Chicago World Music Festival is a multinational gathering and exhibition of traditional music from cultures worldwide. The festival is a celebration of not only music, but the lifestyles, history, and diversity of all people. Since its conception in 1999, the Chicago World Music Festival has grown to be an appreciated addition to Chicago’s rich history. Musicians travel from more than 80 countries to perform on stage here. 

    The festival is presented over 5 to 10 days, and the main events are held during consecutive weekends between August and October. This makes for a full month to celebrate the many musical wonders that our world has to offer, and during the main events, especially on the weekends, the atmosphere is lifted. Events take place throughout Chicago, especially the CBD.

    Nuotraukos autorius: swimfinfan (CC BY 2.0) Pakeista

    A brief history of Chicago World Music Festival

    The Chicago World Music Festival was founded in the late 1990s and fully supported by the city of Chicago. The original idea was to introduce the people of Chicago to the talents from afar. It was meant to inform as well as to inspire a generation of musicians and dancers.

    Throughout the many years of featuring global musicians, the focus has not been only mainstream celebrities, but has been used to give a platform and a voice to those who may otherwise not have the resources to reach such a vast audience.

    Over the years, the festival has hosted more than 750 musical artists and has entertained more than 500,000 people at the concert venues alone. The festival suffered certain hardships in the early 2000s as the economy was going through troubled times, and the City (or more specifically the Department of Cultural Affairs) was facing a very tight budget for extracurricular events.

    This was not enough to stop the people’s passion for music. The community gathered together and sought out donors and individual volunteers to make the event a success and to create the legacy of the Chicago World Music Festival that we know today. What started as a small idea with only a few venues has now transformed into a citywide collection of venues, bars, restaurants, and hotels, which open their doors to all musicians whether they’re travelling from abroad or stateside.

    What are the highlights of Chicago World Music Festival?

    The Chicago World Music Festival is not simply a concert, but rather an interactive experience. As you walk the city streets of Chicago, you will find everything from solo musicians to orchestras and classical music and even tribal drum lines.

    A large portion of the music venues are free to enter and enjoy, but if you have any particular artists on your schedule, you may want to call in advance as some also require reservations.

    An unexpected highlight of the music festival doesn’t come from instruments at all. During the stretch of the month, the artists and the cultures they represent are translated through their cuisine as well. From the food to the music, as well as the many friends made during the experience, the Chicago World Music Festival is something we hope to see on the calendar for years to come.

    Colby Murray | Autorė / autorius

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