Celebrating the music style’s deep Chicago roots with traditional choirs and contemporary urban gospel music, the free admission festival features local and national artists June 2-3 at the Chicago Cultural Center and in Millennium Park
The Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events is pleased to announce the full lineup for the 32nd Chicago Gospel Music Festival. The free admission festival happening June 2–3 in Millennium Park and the Chicago Cultural Center will include the following headliners: The Rance Allen Group, Jonathan McReynolds with special guests Anthony Brown & Travis Greene, Vashawn Mitchell, Malcolm Williams & Great Faith, a Tribute to Jessy Dixon and many more.
Featuring local and national artists celebrating the genre’s foundational roots in Chicago, the Gospel Music Festival will be held at the Chicago Cultural Center (78 E. Washington St.) from noon to 4 p.m. and in Millennium Park from 5:30 to 9:30 p.m. on Friday, June 2, and continue in Millennium Park (201 E. Randolph St.) onSaturday, June 3, from 11a.m. to 9:30 p.m.
Millennium Park Performances at the Jay Pritzker Pavilion
The festival’s opening night in Millennium Park on Friday, June 2, at 5:30 p.m. will kick off with the contemporary gospel music choir, Glenn Johnson & The Voices of Innerpeace. The Zeta Gospel Music Awards named their project Greatness “CD of the Year” in 2016. The University of Illinois Black Chorus, a large mixed voice vocal ensemble will follow at 6 p.m. Their repertoire of the music of black Americans includes: traditional gospel, jazz, soul, blues, African chant, field hollers and anthems. At 6:40 p.m. Malcolm Williams & Great Faith, the Stellar Award-nominated gospel music group will take center stage. A festival highlight will feature a Celebration of Gospel Music Quartets with Evelyn Turrentine-Agee and The Warriors, God’s Posse, The Gospel Crusaders and The Stars of Heaven at 7:20 p.m.
Award-winning contemporary gospel music artists, Jonathan McReynolds with special guests Anthony Brown and Travis Greene will close the first evening in Millennium Park at 8:30 p.m. Acclaimed Dove and Stellar Award-nominated recording artist Jonathan McReynolds’ album Life Music: Stage Two was number on the Billboard Gospel Chart for four weeks in 2015, and his 2016 Sessions EP surprise release reached the top of the iTunes Christian chart in one night. Since 2012, singer-songwriter and arranger Anthony Brown has been performing with his group therAPy and has thrilled audiences with joyous spirit. Travis Greene appeared on the festival stage last year and is back with seven 2017 Stellar Awards including “Male Vocalist” and “CD of the year” for The Hill.
The Gospel Music Festival continues at the Jay Pritzker Pavilion on Saturday, June 3 at 4:30 p.m. with Chicago contemporary artist, VaShawn Mitchell. Following his 2016 project, Secret Place, which was recorded in South Africa, Mitchell will bring his universal sound to the festival stage. The groundbreaking artists, The Rance Allen Group perform at 6:15 p.m. For four decades, the group has inspired fans with their traditional gospel sound and message of unity.
Following at 7 p.m. is a special tribute to Jessy Dixon. Singer and songwriter Jessy Dixon passed away in September, 2011 and during his career he brought his energetic style of gospel music to a wide audience. He is best known for his work with fellow music artist, Paul Simon. He collaborated with Simon on his Live Rhymin’ Simon and Still Crazy albums.
Chicago Cultural Center Performances
On Friday, June 2, the Chicago Gospel Music Festival will open at the Chicago Cultural Center in Randolph Square (1st floor north)) at noon until 4 p.m. Performers throughout the day include: Iliani Morales, Selah St. Sabina Youth Choir, R&R featuring Russ and Roe, Neicy Robertson & Friends, “Chicago’s Next” featuring2ndNature Band, Isaiah Freeman, Jazmine Jones and Denton Harris and Arthur Sutton & The Gift of Praise. For a complete festival lineup, visitchicagogospelmusicfestival.us.
Chicago Gospel Music Festival Presents
In addition to the festival, Chicago Gospel Music Festival Presents will offer free gospel concerts and events around Chicago throughout the year. On Wednesday, April 12, artists and industry participants are invited to attend the ChicagoMade Music Collective: Gospel Music Edition. A special gospel music version of the City of Chicago’s music industry networking series featuring performances by EJ Jackson and Delagraentiss. The event is being held at the Salvation Army Harbor Light Center (825 N. Christiana St.), 6:30-8:30 p.m.
Fans and artists are invited to get Up Close & Personal Preview Concert and Conversation Wednesday, May 4, at 6:30 p.m. at the Chicago Cultural Center. In a conversation moderated by Fake Shore Drive’s Andrew Barber, Catherine Brewton, BMI vice president, writer and publisher relations; Lecrae, GRAMMY® Award-winning hip hop artist; and Jonathan McReynolds GRAMMY® Award-nominated “future of gospel music” artist, will discuss their dynamic careers and answer audience questions. The event, presented in partnership with The Recording Academy® Chicago Chapter, will also feature performances by Iliani Morales and R&R featuring Russ and Roe.
The Millennium Park Summer Music Series on Thursday, August 17, 6:30 p.m. will feature gospel music as part of the popular free concerts at Jay Pritzker Pavilion. Joshua Nelson, the Prince of Kosher Gospel, will bring people and cultures together in joyous song with his combination of Jewish liturgical lyrics and Gospel music. Chicago gospel music artist, Tone Ross & Inspired will kick-off the evening’s performances.
The Chicago Gospel Music Festival is presented by the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events and is sponsored in part by Chicago Transit Authority, Inspiration 1390 AM, Sun Times, Chicago Reader and Communications Direct.
For complete details on the Chicago Gospel Music Festival including artist information, visit chicagogospelmusicfestival.us, like us on Facebook at Chicago Gospel Music Festival or follow us on Twitter and Instagram at @ChicagoDCASE (#ChiGospelMusic).
32nd Chicago Gospel Music Festival Schedule
Schedule & Times Subject To Change
Friday, June 2
Chicago Cultural Center – Randolph Square, 1st Floor North
Noon Iliani Morales
12:40 p.m. Selah St. Sabina Youth Choir
1:10 p.m. R&R featuring Russ and Roe
1:40 p.m. Neicy Robertson and Friends
2:10 p.m. “Chicago’s Next” featuring 2ndNature Band, Isaiah Freeman, Jazmine Jones and Denton Harris
3:20 p.m. Arthur Sutton & The Gift of Praise
Millennium Park – Jay Pritzker Pavilion
5:30 p.m. Glenn Johnson & The Voices of Innerpeace
6:00 p.m. University of Illinois Black Chorus, Dr. Ollie Watts Davis, Conductor
6:40 p.m. Malcolm Williams & Great Faith
7:20 p.m. Celebration of Gospel Music Quartets featuring Evelyn Turrentine-Agee and The Warriors, God’s Posse, The Gospel Crusaders and The Stars of Heaven
8:30 p.m. Jonathan McReynolds with special guests Anthony Brown and Travis Greene
Saturday, June 3
Millennium Park – Jay Pritzker Pavilion
4:30 p.m. VaShawn Mitchell
5:30 p.m. Special Announcement in May
6:15 p.m. The Rance Allen Group
7:00 p.m. A Tribute to Jessy Dixon
8:30 p.m. Special Announcement in May