Friday, February 17, 2012

Ribfest Back For A Third Year

Hey, look what we stumbled across!  A special events page for the 2012 Windy City Ribfest.

It's very preliminary right now, but two things:  Uptown will host our third consecutive annual street festival, and be sure to note the dates: Friday to Sunday, July 13-15.


  1. Please bring Tonic back....they were great!

    What other bands would appeal to the masses and not cost an arm and /or leg?

  2. This festival-in-a-box is kind of crappy. It's disappointing that a neighborhood with some much awesome diverse food options and can't put something together better than this faux street festival traveling money grab.

    Some real local bands, a handful of neighborhood centric food stands and beer would be a huge improvement.

  3. It is better than nothing, but Uptown Fest would be better.

  4. Yes! I can't wait to see who the band is. I missed Sister Hazel in 2010, but Rusted Root was great last year. Real local bands ends up meaning the same 8 bands that play street fests. There are only so many times you can see Sixteen Candles, Headbanger's Ball, etc each summer. I personally like that they are pulling in bigger names.

    I like ribs and beer, so I don't have a problem with the format. I would enjoy local restaurants, like Rokitos, Harolds, and Marigold, also having booths. A lot of the food options in Uptown though don't lend themselves to be street festival food. Demera, Magnolia, and Fontana would have a tough time preparing and serving their offerings.

    I can't wait for summer!

  5. I nominate Alek to head up and organize the Uptown summer festival featuring local music and restaurants, instead of just complaining about what we currently have.

  6. I'll try to be polite.

    Point #1: The ribs vendors are the "Festival" circuit equivalent of fast food, it's like having the "Uptown Burger Fest" starting MacDonalds, Burger Queen and Harby's. These vendors are part of a traveling circuit and will follow this up with the Kalamazoo rib fest and the Gary rib fest.

    Uptown is blessed with amazing ethnic food unique to the hood, why not cut them a break and let them shine, that's how you cultivate a positive 'hood image.

    Point #2: The music is blah...a couple washed up national acts is fine and local buy no means means the same handful of crap cover bands that do these circuits.

    Promoting real independent music is a tried and true way of developing a community identity...especially if being an entertainment destination is your goal...think Austin, TX nationally or Wicker/Logan locally.

  7. Alek is right in a way, but I am not complaining. I am not a big fan of ribs myself.

    But bring back Sister Hazel I say!

  8. I was a Ribfest basher last year but not this year.

    There are 13-15 weekends between Memorial and Labor days. We should have an "Uptown Fest" or something like that which would showcase, promote local businesses and cultural activities.

    A festival that brands Uptown positively as a neighborhood and entertainment district, and before Alek chimes in yes we do have a lot of positives.

    The reason why it is unlikely to happen, or hasn't, is because we have no Uptown-centric arts organization dedicated to promoting arts and cultural affairs in and for Uptown. We have a great variety of arts organizations doing their thing,and doing it well. But there is no central organization pulling it all together.

    A festival is too much for Uptown United alone to pull-off as they have other responsibilities and talents. They need a planning partner which is why we have the Ribfest.

    That could change for 2013 or later...who knows. The subject came up at both Chicago Cultural Plans meetings last week.

    I hope more people in Uptown speak up and engage in the CCP 2012 process through the summer, the only Uptown face I recognized besides my own was Ald. James, a positive indeed.

    Check it out....

  9. Ten or so years ago, my particular area of Uptown wasn't part of any of the neighborhood block clubs, and we had many issues that no one was trying to a group of us did our research, we pulled together a structure, I coined a name, and we recruited people. Presto, we had a new block club that accomplished some good things and still chugs along. The upshot of the story: kwitcherbitchin-and-moaning and DO something constructive. With all the, um, INSIGHT that a couple of people have used to comment on Ribfest and on other pet issues, perhaps a couple of people should put their words to action and start pulling together others with shared interests, e.g. Uptown festivals and Uptown art. Get a core group of people together to see what you can brainstorm...put together a formal framework for the groups...then put your networking to good use and DO something. You've got eager partners in the Alderman's Office, in the Uptown Chamber, in the UCC, in the UNC, in the block clubs, in the businesses, in the schools. Maybe they will co-sponsor something with you...maybe they have people in their own networks who share your interests...maybe they will help with fundraising or venues...and maybe your idea will snowball and turn into something major that you never dreamed about.

    The point is that we all are accomplished complainers...and many of us are very good at bringing up the same issues again and again...but these things are all words. Use your words to make something happen, since you feel strongly enough about your words that you're sharing them here. Words to action. You don't have to run your show, but you DO need to use your words to motivate and convince and conceive, otherwise you're wasting your time and everyone elses'. I've got my own set of issues that I write about myself, and believe it or not, I *am* doing things about my issues besides write about them. Lend yourself to your neighborhood and do the same, PLEASE.

  10. Just check out the website:

    Be a part of the process....

    If people can type exhaustive opinionated comments on UU then they can also type out feedback to the City. This is the first time since 1986 you have your chance.

    Pass the word on to your block club.

  11. Feedback on the City's Cultural Plan is a good thing...but don't depend on the City to take the feedback and suddenly create another taxpayer-funded program for the arts. And particularly, don't depend on the City to create and run an organization dedicated to furthering the arts in Uptown. I think that the City and the Alderman will do all they can to support the arts in Uptown (Cappleman already has a gallery of sorts in his ward service office), but if there are no artists in Uptown willing to do more than demand free storefronts to display their work and agitate for a nebulous "Uptown Center of Art" without being willing to do more, then the City and the Alderman will have nothing more that they can support.

    Or maybe there simply aren't enough artists in Uptown to form an Uptown Artists Collective or Uptown Artists Cooperative. Maybe a UAC could strike a deal with Truman College or the Chicago Park District to put on a summer art fair...or sponsor a poster and banner design competition with other organizations in Uptown...or put together summer enrichment programs for the neighborhood's kids...or negotiate the use of a vacant storefront as a temporary Uptown Artists' Gallery...or convince the Chicago Park District or Chicago Public Schools or Chicago Public Library to do a rotating display of sculpture--or even a sculpture garden. There have to be other more creative ideas for turning Uptown into an art-and-artist-friendly neighborhood; and those ideas need to come from artists. I'm not the only non-artist who would wholeheartedly support those endeavors--but it needs to be organized by those who KNOW art and who would benefit most. And if and when these sorts of things happen, the galleries and the dealers and the art supply stores will follow...and the restaurants and cafes and coffeehouses and pubs that draw the artistic. It will benefit our artists AND benefit the entire neighborhood.

    When can we expect to see an announcement about the UAC? Or the Uptown Music Festival? I'm ready to pitch in to help....

  12. I personally like ribs and the idea of Ribfest in Uptown. I'm open to the other suggestions as well. My only complaint, to the event organizers only, is the ticket for food solution employed last year was horrible!!! I know many people who left simply because the line to buy tickets was an hour and a half long. Then You'd have to go wait in line to exchange those tickets for food. Just ridiculous. Figure it out and you'll have a great fest.

  13. @ Bear60640

    I wish you could stop the long-winded assumptions there is nothing else going on besides UU comments. I know the alderman has a lot of art up in the office, mine included. I will give you the benefit of the doubt your involved in the community, will you do likewise for me?

    @ Bear60640 and everyone else in Uptown interested in the arts.

    If you would like to pitch-in for art in Uptown contact me and you can join a committee that is meeting this Monday.

    The committee is mostly "non-artists" and we are going to discuss a large public art project planned for right here in Uptown. We need community input on the concept and composition of the work, to put the community in the art before the art goes into the community.

    Send me an email to and I can fill you in on the details.

    Personally I am not into "artist coops" and all that jazz, they get weird. I get my inspiration from life and people in general. But we do have a lot of various types of artists here and no reason we can't attract more. Particularly musicians with all of the talk about an Uptown Music District.

    Pop-ups are a good idea but honestly not too practical, I am all for it though.

    The arts taken as a whole are not a drain on tax money but can be a powerful economic stimulus, there are many examples of this and others who share this view.

    Otherwise why would a smart guy like Mayor Emanuel even be talking about an entertainment district.

    Some get it...some don't. But the arts and cultural development are key.

    BBQ ribs and ice cold beer are my summertime favorites...I hope the Ribfest makes a lotta money and it doesn't rain on 'em. No more bashing this year...that would be misplaced lagniappe on my part.

    It would be nice if they changed the name from the nebulous (I like that word Bear) Windy City Ribfest to the Uptown Ribfest so we can partake in the branding schmorgasborgen...

    Just another one O my crazy ideas....Cheers!

  14. Alek of course is right.

    This is an awful use of a festival. It's suburban and it's shitty. This is the CIty, not the suburbs. Actually, a place like Schaumberg which has the Summer Breeze festival is much, much better.

    But this stuff is so unnecessary. I corresponded with the entertainment buyer and he said we are booking pop-rock bands for people who like to drink beer. That's the crowd they are appealing drinkers.

    Well, that's ok but you have the Green Mill with some of the worlds best Jazz musicians who can play loud, danceable music when asked to, you have all kinds of local groups that a better than the name acts, and the semi local bands that they have up there are not necessarily very good. They had Cat fight an all girl band there....and there are better all girl bands.

    I don't quite get it. This is a cultural center, Uptown.
    And they have reduced it to beer and brats and a mixture of bad to good music.

    THey have retro on Roscoe...that's pretty interesting...Roscoe has all these retro shops and they hire groups that play fun, older music of various genres.

    Iv'e also talked to the lady from the Chamber of Commerce and I will bet there is a connection of several to many dinner meetings between these clowns at Star Events and she....and now they are friends and of course the lady has no clue as to what "culture" or "festival" mean. She really "likes" the Rib Fest people who churn out this trash, when the opportunity to present something with style is obvious and not hard to do if you can get an intelligent person from the Chamber of Commerce to intervene.

    Why aren't Agami ( this gem of fabulous cooked and raw food) Demera, Marigold, Caravan, Fat Cat a part of this? All with the exception of Fat (Ok) have excellent food?

    Ribs and Beer and Pop/Rock and nuthin' else.

    It's a shame.