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The Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events is pleased to announce the schedule for the Chicago House Music Conference and Festival, Thursday, May 23–Saturday, May 25. The House Music Conference on Thursday, May 23, from 6 to 9pm at the Chicago Cultural Center (78 E. Washington) will feature workshops and panel discussions for DJs, musicians and industry professionals. The festival on Friday, May 24, and Saturday, May 25, in Millennium Park (201 E. Randolph St.) will feature a family area and multiple stages of national and local DJs along with performers, including Jay Pritzker Pavilion headliners: Reel People, Gene Hunt, Tony Humphries, First Lady, Mark Grusane and more.
Admission to the conference and festival is free. For complete details, visit ChicagoHouseMusicFestival.us.
As the birthplace of house music, gospel music, urban blues and other beloved genres, Chicago invites music lovers from around the world to celebrate the its music legacy at three consecutive weekend festivals – the Chicago House Conference and Music Festival (May 23–May 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.
Thursday, May 23–Chicago House Music Conference
The House Music Conference at the Chicago Cultural Center from 6–9pm will include panel discussions on topics related to branding, culture, artistry and the business of house music throughout the building in Preston Bradley Hall (3rd Floor South), Millennium Park Room (5th Floor South) and the Washington Room (5th Floor South).
The evening’s keynote panel at 6:30pm in Preston Bradley Hall is Anatomy of A Groove: House In Borrowed Space, discussing what goes into making space for the house music community and creating successful events. Moderated by DJ Duane Powell, panelists include Robert Williams, the founder, father and former owner of legendary clubs that include The Warehouse and Music Box; Eric Williams with the Silver Room; curator Rae Chardonnay, co-owner of Party Noire; and legendary promoters Ronda Flowers and Koko of RFK Promotions.
Additional conference highlights include the panel More than a Woman: Moving Beyond the Boundaries, discussing gender stereotypes in the music industry and how to set new standards, and Jeff Craven, founder of Large Music, speaking on Distributing and Licensing House Music in the Digital Age.
The Chicago House Music Conference is free and does not require advance registration.
Friday, May 24–Chicago House Music Festival
The Chicago House Music Festival kicks off with a live performance by Mr. A.L.I. at Millennium Park’s Jay Pritzker Pavilion at 6:30pm. Bringing back the live element of soul and dance club music, Jere McAllister, Vick Lavender, Carla Prather and David Risque offer an ever-changing, multi-cultural melting pot of musicians. The group showcases everything from Afro-Latin rhythms to soulful harmonies with a touch of rock and roll to get your dance groove on.
The evening will also include the presentation of the Chicago House Music Award to Chip E, the producer and DJ influential in shaping the early recorded house sound with original hits “It’s House” and “Time to Jack.”
Saturday, May 25–Chicago House Music Festival
The festival will continue on Saturday throughout Millennium Park from 2 to 9pm. The Fam Jam Stage in Wrigley Square hosted by Lizzie G will feature family activities that include art making by Live Arts Studio, the House Kidz Youth DJ party led by DJ Galaxie and 12-year old DJ X2, dance downs and workshops with the Era Footwork Crew and a house dance workshop with Boogie McClarin. Families also don’t want to miss the movement workshop with Ayodele Drum and Dance’s Imania Detry. In the Park’s North Promenade tent, the Deep House Stage will feature sets by Antonio Ocasio, Moodymann and others. The Chicago Stage on the South Promenade will include the music of Gant-Man, Jevon Jackson and more, while the Park “Chill” Grill Stage will feature DJs throughout the day and into the evening. House music fans can also browse the Vinyl Records Fair and marketplace, just east of Cloud Gate.
Headline performances at the Jay Pritzker Pavilion on May 25 will feature London band Reel People. Internationally renowned for their original soulful house compositions and collaborations, this will be their Chicago debut. Other artists include legendary DJ and producer Tony Humphries from New York City and Chicago mainstays Gene Hunt, Mark Grusane and First Lady.
NEW! The fun begins early with House Music Workouts in Millennium Park, from 8–9:30am. Join fitness instructors and a DJ for a special house 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.
Chicago House Music Conference and Festival Schedule
Chicago Cultural Center and Millennium Park
Thursday, May 23, Friday, May 24 and Saturday, May 25
Thursday, May 23 – Chicago Cultural Center
Millennium Park Room (5th Floor South)
Deconstructed: A Look Underneath the Hood of Modern House Track
Work with DJs and Producers, Ron Carrol and Hiroko Yamamura
More than a Woman: Moving Beyond the Boundaries
Moderator: First Lady (Khris Hutchinson), DJ, radio program director, media personality, educator
Panelists: DJ Val (Valerie Mezydlo), DJ, producer, remixer for Plant Records;
Lady D (Darlene Jackson), DJ, producer, owner of D'lectable Music, professor at Columbia College, member of Super Jane;
La Spacer (Natalie Mercedes), DJ, producer, event organizer and co-founder of TrQpiteca
Washington Room (5th Floor South)
Branding: Personal or Otherwise
Moderator: Vince Lawrence, president and producer, Slang Musicgroup
Panelists: Lewis Williams, chief creative officer, Burrell Communications;
Johnathan Hoffman, chief marketing officer, Spirit Industries Partners;
Chris Clarke, director of music, Leo Burnett Advertising
Distributing and Licensing House Music in the Digital Age
Speaker: Jeff Craven, Large Music
Preston Bradley Hall (3rd Floor South)
Anatomy of A Groove: House In Borrowed Space
Moderator: DJ Duane Powell
Panelists: Robert Williams, founder and former owner of legendary clubs
The Warehouse and Music Box;
Eric Williams, Silver Room;
Rae Chardonnay, DJ and curator;
Ronda Flowers and Koko, RFK Promotions
Friday, May 24 – Millennium Park
Jay Pritzker Pavilion
||The Return of Mr Ali and Carla Prather|
||Presentation of the Chicago House Music Award to Chip E|
Saturday May, 25 – Millennium Park
Jay Pritzker Pavilion
||Reel People Live|
Hosted by Discopoet Khari B
Fam Jam Stage (Wrigley Square)
||The Era Footwork Crew's Performance & Dance Down featuring special guests|
||Movement Workshow with Imania Detrey of Ayodele Drum and Dance|
||The Era Footwork Crew's Footwork 4 The Youth Dance Workshop|
||Boogie McClarin House Dance Workshop|
||House Kidz Youth DJ Party led by DJ Galaxie and DJ X2|
Hosted by Lizzie G
Deep House Stage (Chase Promenade North)
Chicago Stage (Chase Promenade South)
Park “Chill” Grill Stage
||Mark Farina–Mushroom Jazz|
||Sean Alvarez–Eclectic Groove Garden|
||Josh Werner–Atmospheric Audio Chair|
Sunday, May 26 - Maxwell Street Market
**Schedule is subject to change**
The Chicago House Music Festival is produced by the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events with support from the Chicago Transit Authority. For more information, please visit ChicagoHouseMusicFestival.us and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat (@ChicagoDCASE @Millennium Park #ChicagoHouseMusicFestival). To plan your trip to Chicago for the Chicago House Music Festival, visit choosechicago.com.
This summer season, Millennium Park will once again implement additional security measures designed to improve the visitor experience at the park. 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 including the film series.
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.
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. 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.
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.
Note To Media: Media credential requests for the Chicago House Music Festival must be submitted by email to DCASEPR@cityofchicago.org, by Friday, May 17, and acceptance notifications will be sent accordingly. Submission of a request does not guarantee admission. Credentials only provide working media access to limited media seating for Friday, May 24; they 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 link for details – Chicago House Music Festival Press Room.
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