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U.S. Regional and Local Music Scenes
Local Chicago Music Scene

Chicago has a rich history of legendary recording artists, partly because it's one of the biggest cities in America with many places to play live. In the 2010 Census the Chicago metropolitan area had 9.8 million people with nearly 2.7 million living in the city. Major campuses include University of Chicago, Northwestern University, DePaul University, Illinois Institute of Technology and The University of Illinois at Chicago. The local music scene is covered by, Streetwise, The Chicago Tribune and The Chicago Sun-Times.

Many classic blues artists who helped shaped the sound of blues came straight out of Chicago. Some of the great blues legends include Willie Dixon, Muddy Waters and Buddy Miles. The history of the Chicago music scene has included many jazz-flavored hit acts such as Chicago, Earth, Wind & Fire, Ramsey Lewis Trio, Electric Flag and The Freddy Jones Band. Other big names from Chicago include Smashing Pumpkins, Ministry, Phillip Bailey, Kanye West, Rufus, Sam Cooke, Urge Overkill, Wilco, Stabbing Westward, Rise Against, Fall Out Boy, Da Brat, Disturbed, Survivor, Chi-Lites, Emotions, Richard Marx, Buckinghams, Impressions, Flamingos, Shadows of Knight and Veruca Salt.

Chicago Musical Acts

Alain de Courtenay * Aisha Adair * Andrew Bird * Ashleigh Ashton * Ben Miller & The Rebel Bandits * Camille G. Brown * Char Meredith * Chicago Blues All-Stars * Cornmeal * Davy Knowles * Deathbird * Qissmet * DJ Digital Girl * Henhouse Prowlers * Ian Wilson * James Curley * Jessica Brown * Jim St. James * Jimmy Valentine * Joey Price * Justin and the Salty Dogs * KF Jacques * Matt Keen * Michael Charles * Michael Manson * Model Stranger * MzKoolAid * Napalm * Nick Moss * Panther Style * Patrice * Patti Shaffner * Sons of Never Wrong * Syleena Johnson * Stat * Tenette * Thadeus Project * The Audition * The Branded * The Handcuffs * The Legendary Traxster * The Steepwater Band * They All Have Legs * TJ Brown * Tom Fuller Band * 12 Gauge Noise * Umphrey's McGee * Wayne Baker Brooks *

Chicago Local Music Scene History

Rolling Stone named Chicago as "one of the adventurous, experiemental music scenes in the country" in its January 30, 2020 issue. The article was titled "Inside Chicago's Wild Music Scene, From Trailblazing Hip-Hop to Indie Jazz." The article mentioned the city's strong indie labels International Anthem and FPE. It mentioned jazz resaissance artists Makaya McCraven, Angel Bat Dawid and Nicole Mitchell. Hip-hop acts mentioned were Calboy, Polo G and Lil Zay Osama. Twin Peaks was mentioned as a garage pop band with a "sunny psychedelic vibe."

Wintercamp, presented by Inside Straight and Wavelength Productions, entered its third year on February 15, 2019, providing one of the few outdoor music festivals in Chicago during the winter months. The event was held at Logan Square Auditorium and performers included Sir the Baptistand Adam Ness.

Donovan Lawnicki, a teen from Chesterton High School, along with his bandmates in The Instinct Chicago, won a Chicago Music Award for Most Talented Teens on March 18, 2018. The band has now been together for two years. The annual awards presentation, held at the Logan Center for the Arts at the University of Chicago, honors local musicians in over 40 categories.

The three-day North Coast Music Festival began on September 4, 2015 at Union Park. The main acts were Widespread Panic on Friday night, D'Angelo and the Vanguard on Saturday night and the Chemical Brothers on Sunday night. The festival is meant to attract a diverse audience with a wide range of musical genres. Three day passes for the event were sold out by opening day. Most of the bands were rising indie talent who have not had national hits yet.

The 10th annual Riot Fest was held at Humboldt Park September 12-14, 2014, featuring over 130 bands on seven stages. The concert attracted ar record crowd of 160,000 fans of punk, ska, garage rock and metal over a three day period. The concert festival was launched by Humboldt park residents Micahel Petryshyn and Sean McKeough in 2005. Acts included The Cure, Jane's Addiction, Weezer, Wu-Tang Clan, Patti Smith, the Buzzcocks, Stiff Little Fingers, Social Distortion, The National, The Descendents, Superchunk, The Offspring and local band the Orwells. The Riot Fest has been so successful over the years it has inspired festivals with the same name in Brooklyn, Philadelphia, Denver, Dallas and Toronto.

The City of Chicago has banned Congress Theater from allowing DJ-based electronic dance music (EDM) shows due to drug issues and liquor violations in the past. The venue, which has a capacity of 3,500, was shut down in May 2013. The legendary structure was built as a movie theater in 1926 and was designated a Chicago Landmark in 2002. Several big name acts have performed there. In 2014 the City and the venue agreed to guidelines that will still allow concerts with live musicians.

The Pitchfork Music Festival was held at Union Park on July 19-21, 2013. Chicago's R. Kelly was the main attraction, along with Lady Gaga, Bjork, Solange, Chromatics, Bell & Sebastian, M.I.A., Killer Mike, Yo La Tengo, Sky Ferreira, Lil B, Chairlift, Toro y Moi, Glass Candy and Tree. The three day festival, which Pitchfork launched in 2006, was a mix of various styles. There had been rumors that Justin Timberlake and Jay-Z would appear, which did not happen. The event was written about in this Jake Malooley article 7/22/2013 on Timeout Chicago.

Bonzie is an 18 year old indie rocker who writes and sings her own songs. Her real name is Nina Ferraro and she's originally from Wisconsin but now makes her home in Chicago. Her self released debut album called Rift Into the Secret of Things was released in August 2013. The album offers meditative songs and social commentary songs such as "Data Blockers." She began writing songs when she was 9 years old. Her influences include the Beatles and John Coltrane. She is now working with producer Steve Albini, who produced Nirvana and countless other bands. She was written about in this Selena Fragassi article 8/15/2013 in Chicago Magazine.

The North Coast Music Festival is set for Labor Day Weekend 2013, bringing together a wide mix of music presented by local promoters from React Presents and nightclubs Silver Wrapper, Cold Grums, Kingtello, and Metronome. The show features Passion Pit, Wu-Tang Clan, Big Gigantic, Madeon, A-Trak, Laidback Luke, Claude VonStroke, Seven Lions, Gramatik, Paper Diamond, Midnight Conspiracy and Skream. The event was previewed with various tracks from SoundClound in this article 8/21/2013 on Your EDM.

Chicago Music Magazine presented a music industry showcase on April 18, 2013 at Double Door. Featured bands included Draft Week, Duck, Fighting For Scraps, Set Fire To Reason, AyOh and Blue Boy. The event was streamed online by Gigity.TV.

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