Most festivals in Chicago are put on by large-scale production companies such as C3 or Jam productions. These are huge corporations that have the manpower and money to put on massive, successful, wonderful events, yet sometimes balk at the DIY ethics that are a staple in the modern music industry. This weekend the tables will start to turn though, as the Chicago Noise Machine host the massive I AM Fest at the Congress Theater.
The Chicago Noise Machine is a partnership of nine local rock acts, a collective of artist that are collaborating on a series of concerts and compilation albums. Power can be in the numbers, and the Chicago Noise Machine proves just that with their choice to put together I AM Fest. The original nine bands will be playing, and have invited sixteen of their choice local acts to play the festival as well, creating a diverse event of musicians from different backgrounds all having the bond of being local Chicago acts. I AM Fest isn't just about the impressive fourteen hours of music though. It will also feature works by artist, photographers, and filmmakers throughout the Congress, providing a solid day of exposure to new music and art.
The thing that excites me the most about this festival is the aspect of local musicians and artist fusing together to create a group that champions all things local. Banding together to help market and promote, network with other artist, and create work together is crucial for making a local independent scene flourish. The other impressive thing about the festival is the dedication and hard work to put it together and promote the event. I've seen signs all over town, over 60 bars and clubs in the city are advertising the festival, and over 1000 posters were put up. They've had a laundry list of mentions in both print and television, and have been spotlighted on 97.9 Loop and Q101, even partnering up with Q101 and Old Style Beer to host a show last week to promote the festival. It's one thing to throw a party in this town, but it's another thing to have the dedication and drive to really push an event and wholeheartedly work yourself to the bone getting the word out. Chicago Noise Machine and I AM Fest mean business when it comes to promoting local music, art, and culture.
I AM Fest is this weekend, Saturday June 13th, at the Congress Theater, 2135 N. Milwaukee. The festival is 17+ and doors open at 11am with music starting at 12:30pm. Advance tickets are $15, day of the show tickets are $20. For full band line-up and schedule check out the I AM Fest online.