Midsommarfest and the Out Rock Stage: A celebration of LGBTQA musicians

MidsommarThis weekend, June 8/9, kicks off our season of pride with the return of Midsommarfest in the northern neighborhood of Andersonville. This celebration of diversity, now in it’s 48th year, is always a fan favourite as it marks the beginning of summer and brings a heavy dose of entertainment, shopping, and all-around good time after our cold and depressing winters. Also poised to be chillier than last year, the Andersonville Chamber of Commerce has events planned for the entirety of the fest that are sure to warm your heart! Starting with the recently added Friday night festivities, and going into full swing on Saturday, neighbors and visitors alike can enjoy a taste of what makes this Swedish-heritage-turned-family-friendlygayborhood stand apart from the rest.

One of the highlights of this weekend is the inclusion of the Out Rock stage, sponsored by Hamburger Mary’s and largely organized by local singer/song writer Stephen Leonard. The name is derived from Leonard’s own program featured on Gay Chicago TV, which highlights up and coming artists from the LGBTQA community.  If you, like many of us, are frustrated by the lack of queer performers at our Pride festivals, then this stage is the place you should camp out at. As the only stage in any of the Chicago queer festivals dedicated to performers within our community, or avid vocal allies, it is worth supporting.


The Sami Grisafe Band

Each year after pride season, many spectators voice concern over the conversion to a mostly political/business climate and the gradual shift away from celebrating and encouraging persons from within our very own community in exchange for big name cover bands and votes. By attending any (or all!) of the amazing performances lined up at the Out Rock, located at Balmoral and Clark, you are not only going to enjoy eargasms, you will be making a statement and throwing your support behind some very talented folks. Heavy hitters such as Eric Himan, the debut of Leonard’s new band, The New Class, and The Sami Grisafe Band are being followed by highenergy sets by DJ Moose and DJ Voxbox. This is the second to last stop for Grisafe and Leonard’s successful #SPRINGFEVER tour of the Midwest, and it’s a pairing that shouldn’t be missed.

Although the Chamber is asking for a $10 donation fee for entry this year, which is up from previous years, they are hoping that attendees will show some love for all the work Andersonville does and all they have to offer; Midsommarfest is the main money maker for the Chamber for the entire year to come. If you love the giant Swedish horse or manicured flowers located adjacent to all the gathering spaces, please consider donating the full asking amount!

Midsommarfest runs along Clark Street, from Foster to Catalpa on Saturday and Sunday. Friday night, open from Balmoral to Catalpa, the festival will kick off at 5pm and close at 10pm. Saturday and Sunday the fest runs from 11am to 10pm.


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About Leah Schein

Leah is a born and bred Chicagoan, and considers herself extremely fortunate to be raised by amazing liberal parents in Logan Square. Coming from a long family history of equality activism, the crazy world of politics feels like home to her. Her upbringing allowed her to fully appreciate her love of tacos, and provided the support needed to be independent and insane. She is a happy survivor of the public school system, all the way through her undergrad years, culminating with a BA in anthropology. Her love of travel and all things adventurous led to the pursuit of a Master of Science from sunny ol’ England, where she happily grasped a conservation degree and ran off to live in a number of rain forests to research nocturnal primates. Through the amazing diversity she was fortunate to be raised amongst, she has an unwavering appreciation of all cultures and peoples, and has used this to form the foundation of her outspoken support of civil rights. You may have seen her running around Boystown/Tuna town over the last decade, or at events she volunteers at for the Human Rights Campaign. It’s possible you spied her at the Silent Film Festival. That strange woman getting into a wrestling match in the leaves on Foster Ave beach at 3am…that definitely wasn’t her. She couldn’t be more excited about sharing her love of science, and it’s role in our daily lives, with the community she loves. Nerds are cool, people. They drink martini’s too.


One Response to “Midsommarfest and the Out Rock Stage: A celebration of LGBTQA musicians”

  1. Kudos to Hamburger Mary’s, for sponsoring Stephen Leonard and his organization of the Out Rock Stage, The Andersonville Chamber of Commerce for seeing LGTB performers as vital to this community!! We have a talented LGBT etc. community of musicians, artists, filmmakers and writers (THANK YOU, Leah Schein!)…so happy to enjoy their talent!!!

    Posted by marla n. | June 7, 2013, 4:12 pm

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