When you hear the word festival it is reasonable to think of theatrical and produced musical moments, a constant yet thrilling reverberation of bass, or large fields of people. While the prototypical festival experience may fulfill much of this criteria, a festival may take whatever form it pleases.
Founded in Bolingbrook, IL, Sonderland is the brainchild of Ellie Hahn. Her vision was to showcase local music and art throughout Illinois, while also fundraising for good cause. Chicagoland Rape Victim Advocates received all of the proceeds earned from the event, only further demonstrating Hahn’s selfless nature. Held in the close-quartered venue that was Ellie’s home, Sonderland managed to hone in on something truly special: the beauty of unbridled love and creativity.
A wide array of genres were represented at each stage. The garage generally displayed more lush and active compositions. House DJs, Bedroom Indie Pop, and Jazz Fusion were all proudly displayed within the colorful confines of the garage. The wide-ranging perspectives shown at this stage were perfectly paired with a community mural as a backdrop. Jackson Davis and Templeton Vibes were particular standout performers with their deliberate, yet spontaneous-sounding compositions.
The second stage in the back showcased a more minimal and personal sound. CONA’s passionate, yet fun-loving rock set was wildly entertaining, and CJ Run’s personal and poetic hip-hop set was a perfect cap on the night. Their relentless flow coupled with their laid-back demeanor made for an experience that was both astounding and profoundly human.
At the end of the day, you do not need bright lights, huge pieces of land, or even the craziest budget to make something special. All you really need is a vision and some motivation. If you work hard and allow others to lend you a hand, anything is possible.