25th year of Ridge Fest to fill weekend with rock, country
By Steve Metsch firstname.lastname@example.org July 24, 2014 7:54PM
Updated: August 26, 2014 6:11AM
The 25th edition of Ridge Fest will bring a mix of music and, Chicago Ridge Mayor Chuck Tokar is hoping, better weather Thursday through Sunday.
Last year, unseasonably cool weather hurt the festival when usually big draw Ted Nugent took the stage on a Saturday night. Crowds were down. So were beer sales. Fewer people and fewer suds sold means less money for the village.
“The first two times Ted was out here, he did tremendous for us. We went to the well a third time and thought he would do great. He probably would have but we had temperatures of 58 degrees in July. It was horrible. I couldn’t believe it. That wasn’t a good year for us, but those things happen,” Tokar said.
So Nugent won’t return this year. But this year’s lineup offers a mix of pop, rock, metal and country, one which Tokar thinks should prove attractive to people. He should know, as he’s been putting the festival together since it began a quarter century ago when he was the village clerk.
The festival is at Freedom Park, located south of the Metra tracks and a few blocks east of Ridgeland Avenue.
Warrant was big in the 1990s with songs like “Cherry Pie,” “Sometimes She Cries” and “Heaven.”
Friday is “more of a party rock night” Tokar said, with Your Villian My Hero followed by Yacht Rock Revue, a band from the East Coast.
Saturday night, July 26 marks a first for Ridge Fest: All country/Southern rock on the stage.
“We’ve got a band that’s huge, especially in Canada, their native country, called Emerson Drive. They’ve had a number of hit songs in the Canadian Country Music Awards. Doesn’t that sound strange, Canadian country music? But they’re tremendous, they really are,” Tokar said.
Blackberry Smoke follows Emerson Drive. Tokar described the band as “a sort of a cross between Lynyrd Skynyrd and early Doobie Brothers.” The band has toured with Skynyrd, according to its web site.
This year being the 50th anniversary of the Beatles crossing the pond, that rock milestone will be celebrated American English, a Chicago area favorite and one of the top Beatles tribute bands in the world, on July 27.
Opening is Chicago 6, a cover band which features three players from the Bears team that won the Super Bowl after the 1985 season, Dan Hampton, Otis Wilson, and Steve McMichael. The late Walter Payton played for the band back in the ‘80s.
As in past years, there will be the Super Sunday Family Fun Day which offers free admission for Chicago Ridge residents. There will be plenty of carnival rides, food booths, beverages and carny games. The $40 “mega pass” allows unlimited carnival rides during Ridge Fest.
Hours are 5:30 to 10:30 Thursday, 5:30 to 11:30 p.m. Friday, 3 to 11:30 p.m. Saturday and 2 to 10:30 p.m. Sunday. Admission is $5 on Thursday, $10 on Friday, $12 on Saturday and $5 on Sunday. Children ages 11 and younger get in for free. Visit www.chicagoridge.org for more information.