Fans of powerful refrains and dramatic harmonies rejoice because the Department of Cultural Affairs & Special Events (DCASE) just announced their headliners for the 28th Chicago Gospel Music Festival. This year's event (Thursday, June 20 - Sunday, June 23) includes Grammy Award winners, Gospel Music Hall of Fame inductees and some of the city's most talented local choirs.
Once again the Bronzeville neighborhood, the birthplace of Gospel music, will serve as the festival's main home - with the weekend portion of the event at Ellis Park (37th and Cottage Grove). Millennium Park will host the opening night performances on Thursday, June 20 and the Chicago Cultural Center is home to various events on Friday, June 21.
Opening Night at Millennium Park (Thursday, June 20)
This year's festival kicks off with a Chicago Gospel Choir Competition at the Jay Pritzker Pavilion. Choirs from across Chicago will compete to win a prime performance slot on Saturday night's main stage in Ellis Park.
Chicago Gospel Festival at the Chicago Cultural Center (Friday, June 21)
The schedule's yet to be announced, but festivities include daytime programming and an evening film screening at the Chicago Cultural Center.
Chicago Gospel Festival at Ellis Park (Saturday, June 22 - Sunday, June 23)
The McDonald's Inspiration Celebration Tour returns to Ellis Park with a Saturday night lineup that features Grammy Award winner Smokie Norful, 21-time Stellar Award winner John P. Kee and New Life, Grammy Award winning hip-hop artist Lecrae, and Billboard No. 1 recording artist Tamela Mann. Also joining them with a brief performance is host Vickie Winans.
Sunday evening's lineup begins with Gospel Music Hall of Fame inductees Joe Ligon and The Mighty Clouds of Joy, followed by Grammy Award nominated singer-songwriter Kierra Sheard, and the festival closes with an all-star treat. Headlining Sunday is The Brat Pack: Bishop Hezekiah Walker, Ricky Dillard & Donald Lawrence featuring Dexter Walker & Zion Movement on backing vocals.
The Battle of Chicago Gospel Choirs
If you can't wait for June's event, there's a new element of this year's festival that should tidy over your need for dramatic harmonies. The Battle of the Chicago Gospel Choirs, will take to the neighborhoods with regional competitions: May 18 at Austin Town Hall Park and June 1 at the Washington Park Fieldhouse. The Grand Finale Round will take place on the festival's opening night, Thursday, June 20, at the Jay Pritzker Pavilion in Millennium Park. Choirs interested in participating will find more information on the festival website, chicagogospelmusicfestival.us and entries must be received by May 7.
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