ARC Music Festival Debuts in Chicago, Honoring The Pioneers of House Music
Monday at 7:07 pm
Photo Courtesy, Auris Presents.
The ARC Music Festival is a first time musical feat that paid homage to Chicago’s well-known history of its house music pioneers and culture, while entertaining thousands on Labor Day Weekend.
Photo Courtesy, Auris Presents.
A collaboration of 60 renowned deejays gathered from around the world to participate in ARC Music Festival’s debut event. Over 3000 visitors descended in Chicago’s Union Park for a two-day weekend of house and techno music concerts that featured extravagant light shows and non-stop dancing.
The outdoor festival was produced by Chicago-based Auris Presents and offered four stages; The Grid, Expansions, Elrow & The ARC Car, all with its own exotic theme, while praising the boldness of famous deejays like the late Frankie Knuckles, who help create the original house music genre of the ’80s.
“House music remains Chicago’s gift to the music world,” says festival producer Nick Karounos, “a sound that has shifted shape and style as it travels, relinquishing boundaries and connecting fans.”
In the late ’70s, Frankie Knuckles, highly recognized as the originator of house music, ventured from New York to Chicago for an assignment from Robert Williams, owner of U.S. Studios to deejay at the Warehouse.
“It was the way he enhanced the climax of the songs with crossover techniques that made his mixes so dance-able,” Kevin said. “So when Frankie blended disco with R&B hooks while performing at the Warehouse in Chicago, the dance music became popular, which coined the phrase ‘house’ to describe the music played at the Warehouse.”
Toni Shelton is the producer of The Queen of House Music film documentary along with Emmy Award winning Editor Don Howze. She’s been promoting house music parties since she was a teenager in the mid ‘80s. Toni has been honored with local and national awards for her contribution to the house music genre that span over three decades.
“We were just kids when we had our first experience of dancing to house music,” says Toni. “If you wanted to party and feel the experience of love, fun and music all at the same time, then my house parties were the place to be!”
Toni was familiar with the ARC Music Festival through their social media campaign and says the roster of deejays were the most popular from around the world. “The ARC Music Festival had these elaborate ads that were colorful with a lot of deejays using stage lighting effects” says Toni. “I loved the energy and loved seeing that house music has become more popular worldwide.”
Some of Toni’s first house parties were held at local clubs throughout Chicago. She hired several of her close friends to deejay her parties, who were some of Chicago’s best house deejays like Andre’ Hatchett, Keith Fobs, Rob Taylor, Kenny Ray and the multi-Grammy nominee Steve ‘Silk’ Hurley.
“They loved Frankie Knuckles’ musical style and deejay techniques,” expresses Toni, “and still today, each of my deejays are sought out around the world to work parties from Hollywood to Jamaica.”
Keith Fobs has seen the success of house music events like the ARC festival, and says these renaissance deejays have found a niche overseas that attract thousands of house fans.
“I was impressed that our original house music style is well appreciated on an international level,” says Keith, “its a great feeling that the world truly recognizes Chicago as the birthplace of house.”
That’s what the ARC Music Festival hopes to do every year, as stated on their website arcmusicfestival.com, to extend far beyond the music; and bring the global scene to the culture and artistry that makes Chicago special.
Festival organizers say this is their way of saying ‘thank you’ and to show their love appreciation to the Chicago pioneers who built the captivating music sound, simply known as ‘house’.
About the Author: Don Howze is an Emmy Award Winning Film/Tape Editor and Associate Professor of Journalism and Television Production. Don is the producer and director of the upcoming film documentaries The Production Crew and Toni Shelton’s Queen Of House Music.