The U. of C. Folk Festival celebrates 60 years on Valentine’s weekend | Gossip Wolf

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Mariachi Sirenas perform at the U. of C. Folk Festival on Saturday, February 15. - COURTESY THE ARTIST

  • Mariachi Sirenas perform at the U. of C. Folk Festival on Saturday, February 15.
  • Courtesy the artist

The University of Chicago Folklore Society has been booking marquee acts at its annual winter Folk Festival since 1960—the first one featured legends Roscoe Holcomb, the Stanley Brothers, Willie Dixon, and Elizabeth Cotten. Coming to Mandel Hall on Friday, February 14, and Saturday, February 15, the festival’s 60th edition includes Pennsylvania-born traditional bluegrass pickers Danny Paisley & the Southern Grass, Cajun accordion powerhouse the Jimmy Breaux Trio, Tennessee golden-era country squad Bill & the Belles, fiddle-piano duo Medicine Line (who specialize in music of the Métis people along the western U.S.-Canada border), local Cuban dance band Orquesta Charangueo, and Mariachi Sirenas, who bill themselves as “Chicago’s First All-Women Mariachi.” Evening concerts are ticketed, but the workshops and jam sessions at Ida Noyes Hall from 10 AM to 5 PM on Saturday are all free. For tickets and info, visit

  • Mariachi Sirenas perform “La Reina Es el Rey.”

  • Medicine Line perform “Empty Canoe.”

In case you’re like Gossip Wolf and can’t afford tickets to Sunday’s NBA All-Star Game at the United Center, there are lots of related activities on the block. You could camp out for the Joe Freshgoods New Balance gear drop, but this wolf recommends Sunday afternoon’s Metro show—the bonkers lineup includes Polo G, G Herbo, Calboy, NLE Choppa, Ann Marie, Tink, Dreezy, and SBG Kemo. Tickets are $41 and benefit Polo G’s Amateur Athletic Union basketball team, the Boys & Girls Club of Chicago, and depression-awareness nonprofit Erika’s Lighthouse.

On Saturday, February 15, Mississippi Records hosts the first annual Marz Record Fair at Marz Community Brewing’s McKinley Park headquarters. The fair’s dozen-plus vendors include several local labels (International Anthem, Black Pegasus, Maximum Pelt) and record stores (Tone Deaf, Electric Jungle, Shady Rest); some sellers will also DJ throughout the day. The event runs from noon till 8 PM.  v

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