Chicago House Music Festival honors ‘a cultural institution’ for the city

The free event, hosted for the first time this year in Humboldt Park, also partnered with the Taste of Chicago Saturday afternoon.

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Festival goers dance during the Chicago House Music Festival and Taste of Chicago Humboldt Park in the Humboldt Park neighborhood, Saturday, June 24, 2023.

Festival goers dance during the Chicago House Music Festival and Taste of Chicago Humboldt Park in the Humboldt Park neighborhood, Saturday, June 24, 2023.

Pat Nabong/Sun-Times

The annual Chicago House Music Festival brought catchy beats and smooth dance moves to Humboldt Park’s Boathouse Lawn Saturday afternoon.

The one-day fest, held at Humboldt Park for the first time, featured nine Chicago DJs, including headliner Queen! For A Day, along with Robert Owens, a legendary figure from Chicago’s house music scene.

Organizer David Chavez said the event honors and celebrates house music as “a Chicago cultural institution.”

“House music was truly born and raised here,” Chavez said. “It’s really meaningful for fans of the music. It’s a part of our DNA, and many of us grew up listening to house music.”

Keisha Janae dances during the Chicago House Music Festival and Taste of Chicago Humboldt Park in the Humboldt Park neighborhood, Saturday, June 24, 2023.

Keisha Janae dances during the Chicago House Music Festival and Taste of Chicago Humboldt Park in the Humboldt Park neighborhood, Saturday, June 24, 2023.

Pat Nabong/Sun-Times

The free festival, put on by the city of Chicago’s Cultural Affairs and Special Events Department, also partnered with Taste of Chicago Humboldt Park on Saturday, offering a wide variety of food options for festival-goers. The annual food fest is being spread out across a series neighborhood pop-ups this year, while NASCAR takes over Grant Park next weekend for the Chicago Street Race.

Some attendees Saturday danced along for a performer’s entire hour-long set, while others avoided the heat and enjoyed the music from the shade. Families stopped by for picnics and kids bounced in the bouncy castles.

“We really wanted this to be something open to anyone who wants to attend,” Chavez said.

Richard Thomas and his daughter Sofy Thomas eat during the Chicago House Music Festival and Taste of Chicago Humboldt Park in the Humboldt Park neighborhood, Saturday, June 24, 2023.

Richard Thomas and his daughter Sofy Thomas eat during the Chicago House Music Festival and Taste of Chicago Humboldt Park in the Humboldt Park neighborhood, Saturday, June 24, 2023.

Pat Nabong/Sun-Times

Rich Robinson, a 49-year-old Humboldt Park resident, roller bladed over to the park to scope out the festival before he brought his kids along later. He produces house music as a part of a global music collaborative called “Artispure.”

“I’m bringing my two loves together, house music and roller blading,” Robinson said. “Skating is the perfect way for me to share my music.”

Robinson, an engineer by day, is currently working on a new record that will blend experimental music, EDM and rock. His 14-year-old son is also a house music DJ. His stage name is Gold Gavin and he recently signed with a record label, Robinson said.

Rich Robinson, a DJ and a house music fan, dances with roller blades on during the Chicago House Music Festival and Taste of Chicago Humboldt Park in the Humboldt Park neighborhood, Saturday, June 24, 2023.

Rich Robinson, a DJ and a house music fan, dances with roller blades on during the Chicago House Music Festival and Taste of Chicago Humboldt Park in the Humboldt Park neighborhood, Saturday, June 24, 2023.

Pat Nabong/Sun-Times

Chavez said the festival’s line up changes each year and offers a wide array of performers.

“We have a high level of inclusivity, not only in our performers, but also their different styles of house music. We also are able to give a platform for both emerging and established artists,” Chavez said.

“These are all Chicago artists, they made their careers here. We’ve also brought national and international artists before, but we really care about supporting local artists.”

Noshaluv performs during the Chicago House Music Festival and Taste of Chicago Humboldt Park in the Humboldt Park neighborhood, Saturday, June 24, 2023.

Noshaluv performs during the Chicago House Music Festival and Taste of Chicago Humboldt Park in the Humboldt Park neighborhood, Saturday, June 24, 2023.

Pat Nabong/Sun-Times

Earlier this week, “The Warehouse,” a 113-year-old West Loop building considered to be the birthplace of house music, became a Chicago landmark.

“It’s so important to honor, celebrate and preserve house music as a true Chicago institution,” Chavez said. “It’s a part of our history.”

Food vendors are scattered around Humboldt Park during the Chicago House Music Festival and Taste of Chicago Humboldt Park in the Humboldt Park neighborhood, Saturday, June 24, 2023.

Food vendors are scattered around Humboldt Park during the Chicago House Music Festival and Taste of Chicago Humboldt Park in the Humboldt Park neighborhood, Saturday, June 24, 2023.

Pat Nabong/Sun-Times

Festival goers dance during the Chicago House Music Festival and Taste of Chicago Humboldt Park in the Humboldt Park neighborhood, Saturday, June 24, 2023.

Festival goers dance during the Chicago House Music Festival and Taste of Chicago Humboldt Park in the Humboldt Park neighborhood, Saturday, June 24, 2023.

Pat Nabong/Sun-Times

A Tacotlán workers prepares orders during the Chicago House Music Festival and Taste of Chicago Humboldt Park in the Humboldt Park neighborhood, Saturday, June 24, 2023.

A Tacotlán workers prepares orders during the Chicago House Music Festival and Taste of Chicago Humboldt Park in the Humboldt Park neighborhood, Saturday, June 24, 2023.

Pat Nabong/Sun-Times

Birria tacos from Tacotlán are for sale during the Chicago House Music Festival and Taste of Chicago Humboldt Park in the Humboldt Park neighborhood, Saturday, June 24, 2023.

Birria tacos from Tacotlán are for sale during the Chicago House Music Festival and Taste of Chicago Humboldt Park in the Humboldt Park neighborhood, Saturday, June 24, 2023.

Pat Nabong/Sun-Times

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