Mayfest gets funk legend for Dillo Day

Jason B. Gumer

The “good docta Funkenstein” is fixin’ to get down with Northwestern students at the Lakefill on Dillo Day.

Rock & Roll Hall of Famer and godfather of funk George Clinton will headline the May 28 event with his group, Parliament Funkadelic.

Clinton’s publicist, Mary Guiragossian, confirmed the performance Tuesday with The Daily. Mayfest co-chairman Doug Singer later verified the headliner and announced three more bands performing: The Black Keys, Matt Nathanson and Acceptance.

Singer, a Weinberg junior, said he could not release the name of a fifth band pending a finalized contract. But the concert news Web site listed the Lakefill venue as a May 28 stop for Ambulance LTD.

Rumors about Clinton’s performance have circulated for a few weeks, despite attempts by A&O Productions and Mayfest, the group that organizes Dillo Day, to keep the lineup quiet until all contracts were finalized.

McCormick freshman Matt Berchtold, a jam band fan, said he knew two weeks ago that Clinton would be playing Dillo Day.

“This is sweet,” he said. “It is going to be a kick-ass show. I have seen Parliament before, and they were awesome.”

Clinton previously performed at NU in 2000. Singer said Clinton is an appropriate performer for Dillo Day.

“George Clinton and Parliament Funkadelic embody the spirit of college more than many other bands do — new and old,” Singer said. “They’re a funk band. They get people moving. They get people dancing. They’re about having a good time.”

Singer said Mayfest is proud to bring a “wide-range of bands” for the day. Acceptance is a punk/emo band, The Black Keys are a blues-rock duo and Matt Nathanson is a singer-songwriter, Singer said. Ambulance LTD has an indie-rock sound, according to,

Clinton founded The Parliaments when he was still in junior high school. The group was a barbershop doo-wop ensemble, and its first major hit was the song “I Wanna Testify,” in 1967.

Clinton began experimenting with alternative rhythms, harmony and melody, and was influenced by the psychedelic movement. His music became defined as funk and is considered to be the foundation for modern hip-hop.

By the early 1970s, funk was born, complete with sprawling jams, psychedelic rhythm, and bizarre beats and sounds. The group dropped the “s” from the end of its name, and Clinton created his second band, Funkadelic, at about the same time.

Parliament and Funkadelic revolutionized music throughout the 1970s, earning four No. 1 hits. In addition, the group scored 40 R&B hit singles.

Clinton now tours with members from both groups under the name P-Funk.

Weinberg freshman Marshall Miller had heard rumors that Clinton was coming, but was also led to suspect several other possible artists.

“This is kind of lame because he is really old. They are going to play ‘Flashlight’ and ‘We Want the Funk,’ but no one is going to know anything else,” he said. “(But) they are a spectacle. There are a lot of people on stage, and it is colorful.”

The first show is scheduled to begin at 2 p.m. on Dillo Day, Singer said, and P-Funk is expected to perform at about 8:30 p.m.

The Daily’s Erin Stock contributed to this article.

Reach Jason B. Gumer at [email protected]