Musicians from local bands see each other frequently at bars and clubs.
Now, seven of them are uniting for an inaugural music festival they hope turns into an annual event.
The Southside Shindig Music Fest will take place on Saturday, Aug. 10, at 115 Bourbon Street in Merrionette Park. Doors will open at 3 p.m., with bands playing from 3:30 p.m. until midnight. Tickets are $20, and attendees must be 21 or older.
According to organizer Eddie Hennessy, the front man for The Dead Bolts, bands will play original music in rock ’n’ roll, folk and country. An art gallery featuring photos and paintings will also be on display, with pieces for sale.
“Every band is working with the photography community,” Hennessy said, “because they show up to our shows and get some good footage. So, we figured we’d throw them a bone.”
Hennessy, 21, is a North Beverly resident, and all the bands have South Side connections, he said.
The Dead Bolts, a rock band, will join Harlem Natural, Pat Egan and The Heavy Hearts, The Dead Licks, Motel Breakfast, and the Railway Gamblers in playing 50-minute sets, with South City Revival playing 90 minutes as the headliner to close out the night.
Hennessy, a Christ the King Elementary School and St. Rita High School graduate, teamed up with John Rolence (backup vocals, guitar), Matthew Paske (lead guitar), Tyler Hancock (bass) and James Ryan (drums) to form The Dead Bolts last year.
Rolence and Ryan were formerly part of The Bolts, who dazzled local audiences with their skills as youngsters, including making people stop in their tracks while playing at the Beverly Breast Cancer Walk.
Hennessy met them through friends. The new band has already written about 13 original songs, and they’re currently working at Treehouse Records Studio in Chicago to record a 10-song LP.
“They’re all fantastic musicians,” Hennessy said. “When we got together at the beginning of last summer, we saw we could be a little bit more than a cover band. I had written a lot of music and starting showing it to them, and the next thing you know, we’re in the studio. It kind of snowballed from there.”
Jimmy Drenovsky, who is the lead singer and plays rhythm guitar for Motel Breakfast, is also helping to organize the fest. He said older bands, such as Railway Gamblers and South City Revival, have taken his group “under their wing” the last couple years, and since the winter he had been eager to plan the festival.
Drenovsky, 23, of Evergreen Park, joins Mickey O’Donnell (lead guitar), Conor Brennan (keyboard), Jesse Nasadowski (drums) and Drue deVente (bass) in the band, which formed to play dive bars and basements in the winter of 2016-17. All of them are from the South Side except deVente, who is a native of Columbus, Ohio.
They said their influences “extend across genres,” and they’ve written over 20 original songs, with about 12 set for an album they’re completing.
Drenovsky, a Queen of Martyrs Elementary School and St. Rita High School graduate, is thrilled that so many local bands are writing their own material and performing it locally.
“I think it’s crazy exciting,” said. “It’s not something that I think a lot of us thought was an option—to be on the South Side and doing that.”
Venues on the North Side are usually more popular for up-and-coming bands, but Drenovsky feels like his band and other are “revitalizing” the local music scene.
“There’s a lot of excitement and energy to original music,” Drenovsky said, “because there’s a lot of people trying to put their own energy and ideas out there.”
Drenovsky and O’Donnell wrote many of Motel Breakfast’s first original songs, but all the members are now contributing, Drenovsky said.
He’s excited about where the band is headed in its songwriting.
“It’s starting to be more of a group effort,” he said.
Tickets to the Southside Shindig Music Fest will be available online and at the door.
Artist submissions are still being accepted.
For more information, visit the Southside Shindig Music Fest page on Facebook.