It can be said that Pilsen Fest has become one of Chicago’s most popular summer street festivals. With an expected attendance of up to 10,000, this year’s 10th annual edition on September 4th& 5th at Harrison Park (1824 S. Wood Street) aims to top them all with two days dedicated to the unified spirit and creative talents of the historic neighborhood. The festival’s blend of eccentric music, food, arts, and culture highlights the hood’s diverse Latino heritage, while also promoting literacy and health, and wellbeing through key partners like the City of Chicago to collaborate in the third Protect Chicago Music Series and Pilsen Community Market.
Pilsen Fest 2021 edition is featuring four important objectives:
1. This year, Pilsen Fest has partnered with the City of Chicago to collaborate in the third Protect Chicago Music Series concert, ¡Súbelo! featuring the International talent: Kinky, Molotov and a great amazing line up of local talent: musicians, poets, and visual artists. It will be held in Harrison Park, 1824 S. Wood Street. The free concert event will be on Saturday, September 4 from 1:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m., it will be only open to Chicago residents age 18 and up with a ticket who are fully vaccinated. On Sunday, Pilsen Fest will continue free and open to the public, regardless of vaccination status; nevertheless, on Sunday we’ll have a Covid-19 screening and vaccination unit.
2. Pilsen Community Market, the organization behind Pilsen Fest, is the recipient of a grant from the City of Chicago’s Department of Cultural Affairs & Special Events for the CHICAGO PRESENTS Program. This program is partially supported by a grant from the City of Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs & Special Events.
3. Pilsen Fest is centering the voices of Women of Color to be uplifted and celebrated through their work as this year’s much-needed equity theme. Sunday’s lineup is made up of all female musicians in Chicago and surrounding areas.
4. Pilsen Fest and Joseph Jr. Paying it Forward Scholarship are teaming up to co-host an art auction and produce a book by artists from Pilsen and other Chicagoland communities in support of the “Joseph Jr. Paying it Forward Scholarship.” The goal is to raise upwards of $30K to make available grants for unprivileged students that attend Benito Juárez Academy in Pilsen.
5. Dark Matter Coffee, a Pilsen Fest Community Sponsor, will print a limited-edition coffee can with the image of the festival’s poster by Karla Wong (a transgender woman artist from Oaxaca living in Chicago). Dark Matter Coffee will donate $1 per can distributed at the festival to the scholarship.
“Our message is ‘one village, one sound’,” says Pilsen Fest Director Esmirna Garcia. “Pilsen Fest symbolizes the type of diversity, solidarity, and unity that can be found throughout the whole Pilsen neighborhood.”
If you want to keep going after Saturday’s opening day, head over to Penny Whistle for the official afterset featuring Gil Cerezo of Kinky, along with Kinky P, Shon Dervis and Mr. Bobby. Get your tix here.
Check out this preview from the 2018 lineup…