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Tour De Fat Leaving Palmer Square For Northerly Island

By Mina Bloom | March 21, 2017 5:46pm
 Tour de Fat bike ring.
Tour de Fat bike ring.
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DNAinfo/Alisa Hauser

PALMER SQUARE — Tour de Fat, a zany bike, beer and music festival that has called Palmer Square Park home for years, is moving to Northerly Island this year.

For its 18th year, the New Belgium-sponsored fest will take over Huntington Bank Pavilion at Northerly Island, 1300 S. Linn White Dr., on July 29 from 4-9 p.m., organizers announced Tuesday afternoon.

Organizers are moving the fest Downtown to accommodate for more people and ultimately raise more money for the festival's nonprofit partners, according to Jenny Foust, a spokeswoman for the festival.

Plus, popular hip-hop group The Roots is scheduled to headline this year's festival — a departure from past years, when small or local bands like Mucca Pazza and Dr. Dog were considered the festival's biggest acts.

Founded by Questlove and Tariq "Black Thought" Trotter and Ahmir "Questlove" Thompson in the early 1990s, the hip-hop group is perhaps best known for being the house band on "The Tonight Show" with Jimmy Fallon.

Tour de Fat has grown exponentially from its days as a boutique festival. Today, it travels to 33 cities across the country.

This year organizers are bringing in bigger name acts at each stop like Third Eye Blind and The All-American Rejects. Like past years, the festival will benefit nonprofits in each city.

“This is one of the greatest ways we can give back to local communities,” said Sam Sawyer, the festival's brand manager, in a prepared statement.

“Not only do folks get a great event with top musical acts and plenty of spectacle, local non-profits get a cash injection and the opportunity to share their message. It’s like a win-win-and win-again scenario. This is without a doubt some of the most fun we have all year.”

Organizers couldn't immediately say how long the fest has called Palmer Square Park, 2200 N. Kedzie Ave., home. But questions on whether the fest should stay in Palmer Square Park were swirling around in 2015, when the Palmer Square Park Advisory Council identified the regulation of large-scale events as a priority moving forward.

The 2014 Tour de Fat left a portion of the grass at the park "ruined" for two months, according to Palmer Square Park Advisory Council president Michael Warner. New Belgium promptly offered to pay $73,000 to resod the park.

For more information, and to buy tickets to this year's festival, visit Tour de Fat's website.