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Millennium Park
Photograph: Neal O'Bryan

Chicago’s Jazz and World Music Festivals are going virtual

The city unveiled artist lineups for the two online events, which will be streamed on YouTube.

Zach Long
Written by
Zach Long
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Large gatherings still aren't allowed in Chicago (and the rest of the United States, for that matter), so just like Lollapalooza and the Chicago Blues Festival, the city's annual events devoted to jazz and world music are going virtual this year. This morning, the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events announced that Millennium Park at Home: Chicago Jazz (September 3–6) and Virtual World Music Festival Chicago (every Sunday in September) will take the place of in-person events, streaming performances on the DCASE YouTube channel.

The four-day Millennium Park at Home: Chicago Jazz event will take place over Labor Day weekend, streaming sets from local and national acts from 4 to 8pm each evening. Tito Carillo and Rempis, Reid and Abrams will headline the evening on September 3; Victor Garcia and Bobby Broom perform on September 4; Reggie Thomas and Marlene Rosenberg will appear on September 5; and Twin Talk and Bethany Pickens close out the weekend on September 6. Additionally, each stream will showcase sets from emerging local artists filmed at Chicago venues as well as footage from the Chicago Jazz Festival archives.

The Virtual World Music Festival will stream every Sunday in September from 1 to 3pm, featuring concerts recorded by an international cast of performers. The schedule includes Ragamala: A Centennial Tribute to Ravi Shankar (September 6) recorded at the Chicago Cultural Center; Afro-Diáspora y Folklore (September 13) recorded and co-curated with Segundo Ruiz Belvis Cultural Center; the Chicago-based traditional Irish group Anam Mór (September 20) recorded at and co-curated with Martyrs’; and the Chicago Immigrant Orchestra (September 27) recorded at Epiphany Center for the Arts.

The city's annual jazz and world music festivals were originally meant to cap off the Year of Chicago Music programming, which will now extend into 2021. While taking in these virtual events won't be the same as spending an evening on the lawn in front of the Pritzker Pavilion, at least we'll still end summer with an eclectic soundtrack of streaming performances.

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