Chicago's annual Gospel Music Festival is one of the largest in the country, occupying various locations through the city for three full days, starting Friday, June 27th through the 29th. The most praiseworthy part of this festival? The free admission to all events.
The festival kicks off Friday morning indoors at the Chicago Cultural Center (78 E. Washington St.) with performances from the cast of the wildly popular Motown The Musical, energetic young choir Gregg & F.R.I.E.N.D.S., excellent worship song composer Adrian B. King and Company and more!
Saturday and Sunday's festival performers move to Ellis Park (at 73th and Cottage Grove). Music kicks off at 11 a.m. each day. Saturday night welcomes the Inspiration Celebration Gospel Tour featuring Erica Campbell, Kurt Carr, Mississippi Mass Choir, Anthony Brown & Group TherAPy, Uncle Reece, Moses Tyson, Jr., and comedian Jonathan Slocumb (beginning at 5 p.m.).
Sunday rolls out another impressive list of performers. The festival winds down with a tribute to Dr. Charles G. Hayes (the inspirational senior pastor of Chicago's Cosmopolitan Church of Prayer who passed away earlier this year), featuring Pastor Derail Smith & the Charles G. Hayes Reunion Choir and Elder DeAndre Patterson. Grammy Award-winning Tye Tribbett closes out the 29th annual Chicago Gospel Music Festival at 7:45 p.m. Tribett's genre-bending style appeals to all generations of worshippers, promising to end the fest on a high-spirited, communal note.
Historic Bronzeville Tours
Chicago has long been an influential hub for Gospel music and the city's South Side churches are mostly responsible for that reputation. On Saturday, June 28, the Chicago Gospel Music Festival will be offering free 60-minute narrated trolley tours of the churches of the history Bronzeville neighborhood and some of its most beautiful churches, including Ebenezer Baptist Church, First Church of Deliverance, Pilgrim Baptist and more. Trolleys depart every 30 minutes beginning at 12:30 p.m. The last tour departs at 3:30 p.m.
While the music and the history of Chicago's Gospel community is the central theme of the festival, wholesome family fun is very much an important part of the weekend. Ellis Park will welcome a Kids Play Zone Saturday and Sunday in Ellis Park which will include crafts, an inflatable bounce house and appearances from McDonald's characters. For the adults, check out the Art Fair and Marketplace for your next possible investment on stunning jewelry, home decor or fashion. Don't miss the Heath & Wellness Oasis, as well, offering free health screenings (diabetes, blood pressure, etc.) and free health life style giveaways.
For more information on Chicago's Gospel Music Festival and a full schedule, visit its website.