In the late seventies and eighties, a group of local DJs—Wayne Williams, Jesse Saunders, Alan King, Tony Hatchett and Andre Hatchett—helped turn Chicago-style house music into an international phenomenon. In 1990, the by-now-self-christened Chosen Few Disco Corp. (self-esteem obviously not being a problem area for them) held a reunion picnic at Jackson Park, and rather than being a wistful, weren’t-the-old-days-great-please-pass-the-potato-salad affair, the party generated enough high-energy mojo to launch an entirely new phenomenon: an annual house-music festival that grew to incorporate live performances as well as epic-scale spinning. This year, the event that’s come to be known as “the Woodstock of house music” celebrates its twenty-fifth anniversary in high style, with the original Chosen Few members (plus later additions Terry Hunter and Mike Dunn) still presiding. Featured performers include Stephanie Mills, Evelyn “Champagne” King and Cory Daye, plus guest DJs Masters At Work duo Louie Vega and Kenny Dope Gonzalez, Derrick Carter, Stan Zeff, Keith Fobs and Greg Gray. And don’t let that “Chosen Few” name fool you: the July 4 picnic draws more than 40,000 house-music fanatics and spills over into ancillary celebrations that fill up the rest of the holiday weekend. (Robert Rodi)
July 4 at Jackson Park, 63rd and Hayes. $25/$45/$50.
Robert Rodi is an author, spoken-word performer and musician who has served as Newcity’s Music Editor since 2014. He’s written more than a dozen books, including the travel memoir “Seven Seasons In Siena.” His jazz quintet recently completed a two-year residency at Uncommon Ground, and he regularly hosts a jazz singers’ jam at Lizard’s Liquid Lounge. His literary and music criticism has appeared in the Los Angeles Times, the Chicago Tribune, Salon, The Huffington Post and many other national and regional publications.