The stretch of North Rockwell Street along the Chicago River will be choogling with psychedelic country tunes this weekend. Cult favorite revue Cosmic Country Showcase expands its universe to host an all-day party: The Cosmic Country Cookout will take place this coming Sunday, July 24, at the new Judson and Moore Distillery (3057 N. Rockwell St.) in Avondale.
The fest will feature live music, an artisan market, and food from Lonesome Rose (2101 N. California Ave.) and Pretty Cool Ice Cream (2353 N. California Ave.).
Musical artists will include experimental country outlaw singer-songwriter Dougie Poole, North Carolina-based funk act Boulevards and Chicago’s own Tobacco City, who have opened for country legends like Orville Peck and Emmylou Harris. Also headlining will be “queer country’s grandpappy” Patrick Haggerty, whose group, Lavender Country, released the first openly gay country album in 1973.
“Like Grand Ole Opry But Really Psychedelic”
“It’s like Grand Ole Opry but really psychedelic and really crazy,” said organizer Sully Davis of the Cosmic Country Showcase, which he started as a country covers night with partner Dorian Gehring while working as a talent booker at The Hideout. The quarterly showcase often features leading alt country artists, as well as comedians, drag performers and other variety acts.
Cosmic Country And Country Camp
Actor and visual artist Mary Williamson, who is also appearing at the cookout, often plays host. She has adopted a variety of extraterrestrial guises for past showcases, including a space racoon and a giant praying mantis dressed as Dolly Parton. Performances have also included duets by singers in a two-person horse costume and a troupe of dancing, multicolored cacti.
“There is something about cosmic country and country camp that is so much fun,” said Davis. “It’s like, how silly can we get playing around with all the different tropes of country and making fun of it while still honoring it?”
“[The cookout] is a culmination of the Cosmic Country Showcase, a big party with all the people we love and have gotten to know over the years,” he said. “It’s not the country show you think you’d be going to if your friend invited you to a country festival.”
Tickets for the Cosmic Country Cookout are $15 and available at the door. More information is available on Eventbrite here.
Featured photo: Sully Davis