Edgewater Arts Festival

I’ve always been a wallflower, almost to a fault…but today I found it to be a bit of a gift.

Hi everyone, long time, no post (I have a pattern). This post is very stream of conscious and kind of choppy, so please bear with me. I was feeling artsy thanks to the Edgewater Arts Festival.

If you’re in the Chicago area, I highly suggest you stop by tomorrow, September 30th. Come enjoy the live music, the food, and support the local artists in the area. 

Also, please forgive the lack of pictures. My phone died five minutes after I got off the L.


Today I ended up at the Edgewater Arts Festival. I didn’t plan on being there. I had honestly forgotten the festival was even happening. The signs hanging around Edgewater had simply become a part of the neighborhood decor and the dates plastered on the canvas had completely slipped my mind. The only reason I ended up in a sea of artists was because the lovely street of Granville just so happens to be my stop on the L.

I was taking the Red Line, as always, back home from work and got off at the Granville stop without thinking. That has become a daily occurrence for me, not thinking on my ride home on the L. It’s like that phenomenon when you’re driving down a road you’ve taken so many times before, and you arrive safely at your destination without remembering how you got there. You’re just so caught up in the repetitiveness of it that you completely zone.


Zoning on the L has become a bit of a meditation for me over the last month and a half. It’s pretty funny that I’ve found the most zen on the one thing that was causing me the most anxiety when I moved here. The click-click-clicking of the trains on the tracks. The commanding voice of the conductor at each stop. It’s like I breath in the urgency of Chicago and breath out my worries onto the Red Line. I think the way people adapt to public transit is an impressive part of living in a bigger city. People can be completely alone with themselves even though they’re smushed up against strangers with their own thoughts and smells (emphasis on the smells).

I was feeling the refreshing calmness that seems to wash over me after one of those meditative rides. I was also on a mission to go home at this point. It had been a long day. With this in mind, I walked out onto Granville and was suddenly surrounded by artwork. There were standard oil paintings, neon t-shirts with Lincoln’s face one them, maps made out of words, and jewelry with the handcrafted vibe you can only find at art festivals like this one. What really drew me in, however, was the quartet performing on the corner of Granville and Broadway.  The quartet featured an accordionist, a violinist, a cellist and an acoustic guitarist. They were playing classic Italian street music.

Weirdly enough, I think the accordion is one of my top five favorite instruments. They’re kind of wacky and unexpected; I don’t think I’ve ever heard a song on an accordion that didn’t make me feel happy after listening to it. From European street music to polkas, there’s always a romantic whimsy to accordion music. Still in a bit of a trance from my Red Line ride, I sat down and took in a few songs.

An older woman, probably in her early 80s, went up to the front of the foldable chairs and started to full-body sway along to the music. Fall has finally settled in here in Chicago, so she was decked out in her pale taupe overcoat, a brown paisley scarf, and a cane with red and yellow flowers all over it. The final accessory was the big smile on her face that could only be brought on by the true joys of music.

A man who resembled a 1800’s African explorer, full mustache, hat, and all, was smoking a pipe in the first row of seats. He was probably in his late 30s/ early 40s, but that didn’t stop him from standing up and dancing with the little old lady that was embracing the sounds of Italian street music.

It felt as if the woman went back in time, back to a youth none of us had seen or known. She moved slower and had more creases on her face than she probably did when she heard this song for the first time, but she swayed with a wisdom and enjoyment that showed everyone watching she had lived a life filled with music, laughter, and dance.

The magic of that moment sucked me into the art festival instantly. I decided to walk all the way down Granville to the other end of the festival, and appreciate the work of the artists I hadn’t seen yet. Vibrant mandalas and crisp photography were some of the pieces that stuck in my mind as I made my way down towards the other end Granville. Some of the artists were starting to pack up, done with September 29, 2018 and the splendors or spoils it had brought them.

I made it to the food tent where another band was performing. This time, it was a classic rock cover band fully embracing the cords of Bowie’s Space Oddity. It was another great and iconic sound to hear while walking through the crisp fall weather of Chicago. I felt like I had teleported through time. From the 30’s and 40’s to the 60’s and 70’s. I think that’s one of my favorite things about physical art, music, even words written on blog posts like this one. Creativity can transport you anywhere. Another decade; another realm; another perspective.

I’ve had a few moments here in Chicago where my life has felt a bit like a movie. Some days have felt like a scene from a rom com; sometimes a really cheesy coming-of-age movie, but today as I made my way home and the sounds of the quartet playing Un Vie Un Rose wafted behind me, it felt as if I was in my own version of Midnight in Paris. Struck with an overwhelming need for nostalgia but also feeling very much at home in 2018. Whatever the feeling was, it felt right.

I’ve always been a wallflower, almost to a fault. Sometimes it even translates over into my real life. I feel as if I’m a bystander just watching my life pass me by, wondering why this girl just keeps observing instead of doing. Some days, even very recently, I regret this little quirk about myself. But today, I found it to be a bit of a gift. I had the chance to truly absorb the art and the people who are Edgewater. I found myself being thankful that I forgot the Edgewater Arts Festival was today.

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