Irish American Heritage Festival | Music Sidebar | Chicago Reader

Music » Music Sidebar

Irish American Heritage Festival

Men in kilts, a mashed-potato free-for-all, and dozens of bands


Sign up for our newsletters Subscribe


The Irish American Heritage Festival returns to the Irish American Heritage Center (4626 N. Knox) for its 27th year Fri 7/13 through Sun 7/15. For eight bucks per day you can see more than 100 acts—music, dance, theater, comedy, and more—on six indoor and outdoor stages, as well as partake in a bunch of traditional (and not so traditional) Irish festivities. The festival begins at 6 PM on Friday, and though the evening's music lineup is relatively small—the Kreellers, the Dublin City Ramblers, the Great Whiskey Project, Gerry Haughey, and Fonn Mor—I'd be remiss not to point out the mashed-potato-eating contest at 8:30 PM on the Raffle Stage. On Saturday and Sunday, though, when things get started at noon, the number of bands is truly impressive. Saturday's bill includes the Celtic punk of the Tossers, the traditional bagpipes of the Shannon Rovers, and every other kind of Irish music you can imagine, including Young Dubliners, Finbar Fagan, Paddy Homan & Friends, and the Mickey Finns. Among the acts performing Sunday are the Killdares, Derek Warfield & the Young Wolfe Tones, Chancey Brothers, Nineteen Pints, Fast Eddie & Billy O'Donoghue, Mulligan Stew, and Joe McShane & the Silver Bridge Band. The weekend also offers tons of other activities, all Irish themed, including beer, mead, and whiskey tastings; dance performances; used-book sales; stand-up comedy; and a "men in kilts" contest (the "Kilt King" will be crowned on Saturday). There will be traditional Irish food and drink for sale—and did I mention there's a mashed-potato-eating contest on Friday? For more info and full lineups, see Fairs & Festivals listings by day, call 773-282-7035, or visit

Support Independent Chicago Journalism: Join the Reader Revolution

We speak Chicago to Chicagoans, but we couldn’t do it without your help. Every dollar you give helps us continue to explore and report on the diverse happenings of our city. Our reporters scour Chicago in search of what’s new, what’s now, and what’s next. Stay connected to our city’s pulse by joining the Reader Revolution.

Are you in?

  Give $35/month →  
  Give $10/month →  
  Give  $5/month  → 

Not ready to commit? Send us what you can!

 One-time donation  → 

Add a comment