The Biggest Weekend in Chicago

cover photo by J Skolnick Photography

Have you ever thought what it would be like to attend a show, but instead of it all being in one location, you embark on an adventure to check out a handful of venues across the city? Well then look no further than The Big Weekend in Chicago! The Big Weekend featured a great lineup of artists across the city of Chicago that include Umphrey’s McGee, Lettuce, Emancipator Ensemble, and Papadosio, to name a few. With a stacked lineup filled with a lot of jam and funk, the weekend was one to not be forgotten!

What makes The Big Weekend unique?

With 3 days of musical talent spread across 5 different venues in Chicago, it made this weekend a unique experience. The venues include the following:

Aragon Ballroom

photo by J Skolnick Photography

Artists who played here:

  • Umphrey’s McGee

Concord Music Hall

photo taken from Concord Music Hall Facebook

Artists who played here:

  • Lettuce (2 sets)
  • Mungion
  • The Motet
  • The Russ Liquid Test
  • SunSquabi

House of Blues

photo taken from House of Blues Chicago Facebook

Artists who played here:

  • Southern Avenue
  • Spafford (2 sets)

Park West

photo taken from Park West Facebook

Artists who played here:

  • The Revolution
  • Amy Helm
  • Leftover Salmon

The Vic Theatre

photo taken by J Skolnick Photography

Artists who played here:

  • Papadosio
  • Emancipator Ensemble

What made The Big Weekend unique to me was attending a few shows at some of these venues. While I have been to a few of these venues before The Big Weekend, it was an absolute treat to explore some new venues that I have never been to before!

Musical Highlights

The artists that were booked for The Big Weekend were phenomenal, but I was only lucky to catch a few of the shows. My favorite set of the weekend had to be Emancipator Ensemble! Every time I get to see Emancipator, I feel like his sets get better each time. With the mixture of a variety of instruments from the band, which consisted of keys, cello, guitar, violin, and drums, the band jams so well together that it is a moment of pure bliss listening to them perform numerous songs of Emancipator’s latest album, Baralku. I was happy to hear a handful of my favorite songs performed while at the Vic Theatre on Friday night.

photo by Connor McAuliffe

Another highlight of the weekend was seeing SunSquabi and the Russ Liquid Test at the Concord Music Hall. I have never been to the Concord, but was happy to see new mural of Robin Williams outside of the venue that two artists worked together to paint. Upon arriving at the venue, it was nice to see Russ Liquid hanging outside the venue before he hit the stage for their set. It was quite an enjoyable set since the venue wasn’t packed wall to wall. If anyone thought that the Russ Liquid Test set was amazing, the SunSquabi set was a great follow up set. The highlight of their set had to be when they were playing Pablito and jammed out and extended the song!

Overall, I think the structure of The Big Weekend was something special and love how it gets you out to explore the city and hit some different venues around town. Chicago is always a city that I love visiting! I would personally love to see another festival organized like this in the future and be able to get out and see new venues that I have never seen!

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