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
Live music venues have been one of the most negatively impacted industries of the global shutdown caused by the coronavirus, and Chicago is no exception. Local venues, particularly smaller independent operators, are in an existentially precarious position at the moment — with no one knowing when this will end or if they will even be able to reopen when it does. As one of the first industries to close and likely one of the last to reopen, local music venues need your help more now than ever. To that end, the Chicago Independent Venue League (CIVL) has assembled a handy one-stop shop for donations to individual local venues such as Metro, Empty Bottle, Reggie’s, Subterranean, Beat Kitchen, Sleeping Village, Thalia Hall, The Vic, The Riv, Park West, The Hideout, The Whistler, The Promontory, Martyrs’ and more. If you have the means to do so, please consider donating to one or more of these venues here.
In a highly discouraging sign for the future of 2020 summer music festivals in Chicago, two of the city’s most popular neighborhood street fests — Do Division Street Fest and West Fest Chicago — have both been canceled due to the ongoing coronavirus crisis. The West Town Chamber of Commerce, which operates both festivals, has also cancelled a third festival: Chicago Brewing District’s Dancing in the Streets. Do Division is typically held in late May/early June, with West Fest usually happening in July. The news comes on the heels of the recent cancellations of both South Shore Summer Fest and the Silver Room Block Party (which were slated for July and August), as well as the City of Chicago’s decision to cancel all events operated by the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events through May 15. Needless to say, “The Year of Chicago Music” isn’t getting off to a great start.