Chicagoans who love checking out interesting international music outdoors in the summertime have taken some hits this year. The worst has been the city's decision to can the great Music Without Borders series
, but it's also a drag that the Old Town School of Folk Music
has put the kibosh on its annual Folk & Roots Festival
. The economy sucks, of course, and that means corporate sponsorship dollars are in short supply, so I can't be too hard on a private institution for downsizing a bit. But in lieu of Folk & Roots, held in Welles Park, we're getting something called Square Roots
, presented with the Lincoln Square Chamber of Commerce and apparently little more than a glorified street fair. Instead of summer staples like Mr. Blotto and Hello Dave, we get local world-music acts.
To be sure, there are some terrific artists performing, including the Waco Brothers and Mali's Sidi Toure. The three-day event (July 20-22, on Lincoln between Montrose and Wilson) also promises to focus on craft beer alongside music, though no details on that aspect are available yet. OTS isn't touting this as a replacement for Folk & Roots, as well it shouldn't—Square Roots doesn't come close to making up for the loss.