‘It’s called Freakalb for a reason’

By Katie Finlon

Get down with your bad self, and get freaky in DeKalb this weekend.

The third annual Freakalb festival will take start at 7 p.m. Thursday and continued at 7 p.m. Friday and 4 p.m. Saturday at The House Cafe, 263 E. Lincoln Highway.

Tickets are $12 at the door, $10 if pre-ordered or $10 at the door if you donate clothing or canned food for the surrounding area’s food pantries.

The festival’s purpose is to bring people together, support great musicians and donate food and clothing to people who really need it, said Freakalb coordinator Pat Marek.

“I want to throw something genuine, not something that revolves around making money,” Marek said. “The worst part about art and music is when money becomes the most important thing,”

The event itself will feature an art show by Meerk, a photo exhibit by AlPh, live art by KACK and at least five different bands performing per night.

Festivals generally happen in the middle of nowhere, and Freakalb carries the vibe of that type of festival in a less desolate location, said McHenry musician Sean Shiel.

“It’s more like a show than a festival, but more like a festival than a show,” Shiel said. “It’s a nice meshing of both worlds.”

Shiel is one of many music acts performing at the festival, and he will be playing tuner sets or will perform in between each band on Saturday. He will also perform with another band on Saturday, Casa Karma.

The intention is to achieve a wild, welcoming atmosphere surrounded by art and thoughtful, friendly people, Marek said.

Everyone is a friend at Freakalb, even if you’ve never met them before. It’s all about acceptance and enjoyment, said Steve Contreras, manager of the funk-rock jam band Ethereal Groove Inc., which will perform Thursday.

“It’s something that you can’t put into words,” Contreras said. “It’s a feel.”

Whether visual art or music is your cup of tea, there is something for every arts lover in Freakalb.

“If you’ve never been to Freakalb, expect some great music and a wild crowd,” Marek said. “It’s called Freakalb for a reason.”