Virtual music festival to benefit independent Chicago music venues

CHICAGO (WLS) -- The Smashing Pumpkins were on the verge of international stardom in 1993 when they played a series of legendary shows at the Metro in Wrigleyville.

Those performances are part of this weekend's virtual music festival benefitting independent music venues.

Places which are near and dear to musicians like Pumpkins' drummer Jimmy Chamberlin, who grew up in Joliet.

"My career and anybody who's ever stood on stage is a byproduct of the great people that surround them," said Chamberlin.

Metro owner Joe Shanahan recalls some of the artists who have stood on the theatre's stage, "Prince, Joe Strummer, Iggy, Billy Corgan."

He had to furlough more than 100 employees, but Shanahan still comes to work at the theater every day even though there are no shows on the schedule right now. Instead he's become a lobbyist, talking to politicians about help for the industry which has been quiet since the start of the pandemic.

"It's been tough on my wife and I and our kids. I'm proud we've been able to keep the wheels on the bus so to speak. It's the people that make this happen," he said.

The virtual music festival features acts including bands with Chicago roots like the Smashing Pumpkins and Fall Out Boy, as well as Imagine Dragons and others.

Fans can get access to the entire three day show which began Friday afternoon for $20. For artists like Chamberlin, it's an opportunity to try to help the keep entire music industry viable.

"It's important for us to band together and help each other. A high tide raises all boats," Chamberlin said.

Shanahan has been offering young bands a showcase for nearly four decades, and most of the bands are grateful and want to give back.

Even though the music came to a stop at Metro last March, all the shows on the calendar have been rescheduled for whenever live music comes back.

JBTV, who claims to be the music industry's longest running creator of original music television programming, is opening its archives to share 37 years of live music performances for a limited-engagement, on-demand festival experience.

You can find access to the virtual music festival at JBTVmusic.com.
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