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ZZ Ward Winnetka Music Festival


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By Laura Hine

Photo courtesy of ZZ Ward


ZZ Ward will be rocking the Winnetka Music Festival this June.

Grab your black fedoras! ZZ Ward is headlining the two-day Winnetka Music Festival. We talked not long after her recent appearance at House of Blues, where Ward confirmed that she’s excited to come back this summer. “I love playing fests because you get to make new fans,” she says. “People are there for a lot of bands—not necessarily because they want to see you—but then they do.” This year, there will indeed be lots of groups to see over the free two-day fest. “It’s still a showcase for emerging artists,” says Val Haller, founder and CEO of Valslist and music curator for the festival. “These are the stars taking off in the industry, but my headliners are the ones who have made the dream come true. They’ve nailed it!” And for bluesy rocker Ward, her second full-length album, The Storm, is one in which she has indeed nailed it with multiple collaborations including “Domino” with Fitz of Fitz and the Tantrums, “Cannonball” with Fantastic Negrito and her recent appearance on Jimmy Kimmel Live!. Ward will bring that energy to the fest’s Saturday night performance. “I think that’s what I’m good at,” she says. “Stepping up to the plate and giving people a great show.” 

Ashe Winnetka Music Festival

Ashe will be at the Winnetka Music Festival Saturday, June 16.

Bigger and Better
This year’s festival is keeping some of the elements that made it a success last year—like packing the schedule with nationally touring artists from lots of different genres—but everything else is growing. “We’re pumping up Friday night so it’s not just a kickoff. We have four bands scheduled including headliner A Thousand Horses,” says Val Haller. She also notes that the fest has added a third main stage, thanks to the Chicago Cubs sponsorship, and a VIP lounge area that will give guests who subsidize the otherwise free festival a comfortable place to take a break. Scott Myers, the fest’s chairman, notes that there will be more food trucks and beverage options. But what this fest does best is give suburban audiences the chance to see acts like Ashe, who recorded the vocals for “World on Fire” for local group Louis the Child. Who needs to camp at Bonnaroo? We’ve got Winnetka! June 15-16, free