In the biggest domino to fall yet in a young but already nightmarish year for Chicago live music, Pitchfork Music Festival has cancelled its 2020 edition due to Covid-19. The festival, which was scheduled for July 17-19 in Chicago’s Union Park, was to host a star-studded lineup in honor of the festival’s 15th anniversary headlined by Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Run the Jewels, and The National. “It can be pretty daunting to think about the future of live music right now,” the festival notes on its website, “but know that we are fully committed to bringing Pitchfork Music Festival back in 2021, if the public health situation allows for it.” In the meantime, the festival is planning additional livestreams “and more ways to use the full weight of Pitchfork to support musicians and the community around our festival.”
For the first time since the Great Depression, there will be no summer concerts at Ravinia. The country’s oldest music festival, which has been operating continuously since 1904 except for the Great Depression years of 1932-1935, was to host more than 120 concerts in its 2020 season from June 12 through September 16. Festival staff are reportedly developing ideas to give the festival a “from home” presence across social platforms, including virtual opportunities for lectures, master classes, and rehearsals. “The crisis created by the Covid pandemic has impacted so much of our lives in dramatic ways. Ravinia will do its part in helping the nation recover,” said Ravinia Board Chairman Don Civgin in a statement. “And we will celebrate that recovery with music under the stars next summer.” PHOTO COURTESY OF RAVINIA FESTIVAL
In news that should surprise exactly no one at this point, Spring Awakening Music Festival has cancelled its 2020 edition due to Covid-19. The annual React Presents-hosted electronic music fest, which was scheduled for June 12-14, is Chicago’s first major summer music festival that is not sponsored by the city to be cancelled, leading many to wonder if its remaining signature summer festivals such as Pitchfork Fest (scheduled for mid-July) and Lollapalooza (scheduled for early August) could be the next victims of the coronavirus. “The 2021 edition of Spring Awakening will mark the 10 year anniversary of the festival and we are planning a celebration like we’ve never hosted,” the festival states on its website. “While much is uncertain in these times, one thing we are sure of is that SAMF 2021 will be the best year yet.” Add it to the list of things to look forward to in 2021…and to miss in 2020.
Due to the ongoing COVID-19 crisis, the City of Chicago’s Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE) has announced the cancellation of additional programming through May and June — including the 5th Annual Chicago House Music Conference & Festival (May 21–24), the 35th Chicago Gospel Music Festival (May 27–30), and the 37th Annual Chicago Blues Festival (June 5–7). Additionally, DCASE has cancelled Chicago In Tune (May 21–June 7), a new 18-day, citywide celebration of music that was to be a signature program of the Year of Chicago Music. Due to the cancellation of these major music festivals, the city will extend the 2020 Year of Chicago Music into 2021. DCASE had previously cancelled its programming through May 15. “As upsetting as it is to remove these events from our calendar, we are already looking forward to next year where we’ll be pulling out all the stops for a festival season Chicago will never forget,” said Mayor Lori Lightfoot in a statement. PHOTO COURTESY OF CITY OF CHICAGO