As we prepare for the three F’s — fireworks, family and festivities — during the Fourth of July weekend —Chicago House heads are gearing up for the 26th Annual Chosen Few DJs Music Festival in Jackson Park.
This year, the annual House music reunion picnic has added a second day to the highly attended and largest African-American outdoor festival in Chicago. A montage of dance music ranging from the traditional deep, soulful sounds and disco cuts to more modern beats — the bad boys of summer are a collective group of Chicago DJs. The brotherhood of the Chosen Few members includes Wayne Williams, Alan King, Tony Hatchett, Andre Hatchett, Jesse Saunders, Terry Hunter and Mike Dunn along with female partner Kim Parnell.
What started out as an intimate Hatchett family reunion behind the Museum of Science and Industry has catapulted into an internationally recognized event that attracts close to 30,000 plus attendees reuniting through the love of House music, communion and holiday festivities.
The two-day event kicks off on Saturday, July 2, with an all-star talent line-up that reads like a House music lover’s wet dream — Groove Odyssey’s Bobby & Steve, R&B singer Monique Bingham, Josh Milan, Joe Clausell along with the Chosen Few DJs.
Some of the Acts
For some of the folks who aren’t familiar with the names mentioned outside of the typical Chicago suspects, here’s a brief recap to prepare you for the musical escapade.
Bobby & Steve
Brought up on and inspired by the greats of soul music such as Teddy Pendergrass, Loose Ends, The Chi-Lites, Leroy Burgess, McFadden & Whitehead, Barry White, Thelma Houston and the Jones girls. Born and bred in East End, London — twins Bobby & Steve’s musical heritage rests firmly on the shoulders of soul, funk and disco.
They have the longest-running radio show, “Zoo Experience” on London’s Kiss FM serving up the repertoire of music that has made the pair famous through their legendary parties that were “Garage City” and Soul Heaven.
South African born, Monique Bingham has been responsible for some of the hottest dance hits that infuse soulful jazz and house music for almost two decades. Her work includes working with Abstract Truth in the mid-1990s at Francois K’s legendary Axis studios. Hit singles include “Get Another Plan” and “We Had a Thing” — a recognizable soulful house anthem.
Milan is known for his chart-topping dance classics and remixes for such artists as Lisa Stansfield, Diana Ross, Babyface, El DeBarge and Jody Watley — Josh’s contribution to the music landscape. His vocal collaborations with such artists as Grammy award trumpeter Hugh Masekela, Grammy award-winning R&B, Pop and Jazz vocalist Patti Austin, world renowned musician producer Louie Vega, Lisa Fischer and others.
Brooklyn born with deep Puerto Rican roots, the House/Dance DJ is also known for his arrangements and musical compositions. He often works with brother, Jose “Cochise” Claussell, a percussionist performing on various releases and remixes. In 1996, Claussell started his own label — Spiritual Life and later Sacred Rhythm Music.
On Sunday, July 3, the party continues with New York City’s own DJ Spinna, and an old school Hip Hop set from our very own DJ Mark Fulla. A wrap-up to an energetic weekend with performances by legendary Jazz percussionist Roy Ayers and R&B sensation Cheryl Lynn.
Beware of the traffic and street closures, as it is a tradition to have Hayes Drive closed at 63rd Street and Lake Shore Drive. A new feature added to this year’s Chosen Few Music Fest is the various tent packages ranging from $150 to $375, which includes a parking pass, general passes and for some, a built-in 10×10 tent. For the VIP Platinum packages prices range at $1,500 for a group of four. Patrons can enjoy their own tent, VIP access backstage to mingle with talent and other tastemakers, and close-up parking.
If it’s not too late, go online to the Chosen Few DJ website to purchase advance tickets at $30 or else you and your crew will be contributing $40 at the door–cash.
Don’t fret on the packages because organizers will have plenty of space for attendees to bring their tents, food, grills and party favors on Saturday — family-style reunions and all.
But one thing, on the second day of the festival, no outside food, drinks or containers will be allowed on the park grounds. This is a productive way to encourage food vendors and beverage stands to make money, so, don’t be discouraged — patronize.
Make sure to plan accordingly, whether it’s choosing the right remote parking lot, utilizing Uber or Lyft ridesharing services to bringing an extra battery pack for your cell — just don’t forget your dancing shoes.
What is ‘Summertime in the Chi’ if the Chosen Few DJs Music Festival is not a part of your plans?