Monday, July 1, 2024


Yorkville’s Summer Solstice Indie Music Festival Returned for the 11th year.


The Summer Solstice Indie Music Festival ran from June 21 and June 22 at Bicentennial Riverfront Park in Yorkville Illinois. This was the festival’s 11th year, which features up-and-coming country music artists. Last year was the first time the festival charged a ticket price. This was in part to set sights on bigger-named acts. Organizer Boyd Ingemunson, owner of Rogue Barrister Records and the Law Office Pub and Music Hall in Yorkville, along with the help of the band Silverada — formerly Mike and the Moonpies again this year brought in excellent talent from around the country.

On Saturday night of the festival when it was supposed to rain in the evening, it was nice to see the weather did not stop hundreds of festival goers from enjoying live music on the bank of the Fox River. The lineup included Silverada, Elizabeth Cook, Rob Leines, Taylor Hunnicutt, Jason Eady, Midnight River Choir and Jeff Bearcat Bunch on the smaller stage. All the artists who performed on Saturday were a handful of the best artists in country music today. Even if you are not going to hear the artists on mainstream radio or see them in big stadium concerts, they are the artists that travel from city to city playing two hundred shows a year or more, working hard giving people a quality show and building a fan base. At the Summer Solstice Music Festival, it was not much different, expect the shows sets felt a little more intimate in experience for a festival. Also noticed were how friendly the artists were at merch table meeting fans. Artists such as Taylor Hunnicutt and Bearcat Bunch were even spotted walking around the festival grounds meeting fans.

Each artist that performed on Saturday night brought their own style of country music which was a pleasure to hear. These were the artists I covered on Saturday night:

Silverada formerly Mike & the Moonpies were the headliners on Saturday night of the festival. Mike Harmeier and his bandmates belted energizing country rock tunes to a delighted audience. Mike & the Moonpies was a bar band ripping it up at the Hole in the Wall Honky Tonks. Silverada is a hard-driving, impeccably tight, and versatile band that has been declared by many as country music’s best live touring band by music media outlets. This was extremely clear on Saturday night when the crowd moved closer to the stage, you could see and feel the fun they were having. Harmeier was in jeans, shirt and a cowboy hat and positioned centerstage surrounded by his stellar bandmates. The new sound of this band is more a mix of music, than pure country or Tony- Tonk for which the festival audience went crazy for.

Elizabeth Cook with her distinctly southern voice and country lyricism, belted out country music just like her favorite country music matriarchs. Cook’s set included her favorite originals and cover songs; from artists she admires. It was a gift to finally see this phenomenally talented artist live on the festival stage.

Rob Leines style of music is a hard-driving blend of country and rock. Leines has a tighter playing style and a stronger vocal delivery than I perceived. This is precisely why I wanted to hear him live at the fest. The authenticity in his songwriting was clear and Leines himself mentioned he draws inspiration from personal experiences and emotions. This authenticity connected well with the audience at the fest and proved once again why we love country music. It was also noted that Leines bold guitar riffs gave the audience a clear picture that he was here at the festival to entertain and give you good live performance.

Taylor Hunnicutt is a mix of country, singer, songwriter, and dash of Americana which makes for one talented artist. Her performance at the festival was high energy gritty southern rock. Hunnicutt was grinding out her songs on stage with soul and country grit with the help of her band. Hunnicutt’s music is the kind that makes you feel something, and you know it is authentic because you can hear the passion in her voice. After seeing Taylor Hunnicutt at the festival, I highly recommend you see her live show.

Jeff Bearcat Bunch is an independent and nationally touring singer, songwriter, and storyteller originally from Knoxville, TN., now based in Austin Texas. Bearcat performed on the smaller stage in between bigger stage artists at the festival. When listening to Bearcat perform you can hear his wonderful soulful grit that is heartfelt and true country, and his storytelling is not bad either.

Summer Solstice Indie Music Festival has proven itself to be a well-organized festival that books top tour talent. The festival also captures the essence of listening to music, warm summer nights and memories along the Fox River in Yorkville Illinois.


B. Allison



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