Hip-hop star Desiigner announced as headliner with breakout Chicago artist Ravyn Lenae opening for YAS! Fest

August 15, 2018

Free public youth arts showcase for Chicago’s Year of Creative Youth Presented by Allstate Insurance Company

Elizabeth Neukirch/The Silverman Group, elizabeth@silvermangroupchicago.com, 312.932.9911
    Amanda Berrios/The Silverman Group, amanda@silvermangroupchicago.com, 312.932.9950

Mary May, mary.may@cityofchicago.org, 312.744.0576
    Christine Carrino, christine.carrino@cityofchicago.org, 312.744.0573

Artist photos and festival logo


Saturday, September 22 throughout the Millennium Park Campus

New festival is largest celebration of young artists in Chicago history


Mayor Emanuel and the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events are thrilled to announce hip-hop star Desiigner (“Panda”) as the headliner for YAS! Fest, the youth arts showcase for the Year of Creative Youth presented by Allstate Insurance Company on Saturday, September 22 from 11am to 7:30pm. Opening for Desiigner’s mainstage performance is 19-year-old breakout artist Ravyn Lenae, a graduate of Chicago High School for the Arts, fresh off her performance at Pitchfork Music Festival last month.

Free and open to the public, YAS! Fest will be the largest celebration of young artists in Chicago history, with the works of hundreds of creative youth showcased in dozens of events throughout the Millennium Park Campus. Chicago favorite DJ Mike P will host and DJ as part of the mainstage program at the Jay Pritzker Pavilion. For more information and the most up-to-date festival schedule, visit cityofchicago.org/YOCY.

“The Year of Creative Youth provides an incredible opportunity to support the creativity and growth of artistic children across Chicago,” said Mayor Emanuel. “This festival is our city’s largest showcase of youth artists, featuring the creative works of hundreds of young people from arts organizations in neighborhoods across the city. We celebrate their talents and the mentors who inspire them.”

Desiigner is an American hip-hop artist from Brooklyn, New York. Desiigner rose to prominence with his debut single “Panda,” which reached number one on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 chart and has amassed over 600 million views on YouTube. Desiigner was recently featured in movies including The First Purge and Ocean’s 8. He just dropped his EP, The Life of Desiigner, and is set on a European tour throughout the rest of 2018.

Singer and songwriter Ravyn Lenae, a South Side native, signed with Atlantic Records and has toured with SZA and Chicago rapper Noname. She headlined a U.S. and European tour this year, including an appearance last month at Pitchfork Music Festival. She will go on tour with Jorja Smith in November. Rolling Stone named Lenae one of "10 New Artists You Need to Know” and described her music as "highly lyrical electronic soul."

“When young people believe in themselves and are encouraged to bring their ideas forward, we know they’ll create the kind of society that uplifts us all,” said Vicky Dinges, Senior Vice President of Corporate Responsibility at Allstate. “That’s why Allstate is focused on empowering our next generation of leaders by investing in programs like the arts that help young people build critical social and emotional skills. We care about the future of Chicago and our youth and are proud to recognize them as problem solvers, change agents and artists.”

Commenting on her experience at Chicago High School for the Arts, Ravyn Lenae said, “That’s where I found a lot of my inspiration. I couldn’t imagine myself in any other high school. I don’t feel like I’d be the artist I am today or that I would have tapped into the artistry inside of me if it wasn’t for that environment. I was encouraged to be myself, but I also learned discipline. I was up at 5:30am every day, in class until 2pm and then conservatory until 5pm. I loved being classically trained, but I also wanted to find my own voice, so I started songwriting.”

DJ Mike P was born and raised on Chicago's South Side in the Hyde Park neighborhood. He attended Urban Prep Charter Academy – Englewood Campus where he got his start in the industry by DJ'ing school events; now he is the top DJ choice for Chicago Public Schools and Chicago Park District events. DJ Mike P has worked with nationally touring Gospel artist Charles Jenkins, rapper Taylor Bennett, and currently Juice WRLD. He can be heard on WGCI 107.5 FM and on WCIU TV’s “The Jam.”

YAS! Fest will showcase the creative talents of hundreds of young artists from Chicago cultural organizations and programs citywide on Saturday, September 22 from 11am to 7:30pm. Free festival events will be held across the Millennium Park Campus including throughout Millennium Park (201 E. Randolph Street), the Chicago Cultural Center (78 E. Washington Street), Maggie Daley Park (337 E. Randolph Street) and the Art Institute of Chicago (111 S. Michigan Avenue). The headlining performance from hip-hop star Desiigner with opener Ravyn Lenae will bring the festival to a “Yaaaas!”-inducing conclusion at the Jay Pritzker Pavilion. For more information and the most up-to-date festival schedule, visit cityofchicago.org/YOCY.


Additional programming at YAS! Fest will include:

  • Chicago Park District’s Teens In the Park presents its annual concert featuring audition winners from across Chicago to perform at the T.I.P. Fest stage on the South Promenade.


  • Dozens of performances from youth groups across the city including mainstage Jay Pritzker Pavilion acts from Little Kids Rock, Ensemble Español Spanish Dance Theater, and the renowned Hiplet Ballerinas along with students from Chicago Multi-Cultural Dance Center.


  • A diverse classical concert featuring the Chicago Children’s Choir and Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestras, broadcast live from Jay Pritzker Pavilion for WFMT’s Introductions program.


  • An interactive media lounge including the Chicago Youth Voices Network and Chicago Public Library’s YOUmedia with a live pop-up youth radio show, maker stations, DJ lessons, green screen filming, interactive digital stations and photo ops. Presented in Millennium Park’s North Promenade.


  • A YAS! Stage with youth performances at Wrigley Square, plus family friendly and hands-on activities across the Millennium Park Campus, including live artmaking, demonstrations and more.


  • Year of Creative Youth exhibitions on display at the Chicago Cultural Center featuring youth artwork presented by Changing Worlds, Chicago Arts Partnerships in Education, Garfield Park Conservatory Alliance and Puerto Rican Arts Alliance.


  • The Art Institute of Chicago will be showcasing live arts and youth activities throughout the museum including a PROjectUS fashion show, Young Chicago Authors’ Louder Than A Bomb Squad spoken word performance and more.


Follow YAS! Fest and DCASE on Facebook (Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events), Twitter and Instagram (@ChicagoDCASE) and Snapchat (ChicagoDCASE) #YASfest #2018isYOCY


About the Year of Creative Youth

Mayor Emanuel and the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE) have designated 2018 as the Year of Creative Youth—a citywide celebration of Chicago’s young artists and the mentors who inspire them. Presented by Allstate Insurance Company, the Year of Creative Youth will feature young artists and their work at City of Chicago festivals, exhibitions and events throughout the year including the new YAS! Fest youth arts showcase. The year will also include cultural grants and convenings for youth arts organizations, a marketing campaign and more—representing an over $2 million investment by the City of Chicago.

Additional grant support for the Year of Creative Youth is provided by The Chicago Community Trust, the Robert R. McCormick Foundation, and support from the Chicago Transit Authority.


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.


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