The City of Chicago has announced plans to designate 2020 as the “Year of Chicago Music.” This citywide, yearlong initiative focusing on music is one of the first of its kind in the United States. Preliminary plans include grants to the local music industry, including support for live music on the South and West Sides, and a 17-day celebration of music starting Memorial Day weekend across Chicago including the Chicago House Music Festival, the Chicago Gospel Music Festival, the Chicago Blues Festival and free and ticketed performances at venues across the city. The campaign will also include support for neighborhoods and venues as well as pop-up performances in vacant, underutilized and nontraditional spaces on the South and West Sides in addition to permanent venue space development programs. The initiative will also feature a promotional marketing campaign focusing on music as well as professional support for musicians, including career development opportunities and a Chicago Musicians Roster. Additional details will be announced in early 2020. PHOTO COURTESY CITY OF CHICAGO
Red Bull Music Festival returns to Chicago this November, hosting eight events featuring more than 40 artists at venues across the city from November 17-30. This is the third year of the event, which began as the month-long “30 Days in Chicago” in 2017 and was changed to Red Bull Music Festival last year. The 2019 event kicks off with a 50th anniversary all-venue celebration at Metro/Smart Bar on November 17 honoring Chicago’s iconic Gramaphone Records with back-to-back sets from local house music legends including Derrick Carter, Jesse de la Pena, DJ Psycho-Bitch and more. Black Monastic plays the Garfield Park Conservatory on November 19, Lupe Fiasco will headline the Riviera on November 21, Smino and his Zero Fatigue label/collective will showcase at Thalia Hall on November 23, and Jamila Woods performs at The Geraghty on November 27. The event concludes with the two-day John Walt Day at Metro on November 29 and 30, headlined by Saba and members of Pivot Gang, with 100% of ticket sales going towards mentorships and scholarships for young Chicago artists via the John Walt Foundation. For more information and tickets, visit the festival site.
To say that Chicago-based duo Louis The Child completely packed the Bud Light Stage on day four is clearly an understatement. The crowd spread as far as the eye could see with Robby Hauldren and Frederic Kennett utilizing dancers, fire, and even airplanes streaming their names in the sky. Deep house enthusiasts later sauntered over to catch Anjunadeep’s Daniel Goldstein, better known as Lane 8. It’s no secret that the DJ and producer does not allow filming at his live shows, so longtime fans took advantage of their moment to snap a pic for the ‘gram while they bobbed in unison. Southern sweetheart Kacey Musgraves took to the stage during the (literal) golden hour of the evening to perform hits from her Grammy Award-winning album of the same name. Amongst singing tunes like “Slow Burn” and “High Horse”, the Texas native also used her platform to address gun control in the wake of two mass shootings over the weekend. Rapper Meek Mill also took a moment during his set to pay tribute to fallen hip-hop artists we lost to violence like Nipsey Hussel and XXXTentacion. Flume’s latest mixtape Hi, This Is Flume secured the majority of his set, as he brought out collaborators Reo Cragun and Vera Blue for vocal support. The new interpretive storyline of the show was a bit underwhelming, as Flume is typically known for his high production level and energy. During a few moments of silence, one could still hear Ariana Grande’s vocal gymnastics as she slayed the T-Mobile Stage as the final act of the festival. Armed with her signature ‘do, boots, and attitude, the pop diva truly proved her resilience as a force to be reckoned with. Echoes of “Thank You, Next” boomed across the field as a fireworks spectacle closed out the encore. One final note? There wasn’t a single drop of rain at Lollapalooza 2019, as the curse has finally been broken. –TEXT: DANIELLA THOMPSON–PHOTO: CHARLES REAGAN HACKLEMAN/LOLLAPALOOZA 2019
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Rich The Kid’s rescheduled performance was the first big act of day three over at Perry’s, with a mass of fence-jumpers famously crashing the fest in advance of the set. In a viral twist, the Atlanta rapper actually ended up giving a festival pass to a gatecrasher who was initially halted by police. For those interested in a more subdued Saturday, another big Atlanta name was 6lack, who performed at the Bud Light Stage just across from the adjacent lot where Smino was getting loose. The songwriter crooned favorites like “Pretty Little Fears” (sans J. Cole) and others from his successful sophomore album, East Atlanta Love Letter. In (an unsurprising) turn of events, hip hop legend Lil Wayne easily took home the prize for largest turnout of the festival. Swarms of people bolted from Tenacious D at the festival’s northernmost end in order to catch a moment with Weezy. As far as the eye could see, the hills, stairs, and field were filled to capacity to hear the rapper shuffle through “Go DJ”, “Lollipop”, and even (another) remix of Lil Nas X’s “Old Town Road.” Glitchy EDM superstar Madeon ripped through an incredible brand new live set, but at a surprisingly smaller stage than fans anticipated. However, the darker location created a crystal clear visual experience with the French producer, who debuted tunes from upcoming record Good Faith. While headliners Twenty One Pilots garnered a massive crowd and encouraged sing-along moments, their crowd-diving and structure-climbing antics were no match for what was happening over at the Bud Light Stage. Colombian reggaeton artist J Balvin broke all barriers on Saturday with a comically colorful set as fans enjoyed dancing clouds, larger-than-life cartoon visuals and even a surprise from the iconic reggaeton duo Wisin Y Yandel. EDM admirers wrapped up their evening at Perry’s with trap producer RL Grime, who appropriately performed on a heighted platform for all to get a glimpse. –TEXT: DANIELLA THOMPSON–PHOTO: ROGER HO/LOLLAPALOOZA 2019
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