Fitzgerald’s gets its Irish up for St. Pat’s fest
By Myrna Petlicki For Sun-Times Media March 12, 2014 4:36PM
34th Annual St. Patrick’s Day Festival, starting at 1 p.m. March 15, Fitzgerald’s, 6615 W. Roosevelt Road, Berwyn. $15 ($5 for ages 12 and under). 708-788-2118; fitzgeraldsnightclub.com
Updated: March 12, 2014 4:36PM
The Shannon Rovers are always on the move. They’re the official band of Chicago’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade, and they provided music as Mayor Rahm Emanuel, Jimmy Fallon and some 3,000 other people took the Polar Plunge.
One of their favorite places to rove is Fitzgerald’s in Berwyn. “It’s a neighborhood place, and it’s known for its music,” said Bill McTighe, band manager and a piper with the group since 1967. “Whenever you play in a place that’s known for having good music, it makes you feel good.”
About a dozen members of the 80-plus person group will perform at the Fitzgerald’s 34th Annual St. Patrick’s Day Festival on March 15. They are slated to play inside the club as well as in the outdoor tent, starting at 8 p.m.
The group will perform traditional Irish bagpipe music. “While you may not know those tunes by their name,” McTighe said, “most of them are recognizable when we play them.”
The Shannon Rovers sometimes get requests from listeners but they can’t often fulfill them. “We’ve only got nine notes with no sharps and flats,” McTighe said.
The Dooley Brothers are also scheduled to perform at the fest. They’ll play hourlong sets featuring traditional Irish music, hits from the ’50s and ’60s and original tunes at 7:30 p.m. and 9:15 p.m. inside the club.
The Dooley Brothers also take requests. “If we know it, we’ll do it. If we don’t know it, we’ll do it for money,” Jim Dooley said. Dooley, who lives in the River Forest house where he grew up, plays guitar and banjo. His brother Bill plays guitar, and his brother Mike plays the bass. They’ll be joined at Fitzgerald’s by drummer Ed Breckenfeld and guitarist John Rice.
The full day of festival activities begins in the heated tents with Mayer School Stepdancers, with Paul and Mary McHugh performing from 2-6 p.m. The Chicago-based hillbilly/rockabilly/punk band Cannonball takes over at 6:30 p.m. for a one-hour set. Fred Eaglesmith’s Traveling Steam Show is onstage in the tent from 8-10 p.m., and the Westies take over at 10:30 p.m.
Cannonball moves inside the club at 11 p.m., following the Dooley Brothers’ last set.