Music on the Esplanade

Bitter Jester Music Festival- Satellite Series

Classic Rock & Pop

Mondays: June 3  & 10
6 – 7:30 p.m.  

Bitter Jester Music Festival

The Bitter Jester Music Festival in downtown Highland Park is more than a competition, it’s a destination event, complete with music, food, and beverages. 40 musical acts from across the Midwest showcase their virtuosity each season, competing for the ultimate title of Grand Champion. Many BJMF alumni have gone on to perform on Late Night with Seth Myers, Saturday Night Live, and American Jukebox, as well as at Lollapalooza, Riot Fest, South by Southwest, and Ravinia Festival

Discover your next favorite band at the 18th Annual Bitter Jester Music Fest and be able to say "I saw them when..." — Satellite performances featuring BJMF alumni will take place at the Chicago Botanic Garden on June 3 and June 10 as part of the Music on the Esplanade series.  

JUNE 3: Ian Jake Robleza opens for Pete's Diary: Ian Jake Robleza is a 23 year old singer/songwriter from Aurora, IL. He draws from different genres including easy rock, rap, and acoustic pop. Ian hopes to deliver eclectic, energetic, and emotional performances to his audiences, no matter their size. He opens for Pete’s Diary, an independent Chicago rock trio with more than 800k social media followers. Their Keep On Rockin' debut album releases on June 14. Fans of AC/DC, GNR, early Van Halen, and Velvet Revolverwill find a lot to love!

The Pete's Diary name evolved from Peter Dankelson’s medical diary and motivational speaking. Dankelson taught himself to play guitar despite hearing loss, disabilities on his fretting hand, and more than 30 reconstructive surgeries to overcome Goldenhar Syndrome. His autobiography, How I Learned to Rock My Life, is an Amazon bestseller. Dankelson is joined by Mac McRae (lead vocals & bass) and Ryan “Rocky” Johnson (drums). Their enthusiasm and energy on stage is infectious, drawing increasing crowds wherever they play. 

JUNE 10: Rae opens for Heat Above: Originally from Batavia, IL, Rae is an artist now residing in Nashville, TN. With a Western influence, her original writing style blurs genre lines of folk and rock. Performing at gigs, writers' rounds, and shows any chance she gets, rae loves to use music as a tool to connect with others and bring them together. She opens for the pop rock band Heat Above, hailing from Flint, Michigan. Formed in 2021, Heat Above has been setting the stage on fire for the past three years. The collective quickly established itself in the Detroit-area music scene and are now making waves on the university circuit. With infectious energy and insightful lyrics, Heat Above appeals to fans of both classic and new sounds.


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