Lake County, Illinois, CVB - Official Travel Site - Bitter Jester Music Festival

Bitter Jester Music Festival

600 Central Ave. Highland Park, IL 60035

Phone: 847.433.8663

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The Bitter Jester Music Festival (BJMF) returns for its 16th season of live concerts this summer! BJMF is recognized for showcasing over 100 exceedingly talented emerging musicians from across the Midwest each year at its free weekly 6:30pm concert series in Downtown Highland Park’s Port Clinton Square on Fridays (May 20 & 30 + June 3 & 10).

The festival is a competition where bands of all shapes and sizes as well as solo musicians compete in front of live audiences. A panel of music and media professionals select a winner each week. The four winners – plus four additional “Wild Card” bands selected by BJMF producers – advance to a 3:45 pm Grand Finale Concert on July 4. Cash prizes and other awards are given out before the City of Highland Park's fireworks display.

Musicians applications are open through April 23. The Grand Prize winner takes home $1000, the Runner-Up gets $750, and $500 goes to Honorable Mention.

The 2022 season will feature 100 musicians representing approximately fifty different cities and over two dozen bands including non-competing showcase artists. Wine and craft beer will be available to of-age patrons at the Friday concerts in downtown Highland Park.

The May and June Friday performances take place at Port Clinton Square (600 Central Ave, Highland Park). The July 4 Grand Finale is hosted at Wolters Field (1080 Park Ave. West, Highland Park). More information at

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