It’s a beautiful June day in downtown Chicago. You walk into the Randolph Square Cultural Center, with its highly decorated interior, and you see a stage, some mics, and rows of people listening to different performances. Go a block east later that afternoon, to Millennium Park’s Pritzker Pavilion, and listen to booming music about love, worship, and God. Drums and guitars sit under soothing voices from performers both old and young. Or you arrive the next day, and sit on the park and watch the screen from afar.
This was the 32nd Chicago Gospel Music Festival, an event that was extraordinary for both its success and the kindness and humility of each act. During preparations for the festival, Picture this Post interviewed seven of the twenty-two performers beforehand and even more at the festival.
All of these gospel artists expressed great pride in performing at such a momentous occasion. The festival truly felt like more than just an event. Going on for 32 years, the gospel festival has been celebrating a type of music that has roots going back hundreds of years into Black culture and still is evolving today. For every traditional artist like Rance Allen there is now a new artist like Jonathon McReynolds, and this allows the music to appeal to every generation.
Each of the performers expressed, in some way or another, how different it was to perform at a festival of this size compared to a church. For many of these artists, performing at something of this scale was as much an event for them as it was for the city of Chicago.
And they were all so extremely nice and welcoming. After Glenn Johnson and the Voices of Innerpeace performed, this writer went backstage to interview the whole choir. There, they not only offered thanks for the profile and interview but also gave a gift. It was such a sweet act of kindness and something that you don’t often see with other singers and artists today.
This was the Chicago Gospel Festival. To your left are cover pictures. Most will send you to an article that the Picture this Post Gospel Festival Editorial Team did on the festival, whether it was our daily recaps or a profile of one of the artists and choirs. Included are pictures of this writer with the Voices of Innerpeace, who can’t be thanked enough for their generosity.
Thank you for reading our coverage of the Chicago Gospel Festival. Until next year…
For photo credits, please refer to the stories linked to a particular picture.