Bitter Jester Music Festival

600 Central Ave. Highland Park, IL 60035

Phone: 847.433.8662

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The Bitter Jester Music Festival (BJMF) returns for its 17th 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 p.m. concert series in Downtown Highland Park’s Port Clinton Square on June 2, 3, 9, and 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 – will advance to a 12 p.m. Grand Finale Concert on June 25, following the Taste of Highland Park "at The Lot."

Cash prizes and other awards are given out after winners are announced at the end of the night.

Musicians applications are open through April 30.

The Grand Prize winner takes home $2,000, the Runner-Up gets $1,000, and $500 goes to Honorable Mention - all courtesy of First Bank of Highland Park.

The 2023 season will feature 100 musicians representing approximately fifty different cities and three dozen bands including non-competing showcase artists.

Wine and craft beer will be available to of-age patrons at all concerts as well as a variety of food.

The June Preliminary Concerts take place at Port Clinton Square (600 Central Ave, Highland Park).

The June 25 Grand Finale will be at The Lot (the intersection of St Johns and Central Avenues in Highland Park).

More information at

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