What To See at the WIIL Rock Festival This Weekend

The third annual rock festival in Twin Lakes has plenty of shows—for just $42.

Photo: Courtesy All That Remains

Chicago music nerds will have no shortage of shows to attend over the next few days (Alice in Chains, Jane’s Addiction, Shinedown and Volbeat all play this weekend). I say, skip two of them (Thursday’s Uproar Festival and Friday’s Carnival of Madness, which are over-puffed, big budget productions), and save yourself for Saturday’s laidback and independent WIIL Rock Fest.

The festival, which returns for its third year to the Shadow Hill Ranch fairgrounds just over the border in Twin Lakes, is curated and hosted by Kenosha-based 95.1 WIIL Rock. It remains one of the only true rock stations left for the metro area (Chicagoans can listen to broadcasts online and through a mobile app) after classics like Q101 and 103.5 The Rock fizzled and burned over the past decade. If that isn’t reason enough to check out the festival here are seven more:

  • It’s only $42 (and that’s for 16 bands on four stages); $99 platinum passes also get you free parking, private bars and bathrooms, and a VIP buffet.
  • Local bands like south side metal-ers SOiL and modern rockers Lovehammers join a lineup that also features bands like Nonpoint and Trapt, who rarely tour through this market.
  • WIIL Rock partnered with the Rock Allegiance Tour to bring forth ace headliners including rockabilly ruckus band Volbeat, Finnish dark knights HIM and melodic metalcore group All That Remains.
  • It’s only a one-day affair so there’s less of a chance of burnout (we’ve been doing festivals since late May, after all). Although in future years, programming director John Perry says that he hopes to expand the festival to a three-day, camping affair—if you like that sort of thing.
  • The ReverbNation Stage gives 10 local, unsigned bands a chance to shine at a major festiva. Our pick: Rockford-based Mind Drop, which is fronted by hardcore frontwoman Shauna Lisse. Catch them at 12:45 p.m.
  • The WIIL Rock Stage will feature interviews with the bands on the lineup. Unlike other festivals, it’s open for public viewing.
  • Comedy/metal troupe Psychostick will keep the festivities going with an after party on the WIIL Rock Stage beginning at 11:20 p.m.

WIIL Rock Fest gets started at 10:00 a.m. on Saturday, August 24 at Shadow Hill Ranch, 2305 Lance Drive in Twin Lakes, Wisconsin. Tickets are $42-99 and available here.

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