Milwaukee Avenue Arts Festival Free

When: July 31-Aug. 2 2009

The inaugural Milwaukee Avenue Arts Festival runs Friday from 4 till 11 PM, Saturday from noon till 11 PM, and Sunday from noon till 10 PM on three miles of Milwaukee between California and Ridgeway. Attractions at the free fest include more than a dozen sidewalk cafes, family entertainment on the Liberty Stage (2392 N. Milwaukee), movies curated by the Chicago Independent Film Festival (2733 N. Milwaukee), nearly 200 artists in more than 20 venues (among them a few empty storefronts converted into impromptu galleries), and four stages of music ranging from rock and hip-hop to jazz and folk.

Highlights on the Whistler Stage (at Milwaukee, Logan, and Kedzie, near the Illinois Centennial Monument) include the Scotland Yard Gospel Choir and Jim Becker of Califone on Friday; Bird Names, White Mystery, and Allá on Saturday; and Cave and the Golden Horse Ranch Square Dance Band on Sunday. Bookings on the Crown Tap Stage (2821 N. Milwaukee) include Mass Shivers, Michael Columbia, and jazz flutist Nicole Mitchell on Saturday and I Kong Kult, Vertikal, and Puerto Muerto on Sunday. The Chicago ARTillery Stage (2764 N. Milwaukee), programmed by the Know Art Collective Gallery, presents an eclectic mix of hip-house, Latin blues, ambient, reggae, samba funk, and more beginning at 5 PM all three days. And the Spirit of the Square Stage (in the Norwegian Lutheran Church at 2614 N. Kedzie) presents a Saturday program of mostly church music, with a set by the Blue Ribbon Glee Club at 5 PM.

A free trolley runs the length of the festival throughout the weekend, and the Logan Square Farmers Market will be open as usual on Sunday from 10 AM to 3 PM at the southeast corner of Logan and Milwaukee. —Kevin Warwick

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