For a quarter of a century, the City of Chicago has presented the Chicago Gospel Music Festival, celebrating a musical genre that truly came alive in the city. This great tradition continues this Saturday and Sunday in Millennium Park. With a slightly new look, the 26th Annual Chicago Gospel Music Festival features more than 50 performances on three stages, a Gospel art fair, health screenings, and family activities. Admission is free to the music festival in Millennium Park on the city's lakefront.
Familiar headliners who have been absent from Gospel Fest for awhile will be back, including multi-Stellar and Dove winner, Fred Hammond. Hammond, who's Free to Worship earned a Grammy Award for Best Contemporary R&B Album performs in Sunday's finale at the Jay Pritzker Pavilion. Also, returning this year is Dr. Ricky Dillard and the New G who last performed at the festival in 2004. His performance will lead off Saturday evening's line-up that includes Byron Cage and Hezekiah Walker and Love Fellowship Choir in their first appearance in more than a decade.
The Queen of Gospel Music will again hold court at the festival. Dr. Albertina Walker will be on stage on Sunday with The Caravans: Dorothy Norwood, Inez Andrews and Delores Washington. Chicago Gospel Music fans will enjoy seeing the line up of local performers including Kenny Lewis and One Voice which invites native New Yorker, JJ Hairston to join the Chicago group. Lewis has been leading his choir for more than a decade and is the principal writer of their songs. Their album, The Bridge, was recorded at Sweet Holy Spirit Baptist Church in Chicago. The CD release party was held at the church: www.youtube.com/watch?v=L9liFyzfuls. One Voice performs at 3:30 pm on Saturday on the Walgreens Day Stage.
Music, as usual, will start much earlier in the day at the Inspiration Youth Stage now located on the Chase Promenade South, just steps away from the Crown Fountain. The Walgreens Day Stage has also been moved to the Chase Promenade North just west of the Pritzker Pavilion.
Another new feature this year will be strolling entertainment such as drum lines and praise dancers between sets enticing visitors along Michigan Avenue to experience one of Chicago's great contributions to the music world.
The National Urban League and Walgreen's Wellness Tour will stop at the Gospel Music Festival. The Wellness Campaign features a 40-foot health screening and education vehicle that offers free health screenings including blood pressure, bone density, glucose and cholesterol levels, body mass index and weight circumference. The screenings are recommended for adults 18 and older. Results are instantly provided and participants are encouraged to visit a doctor or health care provider to discuss the results.
Gospel Festival hours are 11 am to 9 pm on Saturday, June 5 and Sunday, June 6. Entertainment at the Pritzker Pavilion begins at 4:30 p.m. on both days.
Taking public transportation is recommended for the Gospel Festival. Call (312) 836-7000, TTY (312) 836-4949 for information on RTA, CTA, PACE and Metra. Lakefront parking is available at the Millennium Park Garage, as well as at East Monroe, Grant Park North and Grant Park South parking garages.
For more information on the Gospel Music Festival and updates on performers, call the Mayor's Office of Special Events (312) 744-3315 or (312) 744.3316, TTY (312) 744-2964 or visit www.chicagogospelmusicfestival.us. For special hotel rates, call 1 (877) CHICAGO.
26TH ANNUAL GOSPEL MUSIC FESTIVAL
11 am to 9 pm
Saturday and Sunday
Michigan and Randolph, Chicago