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Dunn Dunn Fest Brings Three Nights of Americana Music to Chicago

By Paul Biasco | February 19, 2013 1:08pm | Updated on February 19, 2013 2:08pm

LINCOLN PARK — While electronic and indie rock music festivals continue to pop up in Chicago, two music lovers are filling the American and folk rock void with a three-day, three-venue festival in Lakeview and Lincoln Park this week.

"There's a lot of indie festivals, but it's just really lacking those genres that kind of fall under the Americana rock genres," said Donnie Biggins, also known as Harmonica Dunn of the Chicago folk act The Shams Band.

Starting Wednesday night and running through Friday, the first Dunn Dunn Fest will host nine bands over the three days at The Tonic Room Wednesday night, Schubas Tavern Thursday night and at Lincoln Hall Friday night.

"It can be a little nerve-wracking, but it's a fun process," said Patrick Shanley, who is organizing the festival with Biggins. "It's our first year, so we are kind of just shooting from the hip, but we do have some experience in this."

Biggins and Shanley, who runs the music blog Music Attention Deficit Disorder, have helped organize the much larger Chicago Bluegrass and Blues Festival, and while brainstorming for this year's festival decided to branch off on their own.

"We kind of built this three-day event on the ashes of the Chicago Bluegrass and Blues Festival," Shanley said.

While the Chicago Bluegrass and Blues Festival brought in national acts such as Edward Sharp and the Magnetic Zeros, Grace Potter and Dawes, Dunn Dunn Fest is focusing on up-and-coming acts and local talent.

"I'm hoping you will be able to see this community of musicians in Chicago, because it's made by a musician and it's for the musicians," said Biggins, who is scheduled to play with The Shams on Friday night at Lincoln Hall.

Other Chicago area acts performing include Michele McGuire (Wednesday) and Yorkville-based The Giving Tree Band (headlining Friday).

Wednesday night is headlined by Nashville-based The Kicks, and Thursday is headlined by Frontier Ruckus out of Michigan.

Sam Doores + Riley Downing & The Tumbleweeds perform on Friday, and are an act not to miss, Biggins said. The New Orleans-based band is scheduled to tour with Alabama Shakes in March.

"They are definitely someone you are going to be hearing about," Biggins said.

Biggins and Shanley plan on the festival being a yearly event, and hope it can grow.

"Schubas and Lincoln Hall are two of the better venues for live music in the city, so it's kind of a no-brainer," Shanley said. "We wanted to keep it on a smaller scale. The bands in Nashville don't have much of a reputation in Chicago, so we wanted to showcase them."

A three-day pass to the festival is $25, and single-day tickets are $10. Tickets can be bought online through ticketfly.com.