younger audience. Duncan noted that this year marks the first time a hip-hop artist will perform.

More than 50 artists are scheduled.

Each of the owners is especially looking forward to certain artists.

“I can’t wait to see Old 97’s on July 5,” Duncan said.

“I’m really excited about one of my favorites this year, The Rumble,” said King. “They look like a New Orleans funk band, but they are also represented by a Black Indian Chief.”

A few days were sold out at the time of writing, but the Fourth of July evening program has openings with a number of emerging artists, Duncan said.

He added that they can often sell a few tickets during the day before the performances start.

Myrna Petlicki is a freelance reporter for Pioneer Press.

41st American Music Festival

When: July 3-6

Where: FitzGerald’s, 6615 Roosevelt Road, Berwyn

Tickets: $65 per day; $225 for a four-day pass

Information: 708-788-2118; fitzgeraldsnightclub.com/american-music-fest