HICKORY HILLS, Ill. — Most music festivals that take place around the Chicago-area these days charge an arm and a leg for the mere chance to stand within a mile of the band. DZ Fest offered a nice change of pace to this new norm, highlighting local suburban bands in a way that everyone could enjoy last weekend.
The sixth DZ Fest kicked-off Saturday in Hickory Hills with DZ Records’ founder Ben Arguelles hosting the event in his very own backyard as a wave of supporters flooded in. At the door, patrons are asked simply to donate rather than being forced to spend all of their savings and, what makes the donation even better is that it funds next year’s DZ Fest.
“I think [DZ Fest] is really important because so many festivals are in the city and this is the first one that I know of that’s going on in the suburbs,” Mikayla Price, a volunteer at DZ Fest, told Rare Chicago. “There’s really a lot of hidden talent that people don’t know about in the suburbs because they think music only happens in the city.”
Music happens all around and these suburb bands can pull their weight with the lineup featuring an abundance of variety and talent such as local band, Lever, who were recently named Best Rock Band in Chicago by the Chicago Reader. Other artists on the lineup included the Nirvana-inspired band, Harvey Fox, and Bev Rage & The Drinks who can get a laugh out of anyone.
Holding a resemblance to the early years of Warped Tour or even a small-scale Woodstock, it was clear in the air that this music festival was about the art and coming together as a community to support such an inspiring cause. DZ Fest was all of the things people love about music festivals, without all of the extra expenditure and claustrophobia. It was intimate, it was affordable and, perhaps most important, it was a great evening which Price calls her favorite holiday of the year.
“I think [DZ Fest] is really important for our community and it’s a way for us to come together, especially with politics and whatever else that’s separating us because music can always bring us together,” Price said. “I always say DZ is my favorite holiday because it feels so magical and now, being older, I don’t get those little kid moments, but here I get that. Here I come alive again.”