The Chicago Gospel Music Festival returns for its 34th year this summer. Taking place on May 31st & June 2, this year the festival will feature a tribute to Aretha Franklin and the Stellar Awards honoring Black Music Month and the National Museum of Gospel Music.
The festival opens on Friday at the Chicago Cultural Center with performances from noon until 4pm. That evening the music moves to Millennium Park, with an opening Praise Party featuring All Nations Worship Assembly Praise Team followed by “Amazing Grace,” Celebrating the Music of the Queen of Soul, Aretha Franklin.
The Music of Percy Bady & Percy Gray will feature more than 30 years of Gospel music by the famed producers and songwriters at 7:05 p.m. From the church house to concert halls, they have produced some of Gospel music’s greatest hits, including: “God is my Everything” by Chicago Mass, “Clap your Hands” by Joshua’s Troop, “Everything is Gonna Be Alright” by Shirley Caesar, “Love Has No Color” by the The Winans, “Love Said Not So, Hold Up The Light” by BeBe & CeCe Winans and countless others.
Opening night’s final performance will feature Chicago Gospel music artist and choir director, Ricky Dillard & New G (Reunion Choir). They are best known for their electrifying performances. With the release of the 2017 hit album10, Dillard’s flair and New G’s energy solidified the group as one of the top urban choirs in the country. The festival is excited to welcome them back once again.
On Saturday, June 1, in Millennium Park the North Promenade Tent will feature young artists, youth choirs and emerging artists celebrating Chicago’s Gospel music legacy at the Spirit Stage beginning at noon. Performers throughout the day include VJ McCoy and Worship Experience and Stars of Heaven, the two groups that won the ChicagoMade Gospel Music A&R Audition earlier this year on March 16. The festival will also offer family activities, including arts and crafts for kids, face painting in the Kids Activity Zone and a Health and Wellness Oasis with information and expert talks on healthy eating, exercise and preventative screenings and care from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Saturday will be a very special evening with the Stellar Awards will present a celebration honoring Black Music Month and the National Museum of Gospel Music beginning at 5 p.m. with a lineup of Gospel Music superstars and emerging artists.
There's even more happening with the Chicago Gospel Music Festival:
Gospel Music Professional Development Event at the Chicago Cultural Center
As part of the professional development series of opportunities presented by the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events, gospel music artists and industry professionals are invited to a conversation with industry experts on Tuesday, May 14, at 6 p.m. at the Chicago Cultural Center in Randolph Square, 1st Floor North. The evening’s discussion will be moderated by Producer and Composer, Percy Bady and will feature the following: Jamal Kimbrough, award-winning producer and owner, Keyemup Music; Walter Thomas, CEO, Agency 22 Entertainment; Jonathan McReynolds, award-winning singer-songwriter; Sonya Blakey, radio host, Inspiration 1390; Debra “Snoopy” Hanna, Owner, Mighty Dominion Entertainment Radio Promotions and Marketing. The panel will discuss their dynamic careers and how to navigate the music business. The event is presented in partnership with The Recording Academy® Chicago Chapter
Chicago Cultural Center Exhibition
In conjunction with the music festivals, celebrating Chicago’s music legacy, DCASE will present the exhibition “Bronzeville Echoes: Faces and Places of Chicago’s African American Music” at the Chicago Cultural Center. The exhibition explores the legacy of Chicago’s African American music scene from Ragtime to the contemporary genres through the unexpected stories of legendary musicians and places where they performed. Seldom-seen original artifacts will be on display, such as sheet-music, rare 1920s records with quirky period graphics and even the original 1932 telephone booth from the old Sunset/Grand Terrace Café that will play music from the time period.
Gospel Music Workout, Millennium Park, Great Lawn
On Saturday, June 1, from 8 to 9:30 a.m., join fitness instructors and a DJ for a special gospel music edition of the Millennium Park workouts. Summer Workouts are produced by DCASE with grant support provided by McDonald’s Active Lifestyles Endowment, managed by the Millennium Park Foundation.
Chicago Gospel Music Festival 2019 Schedule
Schedule and times subject to change
Friday, May 31
Chicago Cultural Center – Claudia Cassidy Theater, 2nd Floor North
Noon–12:20 p.m. Dave Martin & GSM
12:25–12:45 p.m. Mechelé Burtley
12:50–1:10 p.m. The Bournés
1:15–1:35 p.m. Delagraentiss
1:40–1:50 p.m. Angel Sharkey
1:55–2:15 p.m. Providence St. Mel School Choir
2:20–2:45 p.m. Leanne Faine & Favor
2:55–3:20 p.m. Travis D. Crockett & The Powerful Voices of Praise
3:30–4 p.m. Jonathan Traylor
Millennium Park – Jay Pritzker Pavilion
5:30–6 p.m. Praise Party featuring All Nations Worship Assembly Praise Team
6:10 –6:55 p.m. “Amazing Grace,” Celebrating the Music of the Queen of Soul, Aretha Franklin
7:05–7:50 p.m. The Music of Percy Bady and Percy Gray
8–9 p.m. Ricky Dillard and New G (Reunion Choir)
Saturday, June 1
North Promenade Tent
11 a.m.–5 p.m. Kids Activities and Vendors
Noon–12:10 p.m. Celestial Ministries Drum Line
12:15–12:35 p.m. Min. Shannon T. Lowe featuring FYRE Choir and Jr. Vessels of Victory Apostolic Church
12:40–12:55 p.m. Musical Arts Institute Jubilate Ensemble
1–1:15 p.m. A4L
1:25–1:50 p.m. Bridgette Hurt
2–2:25 p.m. Tone Ross & INSPIRED
2:35–3 p.m. Ron Poindexter
3:10–3:50 p.m. ChicagoMade featuring the Stars of Heaven and VJ McCoy and Worship Experience
4–4:30 p.m. Pastor Daniel X. Smith & NSMIC
Millennium Park–Jay Pritzker Pavilion
The Stellar Awards will present a celebration honoring Black Music Month and the National Museum of Gospel Music the Stellar Awards featuring Hezekiah Walker, Anthony Brown & group therAPy, Koryn Hawthorne, Tasha Page Lockhart and Maranda Curtis.
Millennium Park is easily accessible via public transportation. Buses run up and down Michigan Avenue, the El is just a couple of blocks away, and the Metra Electric Line runs right under Grant Park. If you drive in to the festival the Millennium Garages are the closest parking and there are several other garages in the area. Check the map below for discounted parking through Spothero: