Chicago celebrates musical roots with year-long event

2020 Year of Chicago Music to strum up new interest in the 'Windy City'

Chicago’s tourism authority, Choose Chicago, was in Australia this week to promote the 2020 Year of Chicago Music – a year-long event that will celebrate the US city’s deep-rooted music history.

Choose Chicago’s Ann Tok, Special Projects, Media Relations for Asia Pacific & Marketing said the event would be a platform to showcase “Chicago’s status as a global music capital in all its form”.

Chicago is, after all, the birthplace of house music, gospel music, modern blues and urban jazz. It’s also the home of artists including Kanye West, Jennifer Hudson, Chance the Rapper and many more.

In Sydney from Chicago - Ann Tok, Choose Chicago, with bassist, BlackFinn and Michael Damani.

During the 2020 Year of Chicago Music, the destination will be celebrating the sounds and rhythms, Tok said, with “countless shows through the city catering for every genre of music, from indie to hip hop, rock, blues and jazz, at venues, in churches and on the side walks”.

The signature event will be the ‘Chicago in Tune’ 18-day music celebration, from 21 May to 7 June, which will be anchored by three free-admission music festivals: Chicago House Music Festival, Chicago Gospel Music Festival and Chicago Blues Musical Festival.

Tok said Chicago is the USA’s third most popular destination for visitors, welcoming over 50 million annually, yet Australians are just starting to discover the city. She said that Chicago “really comes alive in summer” when there are lots of festivals and events.

“Chicago is also rich in other experiences, such as arts & culture, culinary, sports, architecture, urban adventures and shopping,” Tok said.

Co-hosting the event with Choose Chicago was Qantas, which will commence non-stop services between Brisbane and the “Windy City” in mid-April 2020.

Guests attending the event on Tuesday night also had the opportunity to hear Blues musician, Chicago’s own Michael Damani from the Original Chicago Blues All Stars Band, belt out a few tunes during a private concert at Sydney’s Theatre Royale.

Lead image: At Choose Chicago’s Sydney event, from left to right are: Amanda Bolger, Qantas; BlackFinn, bassist; Ann Tok, Choose Chicago; Michael Damani, Blues singer-songwriter; and Will Lehnertz, Qantas.

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