Sharon Jones will end your weekend on a funky note.
Chicago Blues Festival
Friday-Sunday at Grant Park; free
Who says you can't teach an old dog new tricks? The world's largest free-admission blues festival welcomes two-dozen first-time performers this year. At the top of that list – for younger fans, at least – has to be Sharon Jones & the Dap Kings, the group that's led the recent revival of old-school soul. History gets its due, too, as the fest celebrates two milestones: the 30-year anniversary of Earwig Records and the 70th birthday of funk-blues master Eddie C. Campbell. Soul vet Bettye LaVette also headlines. Get the scoop on all Chicago Blues Fest performers.
25 bands and 25 restaurants in 25 hours - that's the tagline of this Northcenter fest, and it delivers with a wide range of 'cue (including a crowd-voted award for Best Ribs) and music (Office, Margot & the Nuclear So and So's and the Annuals headline). We just hope someone remembers to bring wet-naps this year.
Drinking & Writing Festival
noon-5 p.m. Saturday at Hopleaf; $20-$25
This 5th annual event, organized by the Drinking & Writing Brewery, will be focused on the writing (and drinking) of our fair city. Admission includes 10 beer sample tickets (expect brews from Rock Bottom, Goose Island, Metropolitan Brewing, Brickstone Brewery, Bluecat Brewpub and Mickey Finns), a complimentary beer glass, the "2 Drink Minimum Writing Contest" and appearances from local writers and drinkers (including Northwestern professor Bill Savage, Dr. Denese Neu, PhD, and members of Forgotten Chicago. While you're in the area, be sure to also check out the Andersonville Midsommarfest.
Old Town Art Fair
It's not just about the art at this renowned fair (although with all the nationally acclaimed artists, it could be). From the Garden Walk to the popular Children's Corner, there are plenty of distractions. If you really need something for your wall, be sure to make a second stop at the nearby Wells Street Art Festival.
I AM Fest
noon Saturday at Congress Theater; $20
Chicago Noise Machine, a partnership of nine local rock bands, hosts this all-day event featuring 25 local acts on two stages, plus art and photography exhibits, short film screenings, and other activities. Support your local music scene!