Bob Mould, leader of both the legendary 1980s punk band Hüsker Dü and successful ‘90s alt-rock group Sugar, brings his vast collection of classic songs to Square Roots. Bob will have his band in tow featuring Jason Narducy (Split Single) and Jon Wurster (Superchunk), so be prepared to rock!
Deep Sea Diver’s music is a work of sublime highs and mesmerizing lows, its restless intensity both unsettling and transcendent. “A restless mix of surprisingly catchy pop hooks, sing-along choruses and incisive indie rock with Jessica Dobson’s strong, expressive vocals careening above layered guitars, drums and keyboards.” - American Songwriter
Just a 5 piece outlaw country band from around these parts!
Chicago’s ÉSSO made a splash by leveraging their influences and invoking polystylistic sounds from the same urban streets that birthed House music and potent movements in slam poetry, punk rock, and free jazz. Drawing on these raw influences, the band effortlessly fuse Latin roots music with modern Americana into a rhythmic sancocho that fills dance floors.
A rare and remarkable musical duo with undeniable magical chemistry, The Reminders transcend the bounds of expectation to uplift and entertain. They seamlessly blend razor sharp rhythms and raw, soulful vocals with reggae-tinged hip-hop beats to highlight their relevant and inspiring messages.
Steve Dawson’s popular RPA Ensemble class moves it out of the classroom and onto the stage. In Rock Pop Acoustic Ensemble, students have a great time while improving technique, building song repertoire, and even performing at Square Roots! "mysteriously named ... totally charming…a serious musicianship class masquerading as a social club.” - No Depression Magazine
A legendary live band with a rabid following, the Washington Post called GBV “the Grateful Dead equivalent for people who like Miller Lite instead of acid!” The band’s present-day line-up, with captain Robert Pollard at the helm, is nothing less than a new Golden Age of GBV.
The instant pop melodies and infectious punk energy of Chicago trio DEHD have elevated this dynamic group to indie sensation status. Their super catchy music captures and shares the precarious balance between real life and real hope in a unique and uplifting way.
The Cactus Blossoms broke out nationally in 2016 with their debut, You’re Dreaming, leading to raves from the New York Times and NPR, who praised “the brothers’ extraordinary singing.” David Lynch then tapped them to perform in the return of Twin Peaks, and Rolling Stone lauded the duo’s “rock-solid, freak of genetics harmonies.”
If you enjoy R&B and Soul music, you’ll fall in love with Gerald “Soulkeeper” McClendon and his extraordinary style of performing the standards of classic soul music from record labels like Motown, Stax, and Atlantic.
Los Gallos play a danceable blend of Tex–Mex, Cumbia and American roots music. Blending their diverse musical backgrounds and influences, Los Gallos came together over their shared love of both Mexican and American roots music.
Jarochicanos formed in 2008 as a youth workshop to learn the musical tradition of Son Jarocho. The community based projects of Jarochicanos are a direct response to the uprooting of our communities’ cultural and historical knowledge. Jarochicanos strives to create spaces in our urban, American setting where these past ways of life and historical knowledge can be shared, practiced, and remembered.
Combining punk abandon and tightly-coiled dance music has always been bonded into Chk Chk Chk’s DNA. It’s this core plus their growth and mastery of songwriting that has seen them outlive the mid-2000s ‘indie/dance punk’ tag. Get ready to get down!!!
Aeon Station is “the bittersweet solo debut from Kevin Whelan—formerly of the Wrens...rousing, unabashedly sentimental indie rock...that stakes out a sweet spot between the anthemic and the intimate.” (Pitchfork) Whelan’s music recalls the wisdom of Bruce Springsteen, Broken Social Scene’s anthemic burn, and the Wrens’ own pulsing-with-life take on rock music.
"Tobacco City mixes cosmic country with psychedelic choogle...honky tonk meets the soul revue. Like the Chicago band's namesake, a slow smoke hangs in the air, heavy with heartbreak and feather-blue eyeshadow, but puts a brave face on.” - NPR "Heavily perfumed in a lingering tang of draft beer, empty barstools, and lonesome jukebox phantasms.” - Aquarium Drunkard
Sleepy Gaucho’s discerning brand of Panamerican influenced folk music floats somewhat aimlessly in a realm of its own. Born in Wisconsin while also growing up some time in Argentina, the young multi-instrumentalist’s music can at times be melancholic, at others ethereal, but always agreeable.
Win Noll is sensational and captivating; audiences can’t get enough of her authentic, soulful sound, and her band’s eclectic mix and interpretation of blues, rock, soul, and funk.
A variety of classic rock, post-punk/new wave, psychedelic, goth, experimental-pop, etc., lovingly curated by teaching artist Tommi Zender. CBGB to 4AD; Talking Heads to Radiohead. Similar to the KROQ “Morning Becomes Eclectic” radio show. You don't want to eat the same thing everyday, do you?!
Indika Reggae Band is one of the most innovative and influential reggae bands in the Midwest with an expansive musical repertoire that also encompasses soca, calypso, punta, dancehall, R&B, jazz, kompa, in addition to reggae.
Come get down to the disco-boogie meets funky new-wave punk of Chicago’s own Family of Geniuses!
Rapper and songwriter Vanessa Ortiz is the Chicago native and Latinx artist behind Ness Heads. From the influence of hip-hop at her childhood home in West Humboldt Park, she has expanded out and tied in alternative rock and punk into the melting pot while singing and rapping over unique beats.
Enjoy an Electro-acoustic sound bath with Chromabeats. Feel free to bring a blanket or yoga mat and lie on the floor or take a seat and enjoy a nice break away from the sun to meditate, focus on breath, and enjoy an ambient soundscape. Featuring Old Town School teaching artist Marshall Greenhouse and Wiebe Ophorst.
Dwaal Troupe is a noisy and melodious indie pop group made up of four teenagers from Chicago. Influenced by power pop, indie rock, and the Elephant 6 collective, they blend a lofi aesthetic with narrative lyrics for a fresh, new twist.
Many of our Teen Arts Collectives members and Teen Rock Ensembles regularly play this show. You will also hear performances by students who study with our wonderful Private Lessons faculty!
Introduce your child to the world of music with Old Town School of Folk Music's Wiggleworms®, the perfect place to connect to music and make new friends.
Bring the fam into the Kid Zone for some Muppet Show classics with longtime Old Town School teaching artist, composer, and multi-instrumentalist Charles Kim. It’s time to get things started!
Teen String Band is a great for young musicians who are looking to expand their playing experience with a focus on Old Time and Americana music. As a part of the Teen String Band, students pursue their instrument while learning to play in a group. Stop by the Kids Stage and listen to what they’ve learned!
Promenade left, then do-si-do right into the Kid Zone for a rollicking good time at the Family Barn Dance featuring the sounds of the Silver Trotters!
Bring out your tight jeans and big feels for a dive into the anthems and riffs of emo and pop-punk. We will play songs by Green Day, Fall Out Boy, Olivia Rodrigo, and more. Learn to play along with the thrashing guitar parts and catchiest of melodies, and join in on the exhilarating energy you’ve always craved! Bring your acoustic or electric guitar & small practice amp.
The hair, the chops, the calico, the twang, and the heartbreak. This song bag celebrates the women who paved the way. Tammy Wynette, Dolly Parton, Emmylou Harris, Loretta Lynn, Patsy Cline, June Carter Cash, Wanda Jackson, and more! Bring your voice, your guitar, your boots, and a hanky and go on a musical journey into yesteryear with Old Town’s own Honky Tonk Girl, Lisa Joy DeRosia.
"Somehow, we have tapped the strength, the beauty, the longevity of the songs we sing and channeled these qualities into a gathering place we call the Old Town School of Folk Music." - Win Stracke Celebrate the traditions that Win Stracke started all those years ago at the Old Town School.
The country simplicity that imbues Hayes Carll’s songs can sometimes hide the social conscience and sharp humor that also runs through them. He exists in a singer-songwriter space of his own, informed by John Prine, Tom Waits, and Dylan but also by Randy Travis, Kenny Rogers, and Hank Williams, Jr.
NPR calls Lilly Hiatt’s music “courageous and affecting,” while The Independent raved about Hiatt’s “gift for unpicking knotty lyrical themes in a personalized blend of countrified rock music,” and Rolling Stone hailed her latest album as “the most cohesive and declarative statement of the young songwriter’s career.”
Wild Pink plays "synth-heightened heartland rock...wired for maximum impact...songs like aerial shots of the Grand Canyon...keyboards that sparkle and glisten as if queued to a light show...indie rock at its most instantly gratifying and undemanding.” - Pitchfork
Quique Escamilla was born and raised in the tropical southern lands of the state of Chiapas, Mexico. "Quique represents a modern version of a Pan-American troubadour fusing traditional Mexican styles such as ranchera and huapango with rock and reggae done in an unassuming way built upon solid musicianship…” – SONGLINES Magazine, UK
Rosalba Valdez is a Mexican singer-songwriter from Chicago with a passion for uplifting others through her endeavors. She grew up in an environment of activism and community engagement, and that comes through in her music.
Azania Drum Core represents leadership, dedication, and a willingness to learn and work as a team through West African music. Started in 2000 by Baba Meshach Silas and Mama Ann Ward, and housed at Betty Shabazz International Charter School, Azania added an entirely new element of culture, creativity, and history to Chicago by catering to children who want to learn how to play djembe and dunduns.
Formed by Maceo Haymes and Nick Hennessy, Chicago soul band The O’My’s have etched out an important place in the city’s music scene. From collaborations with Chance The Rapper and BJ The Chicago Kid to TDE’s Ab-Soul, The O’My’s bring a traditionally vintage sound to a new era of music in seamless fashion.
The Altons are a soul rock group with a twist of Latin inspired flavors and rhythms. Their music is driven by intense grooves from the rhythm section that will bring you to your feet, while soulful leads inspire lovers to dance a little closer. Expect a fun and energetic time!
Bnny’s music is a chronicle of love at its most complex and loss at its most persistent. "The debut LP from the Chicago indie-rock band Bnny has the sound of an empty bedroom...'Everything' is a beautiful record from wall to wall, comfort food for heartbroken insomniacs.” - Pitchfork
Minor Moon's Sam Cantor writes resonant journeys into songs. Across three albums culminating in Tethers, the Chicago-based musician has mined the pastoral and rollicking sounds of cosmic country for contemplative and thrilling songwriting, conjuring up engaging Neil Young grooves, eye-opening atmospherics, and a healthy amount of Midwestern twang.
The Dirty Nines are a band based in Chicago that combine a folk-rock feel, vocal harmonies, driving rhythms, with a dash of psychedelic and funk.
Old Town School’s Uncovered Series celebrates the music of John Prine! Come enjoy interpretations and re-imaginations of the incredible songs of one of Old Town School’s favorite former students!
The Lawrence Peters Outfit play un-ruined country music, a term Lawrence coined to describe the band’s original, deep-rooted, honky tonk sound featuring his own finely crafted originals, and cherry-picked classics. The band is a super-group of Chi-Town pickers: Matt Gandurski on lead guitar, John Huber on rhythm guitar, and Josh Piet on upright bass.
Ephraim Bugumba is a musician and refugee of the 1999 Congolese massacre. His family spent years living nomadically, finding solace and comfort in spiritual hymns. His storytelling and songwriting is authentic, vulnerable, and draws from elements of AfroPop, Electronica, and R&B but is uniquely his own.
Hannah Mayree’s music incorporates African rhythms and European and American folk traditions to express the profound mystery contained within all beings. Raised in a mixed race family, her music connects urban and rural ways of life and reconsiders the boundaries between the masculine and feminine, the world of matter and the world of spirit.
Ann Torralba, aka Little Miss Ann, is an award-winning Chicago kids musician, a former Chicago Public School teacher, an instructor at Chicago’s iconic Old Town School of Folk Music, a mom, and a first generation Filipina American. Upbeat and energetic on stage, Little Miss Ann has shows her true passion and love for family music.
The Sullivan Sisters have dazzled audiences since childhood with their unique blend of sister harmonies and fast bluegrass picking. Born and raised in North Carolina, and now teens living in the Chicago area, they have been featured on the Woodsongs Old Time Radio Hour, the Chicago Bluegrass Legends concert series, and the Banjo After Dark series.
Join Mr. Will as he sings songs for the kiddos on the Sunnyside Family Stage!
Bring the whole crew by the Family Stage for some uplifting and energetic West African Dance with Idy and Josh!
Raised in Rio de Janeiro, Dill Costa is one of Chicago’s best samba instructors and performers representing the authentic Carnaval tradition that is part of Brazil’s rich musical legacy. Join her for this fun and energetic workshop!
Step out of the sun and into the Old Town School’s East Lobby for a belly dance workshop with renowned Middle Eastern dance specialist, Erika Ochoa!