34th Chicago Gospel Music Festival Celebrates City’s Music Legacy in Millennium Park and the Chicago Cultural Center, May 31 & June 1, Showcasing Winners of the Stellar Awards

May 23, 2019

The free admission festival will feature Ricky Dillard & New G and a tribute to Aretha Franklin on Friday, May 31; and a Stellar Awards Celebration with artists Anthony Brown, Charles Jenkins, Brian Courtney Wilson, James Fortune & FIYA, Casey J., Maranda Curtis and Zacardi Cortez on Saturday, June 1; among many others

Christine Carrino    christine.carrino@cityofchicago.org, 312.744.0573


The Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE) is pleased to announce the lineup for the 34th Chicago Gospel Music Festival. The free admission festival will take place May 31 and June 1 in Millennium Park and the Chicago Cultural Center. New this year, a partnership with The Stellar Awards on June 1 will feature local and national Stellar Award nominated artists celebrating the genre’s roots in Chicago as the home of modern gospel music.

Chicago is the birthplace of the gospel music, house music, the urban blues and more. In 2019 over three consecutive weekends, DCASE will celebrate the city’s music legacy at the Chicago House Music Conference and Festival (May 23-25), the Chicago Gospel Music Festival (May 31 and June 1) and the Chicago Blues Festival (June 7–9) on stage in Millennium Park, at the Chicago Cultural Center, as well as in music venues and clubs throughout the city. Chicago is an arts powerhouse and a global destination for music lovers.

“Gospel music is the inspiration for so many music genres including the blues, soul, R&B, pop and jazz,” said Mark Kelly, Commissioner of the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events. “We look forward to celebrating the music that started here in Chicago more than 80 years ago and are honored to be partnering with the Stellar Awards. This is one of the most ambitious rosters of artists that we have presented in years.”

The Gospel Music Festival will be held at the Chicago Cultural Center (78 E. Washington St.) from noon to 4pm and in Millennium Park from 5:30 to 9pm on Friday, May 1, and will continue in Millennium Park (201 E. Randolph St.) on Saturday, June 1, from 11am to 9pm with music beginning at noon. Stellar Award nominated artists on the Jay Pritzker Pavilion stage in Millennium Park will perform from 5 to 9pm on Saturday, June 1.

For the complete schedule, visit ChicagoGospelMusicFestival.us


Millennium Park Performances at the Jay Pritzker Pavilion

On Friday, May 31, the evening’s performances will begin at 5:30pm with a Praise Party featuring All Nations Worship Assembly Praise Team. At 6:10pm local and national artists will come together for “Amazing Grace,” Celebrating the Music of the Queen of Soul, Aretha Franklin. The set will feature Chicago musicians that performed with Ms. Franklin along with a choir directed by Pastor Angie Spivey, Cynthia Nunn, and Janet Sutton. The set will feature special guests performing some of her greatest hits.

The Music of Percy Bady & Percy Gray will feature more than 30 years of Gospel music by the famed producers and songwriters at 7:05 p.m. From the church house to concert halls, they have produced some of Gospel music’s greatest hits, including:  “God is my Everything” by Chicago Mass, “Clap your Hands” by Joshua’s Troop, “Everything is Gonna Be Alright” by Shirley Caesar, “Love Has No Color” by the The Winans, “Love Said Not So, Hold Up The Light” by BeBe & CeCe Winans and countless others.

Opening night’s final performance will feature Chicago Gospel music artist and choir director, Ricky Dillard & New G (Reunion Choir). They are best known for their electrifying performances. With the release of the 2017 hit album 10, Dillard’s flair and New G’s energy solidified the group as one of the top urban choirs in the country. The festival is excited to welcome them back once again.

A very special evening on Saturday, June 1 with the Stellar Awards will present a celebration honoring Black Music Month and the National Museum of Gospel Music beginning at 5pm with a lineup of Gospel Music superstars and emerging artists.

Songwriter, arranger, and vocalist Anthony Brown stepped forward in 2012 with the Stellar Award winning group, Anthony Brown & group therAPy with their self-titled debut album. In 2016, Anthony Brown & group therAPy won ten Stellar Awards for Group/Duo of the Year, Contemporary Male of the Year and Music Video of the Year for their hit single “Testimony.” In May, 2019, they are set to record Second Wind Live Experience during a live concert.

Maranda Curtis is known for her melodic tones and her natural flow. From Miami, Florida, Curtis is a leading voice in the gospel music industry where she has worked on various projects with other artists and as lead vocalist.


Additional Stages

On Saturday, June 1, in Millennium Park the North Promenade Tent will feature young artists, youth choirs and emerging artists celebrating Chicago’s Gospel music legacy at the Spirit Stage beginning at noon. Performers throughout the day include VJ McCoy and Worship Experience and Stars of Heaven, the two groups that won the ChicagoMade Gospel Music A&R Audition earlier this year on March 16. The festival will also offer family activities, including arts and crafts for kids, face painting in the Kids Activity Zone and a Health and Wellness Oasis with information and expert talks on healthy eating, exercise and preventative screenings and care from 11am to 5pm.


Chicago Cultural Center Performances

On Friday, May 31, the Chicago Gospel Music Festival will open at the Chicago Cultural Center in the Claudia Cassidy Theater, 2nd Floor North, beginning at noon until 4pm. Performers throughout the day include: Dave Martin & GSM, Delagraentiss, Angel Sharkey, Travis D. Crockett & The Powerful Voices of Praise and many more. 


Chicago Cultural Center Exhibition

In conjunction with the music festivals, celebrating Chicago’s music legacy, DCASE will present the exhibition “Bronzeville Echoes: Faces and Places of Chicago’s African American Music” at the Chicago Cultural Center. The exhibition explores the legacy of Chicago’s African American music scene from Ragtime to the contemporary genres through the unexpected stories of legendary musicians and places where they performed. Seldom-seen original artifacts will be on display, such as sheet-music, rare 1920s records with quirky period graphics  and even the original 1932 telephone booth from the old Sunset/Grand Terrace Café that will play music from the time period.


Gospel Music Workout, Millennium Park, Great Lawn

On Saturday, June 1, from 8 to 9:30am, join fitness instructors and a DJ for a special gospel music edition of the Millennium Park workouts. Summer Workouts are produced by DCASE with grant support provided by McDonald’s Active Lifestyles Endowment, managed by the Millennium Park Foundation. For a full workout schedule, visit millenniumpark.org.

The Chicago Gospel Music Festival is presented by the DCASE and is sponsored in part by Chicago Transit Authority (CTA), Chicago Tribune, Inspiration 1390 AM and K-LOVE 97.9FM Chicago.

For complete details on the Chicago Gospel Music Festival including artist information, visit chicagogospelmusicfestival.us, like us on Facebook at Chicago Gospel Music Festival or follow us on Twitter and Instagram at @ChicagoDCASE (#ChiGospelMusic).


34th Chicago Gospel Music Festival Schedule

Schedule & Times Subject To Change

Friday, May 31

Chicago Cultural Center – Claudia Cassidy Theater, 2nd Floor North

  • Noon–12:20pm - Dave Martin & GSM
  • 12:25–12:45pm - Mechelé Burtley
  • 12:50–1:10pm - The Bournés
  • 1:15–1:35pm - Delagraentiss
  • 1:40–1:50pm - Angel Sharkey
  • 1:55–2:15pm - Providence St. Mel School Choir
  • 2:20–2:45pm - Leanne Faine & Favor
  • 2:55–3:20pm - Travis D. Crockett & The Powerful Voices of Praise
  • 3:30–4pm - Jonathan Traylor


Millennium Park – Jay Pritzker Pavilion

  • 5:30–6pm - Praise Party featuring All Nations Worship Assembly Praise Team and Pastor Chris Harris & The Bright Star Church Praise Team
  • 6:10–6:55pm - “Amazing Grace,” Celebrating the Music of the Queen of Soul, Aretha Franklin
  • 7:05–7:50pm - The Music of Percy Bady and Percy Gray
  • 8–9pm - Ricky Dillard and New G (Reunion Choir)


Saturday, June 1

Millennium Park – North Promenade Tent

  • 11am–5pm - Kids Activities  and Vendors


Spirit Stage

  • Noon–12:10pm - Celestial Ministries Drum Line
  • 12:15–12:35pm - Min. Shannon T. Lowe featuring FYRE Choir and Jr. Vessels of Victory Apostolic Church
  • 12:40–12:55pm - Musical Arts Institute Jubilate Ensemble
  • 1–1:15pm - A4L
  • 1:25–1:50pm - Bridgette Hurt
  • 2–2:25pm - Tone Ross & INSPIRED
  • 2:35–3pm - Ron Poindexter
  • 3:10–3:50pm - ChicagoMade featuring the Stars of Heaven and VJ McCoy and Worship Experience
  • 4–4:30pm - Pastor Daniel X. Smith & NSMIC


Millennium Park – Jay Pritzker Pavilion

  • 5–9pm - The Stellar Awards will present a celebration honoring Black Music Month and the National Museum of Gospel Music the Stellar Awards featuring Anthony Brown, Brian Courtney Wilson, James Fortune & FIYA, Casey J., Maranda Curtis and Zacardi Cortez. Hosts: Pastor Charles Jenkins and Terrel Brown, Anchor, ABC 7 Chicago.


Planning Your Visit to the Chicago Gospel Music Festival

Continuing this summer season, Millennium Park will implement additional security measures designed to improve the visitor experience at the park. Outside alcohol will 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 on 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 on August 29–September 1.

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 percent off drive-up rates.


NOTE TO MEDIA: Media credential requests for the Chicago Gospel Music Festival must be submitted by email to DCASEPR@cityofchicago.org, by Friday, May 24, 2019, and acceptance notifications will be sent accordingly. Submission of a request does not guarantee admission. Credentials only provide working media access to media seating and photo pit and do not include back stage access. Each media outlet is limited to one press and one photography credential as space is very limited. Visit the pressroom on the website at this for details.


Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events

The Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE) 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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