Chicago’s new and reimagined World Music Events – The Year of Chicago Music


The Year of Chicago Music will celebrate Chicago’s Jazz and World Music Festivals with virtual performances over the Labor Day holiday and Sundays throughout September.

Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot and the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE) announced today new and reimagined Jazz and World Music events as part of the Year of Chicago Music – now extended into 2021.  

“Music has long been our universal language and the common thread that ties people together across culture, time, and now, more than ever, physical distance,” said Mayor Lightfoot. “These creative renditions of this year’s Jazz and World Music events will provide ways for people to enjoy the spirit of a Chicago festival season while prioritizing health and safety. As the birthplace of Gospel and House music, electric Blues and modern Jazz, Chicago’s sounds and melodies reflect the diversity and dynamism of the people and communities we all call home.” 

Millennium Park at Home: Chicago Jazz and the Virtual World Music Festival are part of a robust calendar of virtual events honoring many of Chicago’s beloved festivals that were canceled in response to the coronavirus pandemic to protect the health and safety of residents and visitors. Additionally, while Millennium Park remains open and Chicago City Markets continue this fall – permitted special events are canceled and the Chicago Cultural Center will remain closed through the end of this year as part of the City’s comprehensive COVID-19 response plan. 


Millennium Park at Home: Chicago Jazz

The Millennium Park at Home: Chicago Jazz” series will offer four days of free, virtual performances programmed with the Jazz Institute of Chicago over Labor Day Weekend starting Thursday, September 3 through Sunday, September 6 from 4-8 pm. Millennium Park at Home: Chicago Jazz will feature top local and national Jazz artists and include special performances by Chicago artists Tito Carillo and Rempis, Reid, Abrams (September 3), Victor Garcia and Bobby Broom (September 4), Reggie Thomas and Marlene Rosenberg (September 5), and Twin Talk and Bethany Pickens (September 6). Each evening will also showcase the NextGenJazz emerging artist series, highlights from the Chicago Jazz Festival archives, and performances co-presented with local music organizations and filmed at music venues. This program is made possible with support from Millennium Park Foundation, Chicago Community Trust, 90.9fm WDCB Public Radio and Chicago Transit Authority (CTA). For the complete lineup and details, visit  

Virtual World Music Festival Chicago

The reimagined “Virtual World Music Festival Chicago” will offer a series of free concerts featuring artists from across the globe each Sunday in September from 1-3 pm. Highlights include the annual celebration of Indian classical music, Ragamala: A Centennial Tribute to Ravi Shankar (September 6) recorded at the Chicago Cultural Center and co-curated with People of Rhythm; Afro-Diáspora y Folklore (September 13) recorded and co-curated with Segundo Ruiz Belvis Cultural Center; the Chicago-based traditional Irish supergroup 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 and co-conducted by Fareed Haque and Wanees Zarour. This program is supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) and is sponsored by the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA). For the complete lineup and details, visit 

Both virtual concert series will air on and follow a busy summer season of more than 150 new and reimagined DCASE events that included many other virtual concerts, at-home dance parties, drive-in movies, farmers markets, and 21 community meals for frontline workers. To date, the Department’s virtual events have had a combined online audience of more than 365,000 views. Since April, DCASE has booked more than 100 musicians and provided nearly $2 million in financial relief specifically to Chicago musicians and music organizations – in partnership with the local philanthropic community including Arts for Illinois. 

“During these Years of Chicago Music, DCASE and our partners are committed to showcasing and lifting up the incredible musicians, organizations, and venues that comprise our diverse and legendary music scene,” said Mark Kelly, Commissioner of DCASE. “While celebrating Chicago’s rich music legacy, we will also welcome artists from across the globe virtually, because music has the power to unite us.” 

Additionally, a new fall series of hybrid in-person/virtual events showcasing Chicago musicians at neighborhood clubs and music venues will be announced soon.  

Other DCASE venue, programming and permitting updates include: 

  • Following the City and State guidelines for Phase 4 reopening, DCASE will not issue Special Events Permits for outdoor festivals, athletic events, and non-essential markets including Maxwell Street Market through the end of this year. (Last year, there were 182 permitted special events September – December 2019.) 
  • Following recommendations from the CDC and the guidance of City and State officials to avoid non-essential gatherings and any gatherings larger than 10 individuals, Block Party Permits are not being issued by CDOT through the end of this year. 
  • The Chicago Film Office will continue permitting film crews in accordance with the Restore Illinois Film Production Guidelines and the City of Chicago’s Be Safe Film and Television Production Guidelines. The Film Office is also co-presenting online events for the local industry. Visit for details. 
  • Chicago Cultural Center will remain closed to the public through the end of this year, although DCASE and its partners will continue to present virtual tours and programs. Clarke House MuseumExpo 72, and the City Gallery in the Historic Water Tower will also remain closed through the end of this year.  
  • Millennium Park remains open daily, 8 a.m. to 9 p.m., for groups of 10 persons or fewer who practice physical distancing and wear face coverings. Visit for information about where to enter/exit the park, which facilities are open, and upcoming virtual events.  
  • “Millennium Park at Home: Workouts” will continue on Saturdays, August 22 and 29 (8–9 a.m.) at  
  • Chicago City Markets continue through October 2020, increasing neighborhood access to fresh and healthy food. DCASE is taking necessary precautions to encourage social distancing and protect the safety of customers and vendors. Visit for schedule and details. Maxwell Street Market will remain closed through the end of this year. 
  • The “Teen Arts Tuesdays” virtual events series presented by DCASE with Segundo Ruiz Belvis Cultural Center will continue on August 25 and September 1 (6–7 p.m.) at 
  • Part of Night Out in the Parks, Drive-In Movies presented by the Chicago Park District and DCASE continue on August 20 at 8 p.m. (Riis Park, “Akeelah and the Bee”), August 25 at 8 p.m. (Humboldt Park, “The Secret Life of Bees”), and August 27 at 8 p.m. (Calumet Park, “The Last Dragon”). Movies are free, but pre-registration is required. Visit for details.