This July 4 weekend, take part in a long-standing Chicago that festival celebrates diversity – mainly African and Caribbean cultures.
During the upcoming holiday weekend, Chicago’s Union Park will host the 23rd annual International Festival of Life. The four-day celebration will offer live music, food, the annual Chicago Music Awards – even a tribute to the late artist Prince on “Purple Sunday.”
The event will take place July 1 to July 4 from noon to 10 p.m. each day.
Each year, the event attracts roughly 50,000 visitors during the showcase of culture, food, music and traditions from across the globe.
Over the course of the weekend, three stages at the park will feature more than 70 reggae, world music, R&B, gospel, Latin, rock, blues and jazz bands.
In addition, more than 200 vendors will display, sell and offering samples of their art, crafts and jewelry.
Meanwhile, no festival would be complete without food. The festival will have plenty of options for feasting with more than 20 vendors selling items that are popular in the two regions.
Since its launch in 1993, the event has grown to incorporate elements of the Caribbean, Africa, South and Central America and Mexico.
Still, Jamaica and its reggae music remains the event’s driving force. Each year, musicians and performers from African, Caribbean, Hispanic/Latin American territories help the event “Bring nations Together” and live together as one.
As a special element this year, the festival will dovetail with the 35th anniversary of the Chicago Music Awards, which will be held in the park on the first day of the festival, July 1.
This year, the festival will also include a special Earth, Wind and Fire tribute in honor of singer Maurice White, one of the co-founders of the legendary R&B group, who died earlier this year.
While the lineup of performers is still taking shape, the third day of the festival, July 3, is being billed as Purple Sunday as a tribute to the musician Price, who died this spring.
Interested in being part of it all? Tickets are on sale now and can be purchased online here.
For a full guide to summer fun across the city this July, take a look at our festivals page here.