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'Year Of Music' Starts In Chicago

By Yolanda Perdomo, CBS Digital Producer

CHICAGO (CBS) -- There's no shortage of music events in Chicago, and the city wants to make sure you get to enjoy its offerings, whether it be outdoors in a park, indoors in an intimate club and just about every place in between.

2020 Year In Chicago Music
(Credit: City of Chicago)

Chicago's Department of Cultural Affairs (DCASE) kicked off the "2020 Year of Chicago Music" unveiling dates for the anticipated music festivals for the year as well as "Chicago in Tune." According to DCASE, an 18-day "celebration of music" that'll include the Chicago House Music Conference and Festival, the Chicago Gospel Festival and the city's Blues Festival.

2020 Year Of Chicago Music
(Credit: City of Chicago)

"We will be celebrating Chicago's sounds and rhythms with countless shows and performances throughout the year, along with an international marketing campaign showcasing Chicago's status as a global music capital in all its forms," said Mayor Lori Lightfoot.

2020 Year Of Chicago Music
(Credit City of Chicago)

She added that along with highlighting the city's notable cultural offerings, the 2020 Year of Music will also working with the city's musicians so they're able to perform for as many people as they can.

"We'll also be providing Chicago's musicians professional support, artistic grants and career development opportunities to ensure musicians have the resources and support they need to play throughout 2020 and beyond," Lightfoot said.

Chicago blues musician Billy Branch, who will be performing at this year's Chicago Blues Festival, said the yearlong celebration of music will give people a chance to experience what the city has to offer.

"Chicago is one of the most vibrant and diverse centers of musical culture in the world.  Folk music, jazz and of course its blues legacy have been the main attraction for visitors from around the country and abroad for many decades," Branch said.

The official kickoff event for "Chicago in Tune" will be held on May 21 at Millennium Park with the Chicago's Children's Choir, followed by a program at Daley Plaza.

2020 Year Of Chicago Music
(Credit: CBS)

"Chicago In Tune represents an outstanding opportunity to experience Chicago's thriving music scene," said Mark Kelly, Commissioner of DCASE. "Spanning genres as diverse as hip hop, indie rock, experimental, jazz, Latinx, classical and more, music will emanate from our stunning music halls, authentic neighborhood clubs, world-class festivals and inspiring youth programs."

2020 Year Of Chicago Music
(Credit: City of Chicago)

Along with concerts in various festivals, DCASE "will also feature Chicago artists and music at the 40th Annual Taste of Chicago, the Millennium Park Summer Music Series co-programed for the first time with record labels, venues and media companies." The Millennium Park Film Series will showcase various music nonprofits, the ten-day Chicago Jazz Festival and the 17-day World Music Festival Chicago.


"This is a celebration that is long overdue," Branch said, noting that as a musician, he hopes the city uses this opportunity to not only celebrate music made by local musicians but to further promote the genre most associated with Chicago: the blues.

"The blues is the roots of all of American music. It is the music that had a profound influence on the British Invasion. The Rolling Stones named their group after the song of the same name by the godfather of Chicago Blues, Muddy Waters," noted Branch.

"They idolized Chicago Blues icons like Little Walter and Willie Dixon. It is very important that Chicago, embrace and promote it's cultural heritage, just as cities such as New Orleans and Memphis do."

Listed are a few of the city sponsored music events. For more information, click here for the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs.

"Chicago In Tune" Kickoff   May 21

5th Annual Chicago House Music Conference & Festival  May 21-23

35th Annual Chicago Gospel Music Festival  May 26-30

37th Annual Chicago Blues Festival  June 5-7

House Music Festival 2018
DCASE House Music Festival 2018 in Millennium Park


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