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Mayor Rahm Emanuel and the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE) are pleased to announce the highlights of Millennium Park’s 2019 summer season running from May through September. Millennium Park will offer programming celebrating the Year of Chicago Theatre, traditional favorites like the Chicago Gospel Music Festival, Chicago Blues Festival, Summer Music Series, Summer Film Series and SummerDance Celebration, in addition to dozens of free concerts, events, family activities, nature programs, workouts, public art and more.
“This summer, millions of Chicago residents and visitors will flock to Millennium Park to experience world class theatre, music, art and culture for free throughout the summer,” said Mayor Rahm Emanuel. “Summer programming in Millennium Park is one of many reasons that it is the number one attraction in the Midwest.”
2019 is the Year of Chicago Theatre, and Millennium Park will be celebrating with theatre residencies, movies and family events throughout the summer. A series of weekly Millennium Park Theatre Residencies will bring local theatre performances into the Park from July to October. Also, in conjunction with the Year of Chicago Theatre, DCASE has partnered with 13 local theatre companies to co-produce this summer’s Millennium Park Summer Film Series (Tuesdays, June 4–August 20). Companies include About Face Theatre, Aguijón Theater, Black Ensemble Theater, Chicago Children’s Theatre, Chicago Shakespeare Theater, Court Theatre, eta Creative Arts, Free Street Theater, Goodman Theatre, Lookingglass Theatre Company, Rivendell Theatre Ensemble, Steppenwolf Theatre Company, Teatro Vista and Victory Gardens Theater. The full schedule including movie titles will be announced this spring.
“Located in the heart of the city, Millennium Park offers a beautiful gathering place for all to linger and enjoy,” said Mark Kelly, Commissioner of the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events. “We encourage everyone to discover Chicago Theatre, our great music legacy, Latin American arts and culture, dancing, the art collection of architecture and landscape design that provides the perfect backdrop for hundreds of free cultural programs.”
Other highlights of the summer season are several events celebrating Latinx arts and culture. On Sunday, June 30, the Mariachi Heritage Foundation will co-produce the 5th Annual Chicago Mariachi Festival. The Mexican Indigenous Music Festival co-produced by the Old Town School of Folk Music and Cenzontles will take place Sunday, July 21, and on August 27, México en el Corazón will take place once again. Additionally, the Millennium Park Music Series will feature multiple Latinx artists, and two of the Millennium Park Film Series movies will be co-produced with partners Teatro Vista and Aguijón Theater.
Visitors will enjoy a premier experience at all of this summer’s programming at the Jay Pritzker Pavilion. After 15 years as one of the world’s best outdoor concert sound systems, the speakers and audio control systems at the Jay Pritzker Pavilion have been completely upgraded for the 2019 season. The new upgraded system represents the cutting edge of audio technology—once again elevating the Pavilion as one of the world’s finest outdoor audio experience. The $2.5 million upgrade was 100% supported by Millennium Park Foundation donors and through the generosity of the Pritzker Family Endowment managed by the Millennium Park Foundation.
The 2019 Millennium Park summer season is produced by DCASE and its programming collaborators and is supported by the Millennium Park Foundation and others.
Millennium Park is Chicago’s town square and the anchor of an urban cultural campus that includes the Chicago Cultural Center, Maggie Daley Park and the Art Institute of Chicago. Opened in 2004, Millennium Park is a 24.5-acre urban park in the heart of downtown Chicago, home to the iconic Cloud Gate (also known as “The Bean”) sculpture by Anish Kapoor, Crown Fountain designed by Jaume Plensa, the Frank Gehry-designed Jay Pritzker Pavilion, the internationally-acclaimed Lurie Garden and more.
Live music has been a hallmark of Millennium Park since its founding, and this 15th summer season is no exception. DCASE and its partners are pleased to present a diverse lineup of Chicago artists as well as musical acts from across the U.S. and the globe. Lineups for the festivals, music series and film series will be released later this spring. Admission to all events and festivals is FREE. For the latest news and events, visit millenniumpark.org or download the Millennium Park app.
The Millennium Park Summer Music Series will offer an exciting lineup of outdoor concerts on most Mondays and Thursdays, June 13–August 15, at 6:30pm at the Jay Pritzker Pavilion. The music series features a wide variety of genre-defying music from top local, national and international artists—both established and emerging. The lineup will be announced this spring.
As the birthplace of the urban blues, gospel music, house music and other beloved genres, Chicago invites music lovers from around the world to celebrate its musical legacy at three consecutive weekend festivals in Millennium Park – the Chicago House Music Conference and Festival, the Chicago Gospel Music Festival and the Chicago Blues Festival.
The 4th Annual Chicago House Music Conference and Festival, Thursday, May 23–Saturday, May 25, starts in the Chicago Cultural Center (78 E. Washington St.) with programs catering to DJs, musicians and industry professionals on May 23, and then moves outside, May 24–25, for live performances and family activities at the Jay Pritzker Pavilion and throughout the Park. Headline performances at the Jay Pritzker Pavilion will feature the Chicago debut of London’s Reel People. Other artists will include legendary DJ and producer Tony Humphries from New York City, Moodymann from Detroit and Chicago mainstays Gene Hunt, Mark Grusane and First Lady. The full schedule will be announced this spring at chicagohousemusicfestival.us.
The 34th Chicago Gospel Music Festival returns to Millennium Park, as well as the Chicago Cultural Center, this Friday, May 31, and Saturday, June 1. Celebrating the great influence of the music genre born in this city more than 80 years ago, the Chicago Gospel Music Festival will present the country’s top gospel artists, from traditional choirs to contemporary urban gospel. The full schedule will be announced this spring at chicagogospelmusicfestival.us.
With a diverse lineup celebrating the blues’ past, present and future, the 36th Annual Chicago Blues Festival shares the great Chicago music tradition with the world and shines a spotlight on its contributions to soul, R&B, gospel, rock, hip-hop and more at the Chicago Cultural Center and Millennium Park, Friday, June 7–Sunday, June 9. The headliners performing at the Jay Pritzker Pavilion over the three days include: Bobby Rush, The Jimmy Johnson Band, Charlie Musselwhite with special guest Billy Boy Arnold, Bettye LaVette, Don Bryant, Latimore, Ruthie Foster, a tribute to Mike Ledbetter featuring The CONNECTION with Mike Welch and Larkin Poe. The full schedule will be announced this spring at chicagobluesfestival.us.
For more than 80 years, the Grant Park Music Festival has been Chicago’s summer musical sensation, demonstrating that classical music, performed by a world-class orchestra and chorus can have a transformative impact on the city. That tradition continues June 12–August 17 as the Festival celebrates 85 seasons of unforgettable summer concerts, along with the 15th anniversary of Millennium Park, and 20 years of Artistic Director and Principal Conductor Carlos Kalmar leading the award-winning Grant Park Orchestra and Chorus, and renowned guest artists. Most performances are Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays at the Jay Pritzker Pavilion, with free seats available for every concert. The Grant Park Music Festival is presented by the Grant Park Orchestral Association, in partnership with the Chicago Park District and DCASE. Start times vary. For the complete schedule, visit gpmf.org.
The 41st Annual Chicago Jazz Festival showcases four stages of free live performances by Chicago’s vast jazz talent alongside national and international jazz legends and artists. The festival starts on Friday, August 23, with free performances at neighborhood clubs and venues throughout the city, with headline performances at Millennium Park Thursday, August 29–Sunday, September 1. Produced by DCASE and programmed by the Jazz Institute of Chicago, the full schedule will be announced this spring at chicagojazzfestival.us.
The 21st Annual World Music Festival Chicago rounds out the city’s summer music festivals with performances taking place September 13–29 in various locations. Millennium Park will serve as one of the many festival venues with a performance at the Jay Pritzker Pavilion on Saturday, September 14. The city-wide, multi-venue festival has attracted over 800,000 concertgoers and has presented more than 800 artists and ensembles from over 80 countries since it began in 1999—making it the largest world music festival in the United States. Artists will be announced at a later date at worldmusicfestivalchicago.org.
Throughout the summer season, Millennium Park will also feature a series of one-night-only special performances showcasing classical music, dance, opera, Broadway hits and more, performed by some of Chicago’s best-loved cultural institutions. Highlights include Paint the Town Red produced by the Chicago Children’s Choir on Thursday, May 23, Yo-Yo Ma “The Bach Project” produced by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra Association on Thursday, June 20; the 5th Annual Chicago Mariachi Festival produced by the Mariachi Heritage Foundation on Sunday, June 30; The Mexican Indigenous Music Festival produced by the Old Town School of Folk Music and Cenzontles on Sunday, July 21; the Chicago Jazz Philharmonic on Monday, July 22; the annual Broadway In Chicago Summer Concert on Monday, August 12; México en el Corazón on Tuesday, August 27; the Stars of Lyric Opera on Friday, September 6; and Third Coast Percussion on Monday, September 9. For details and times, visit millenniumpark.org. These programs are supported by a DCASE ArtsSpace grant, providing venue space and support for free public programs produced by Chicago arts and culture organizations.
To celebrate 2019 as the Year of Chicago Theatre, the Millennium Park Summer Film Series will co-present each film of the series with a select Chicago theatre company, providing a season-long sampling of themes, ethnicities and genres to reflect the city’s rich passion for cinema in all its variety. On Tuesdays, June 4–August 20 at 6:30pm, film lovers can take a seat at the Jay Pritzker Pavilion or spread out a blanket on the Great Lawn to watch favorite films on a state-of-the-art, 40-foot LED screen. The lineup will be announced this spring. The Summer Film Series is supported by the Millennium Park Foundation.
Theatre & Dance
As part of the 2019 Year of Chicago Theatre, a series of weekly Millennium Park Theatre Residencies will bring local theatre companies into the Park from July to October. DCASE is currently seeking proposals from Chicago's diverse theatre and performance community to develop site-specific theatre performances that engage the unique architecture, design, public art and Cloud Gate Plaza as the ultimate stage. Application information is at millenniumpark.org, and the deadline is March 25.
Grab your dancing shoes for the SummerDance Celebration on Saturday, August 24, a day-long family-friendly festival of dance throughout the Park. Highlights include a dance village, interactive dances from around the world, Chicago-based dance companies performing at the Jay Pritzker Pavilion, a House DJ Dance Party at Cloud Gate and much more. Complete details will be announced later this spring at chicagosummerdance.org.
For the fitness-minded—Millennium Park will once again offer free Summer Workouts on the Great Lawn, Saturdays, Tuesday and Thursdays, May 25–August 31. The Park will host themed workouts on Saturday, May 25, featuring house music in conjunction with the Chicago House Music Festival, and on Saturday, June 1, featuring gospel music in conjunction with the Chicago Gospel Music Festival. Each workout is 45 minutes, with Pilates at 7am, Yoga at 8am, Tai Chi at 9am and Zumba® at 10am. Weekday Yoga will also be offered on Tuesday and Thursday mornings, May 28–September 5, 7:30–8:15am. Summer Workouts are produced by DCASE with grant support provided by McDonald’s Active Lifestyles Endowment, managed by the Millennium Park Foundation.
Families are invited to join the fun all summer long with free activities in the tent at Chase Promenade North, including music and arts and crafts for kids of all ages at the Family Fun Festival, Mondays through Fridays, June 24–August 9, 10am-2pm. The series is supported by the Millennium Park Foundation and the Lloyd A. Fry Foundation.
Visitors are invited to stop by and check out the After School Matters Summer Program, Mondays through Fridays, June 24–August 9, 9am-1pm, showcasing Chicago teens discovering their creativity all summer long through a variety of visual arts programs in the Chase Promenade North and the After School Matters Jazz Band rehearsals and performances in Wrigley Square. In the summer, After School Matters provides nearly 13,000 opportunities throughout the city for Chicago teens to develop their talents in the arts, communication and leadership, sports and STEM, while gaining critical skills for college, careers and beyond. For details, visit afterschoolmatters.org.
YAS! Fest Youth Arts Showcase on Saturday, September 21, will highlight young artists in dance, theatre, music, spoken word, the visual arts and more. Through performances and activities, all ages will discover and celebrate the creativity and talent of emerging local artists–and those helping to inspire their creative potential. The full schedule will be announced this summer.
Lurie Garden is an internationally-acclaimed, 3.5-acre urban oasis for people and wildlife alike in the southeast corner of Millennium Park, open daily 6am-11pm. Lurie Garden offers over 75 free public nature programs during the year, including free walking tours, and holds their annual Plant Sale on Saturday, June 1, 9:30am-1:30pm. Lurie Garden is supported by the Ann and Robert H. Lurie Foundation Endowment managed by the Millennium Park Foundation. For details about Lurie Garden's wildlife, programs and tour schedule visit luriegarden.org. Stay in touch with @LurieGarden on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.
Experience an award-winning restaurant—and the city’s largest al fresco dining venue—at the Park Grill and The Plaza at Millennium Park, offering contemporary American cuisine with a Chicago flair inside and casual fare, live music, a family-friendly game tent, full walk-up bar & more outside. Open daily, 11am-10pm the Park Grill offers food and refreshments on the go, from ice cream, to creating your own Chicago-style picnic. For complete information, visit parkgrillchicago.com.
During concerts and events at the Jay Pritzker Pavilion, concessions at the Goose Island Beer Garden at the northeast corner of the pavilion and other locations will feature offerings from Goose Island Beer Company, Stella Rosa, Pepsi and Aquafina.
Millennium Park is located on Michigan Avenue, bordered by Randolph St. to the north, Columbus Dr. to the east and Monroe St. to the south. The Park is open 6am-11pm daily. For the latest news and events, download the Millennium Park app, visit millenniumpark.org, like Millennium Park on Facebook and follow @Millennium_Park on Twitter and Instagram. To plan your trip to Chicago for Millennium Park events and more, visit choosechicago.com.
This summer season, Millennium Park will once again implement additional security measures designed to improve the visitor experience at the park. Beginning in May, the City of Chicago will implement a security perimeter and bag check for all concerts and events that take place in Millennium Park. These strengthened security measures were developed with the City's public safety officials, and will provide similar protections to other major events, trade shows, retail spaces and airports around the world.
Outside alcohol will also be prohibited at the six Jay Pritzker Pavilion events with the highest attendance, including the Chicago House Music Festival on May 24–25; the Chicago Blues Festival from June 7–9; the Chicago Mariachi Festival on June 30; the Grant Park Music Festival Independence Day Salute on July 4; the Broadway In Chicago Summer Concert on August 12; and the Chicago Jazz Festival from August 29–September 1. Outside alcohol will be allowed at the more than 70 public concerts and programs happening in Millennium Park this summer.
Visitors will have additional food and beverage options at various price points available for purchase inside the venue at the events where outside alcohol is restricted. Subject to bag search at the security perimeter, guests will continue to be allowed to bring their own food and non-alcoholic beverages to all events in Millennium Park.
Visitors are encouraged to take CTA to Millennium Park. To plan your route, visit transitchicago.com. For those parking, Millennium Park Garages are located at Millennium Park Garage and Millennium Lakeside Garage at 5 S. Columbus Drive, Grant Park North Garage at 25 N. Michigan Ave. and Grant Park South Garage at 325 S. Michigan Ave. Pre-purchase parking at millenniumgarages.com and save up to 50% off drive-up rates.
Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events
The Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events is dedicated to enriching Chicago’s artistic vitality and cultural vibrancy. This includes fostering the development of Chicago’s non-profit arts sector, independent working artists and for-profit arts businesses; providing a framework to guide the City’s future cultural and economic growth, via the 2012 Chicago Cultural Plan; marketing the City’s cultural assets to a worldwide audience; and presenting high-quality, free and affordable cultural programs for residents and visitors.
Millennium Park Foundation
The Millennium Park Foundation, a private, philanthropic not-for-profit partner, was created in 1998 to support the City of Chicago’s efforts in the design, construction and management of Millennium Park. It is the steward of Millennium Park’s internationally-recognized icons and public features. These include the prestigious Jay Pritzker Pavilion and dramatic BP Pedestrian Bridge, world-renowned Cloud Gate and Lurie Garden, iconic Crown Fountain, and exquisite Boeing Galleries for public art exhibitions. Through its ongoing development initiatives, the Millennium Park Foundation is dedicated to keeping Millennium Park a free and accessible venue for all Chicagoans today, and for generations to come.
2019 Year of Chicago Theatre
The City of Chicago and the League of Chicago Theatres have designated 2019 as the ‘Year of Chicago Theatre.’ This citywide, year-long focus on theatre is the first of its kind in the U.S. The initiative includes performances and special events throughout the city – including theatre-themed events in all 77 community areas, as part of the Chicago Park District’s ‘Night Out in the Parks’ series. The City of Chicago and its partners will also launch a marketing campaign; provide additional financial grants to theatre projects; encourage dialog around inclusion and equity; and call on civic, philanthropic, arts and business leaders to support the theatre community. To truly fall in love with Chicago, you must go to our theatres. This is where the city bares its fearless soul. From Broadway musicals to storefront plays and improv, there’s a seat waiting for you at one of our 200+ theatres. Book your next show today at ChicagoPlays.com.
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