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Best Summertime Chi music fest? You tell us.

By City Cast staff | @CityCastChicago


After being teased with a couple of unseasonably warm days, we’re all dreaming about summer in the city — and the many, many music fests.

But what’s the best fest? Fill out our Summertime Chi Fest Madness bracket!

Over the next few days, you can vote on Chi’s best music fests in four rounds, aka Sweet 16 style.

A March Madness–style bracket with 16 music festivals facing off. It says "City Cast Chicago: Summertime Chi Fest Madness" at the top and a blue sun is at the bottom.

The first round closes Sunday morning, and I’ll let you know Monday which fests advance to the second round. 

C’mon, you might as well participate: Illinois and Loyola aren’t even in the tournament anymore.

Thursday’s Trivia Answer: 

Which of the four Ricketts kids is a major Democrat supporter? Laura, the only Ricketts daughter and openly gay owner of a major sports league, was a big supporter of both Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton. 

Big shoutouts to readers Jessie Eisner-Kleyle, Veronica Arreola, Mark Wilkey, Eileen Burke, Stacey Larsen, Ryan Brevard, Rabia Halim, Suzy Jackson, Vera Panchak, John Chatz, and Gail Montenegro for answering correctly 🎉
Thanks for playing along!


▪️ Mayor Lori Lightfoot has tapped Nicole Lee to be the next 11th Ward alder. If confirmed, she’ll be Chicago’s first Asian American woman on City Council. Listen to the podcast to hear more 🎧 [City Cast]

▪️ Supporters of search warrant reforms are set to rally Saturday, calling for a vote on the Anjanette Young ordinance. Police wrongfully raided Young’s home in 2019.

▪️ Another Starbucks in the Chicago area is joining national unionization efforts. The Edgewater shop is the sixth location to unionize here. [WTTW]

▪️ Fourteen library branches on the South and West sides are now stocking naloxone, an overdose-reversal medication. [South Side Weekly]

▪️ This week’s must-read.

A multi-colored banner reading, "The future is a community project: How do you envision justice?" with the url to the Illinois Humanities' new virtual exhibit.

Envisioning Justice RE:ACTION, a virtual Illinois Humanities exhibit and activation kit that uses the arts and humanities to imagine a future without mass incarceration, is now open. The virtual exhibit features work by artists, humanists, journalists, filmmakers, poets, musicians, educators, and activists — many of whom are formerly or currently incarcerated.

The free opening reception is April 6.


TODAY: “Enjoy Life” visual art experience Pilsen 
Check out photographer Lawrence Agyei’s new work, and get new merch from Desmond Owusu at the Vault Gallerie from 7–10 p.m. Proceeds go to helping children in Chicago and Ghana.

SATURDAY: “Say My Name” screening in Bronzeville 
Watch the documentary about women in hip-hop followed by a discussion with artist Amina Norman-Hawkins at the Parkway Ballroom at 2 p.m.

SATURDAY & SUNDAY: Ballet Hispanico Doña Perón shows downtown
See the dance company’s performances showcasing the life and sudden death of the iconic Argentinian choreographer at the Auditorium Theatre

SUNDAY: Oscar parties in Lakeview, Bucktown
Nom on some wine and cheese and vote on your fav movies of this year at the Music Box Theatre Sunday at 5 p.m., or get dolled up to go to the Chicago Actors Studio watch party at 5:30 p.m. 

THIS WEEKEND: World Comedy Expo
See 170+ acts at the inaugural fest at five venues across the city through Sunday. We’re talking sketch, improv, and stand-up performers, c’mon?! 

THIS WEEK: Chicago Restaurant Week starts 
Treat your tastebuds and get special deals at restaurants citywide through April 10. Hyde Park Herald and Eater Chicago flagged some good spots!


There are several dates in early 2020 seared into my memory.

Jan. 20 — The first U.S. COVID-19 case was diagnosed in the Seattle area, where I was living.

Feb. 26 — I spent the day at a prison in southwest Washington covering a Black History Month event. I ate lunch with about 240 incarcerated men and outside guests, as they sang and performed poetry.

The country’s first COVID death was announced at an 8 p.m. press conference three days after that, also in the Seattle area.

March 4 — I took a Lyft back to the office after a press event with University of Washington scientists. They promised COVID-19 tests would soon be available to anyone who wanted one. The driver commented that he was already losing rides.

You know the rest.

And the changes in my own life — this new job, a cross-country move — could have happened outside of a pandemic. But against this backdrop of collective loss, grief, and confusion, each remembered date takes on new significance.

👉 Thanks to everyone who shared how their lives have changed over the last two years. Revisit the City Cast team’s and readers’ responses here.


A small dark car tightly squeezed between two other vehicles.
An A+ parking job on Sheridan between Winona and Foster in Uptown. (Carrie Shepherd/City Cast)

Let’s give it up for City Cast’s Carrie Shepherd’s parking job 👏 I’m not going to lie: I had my doubts as she was doing it, but she didn’t even have to do the Chicago tap. 

Hear more of the team’s moments of joy this week on today’s podcast.

Not subscribed yet? Fix that 👇

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