The 2018 Chosen Few Festival & Picnic was filled with incredible music, performances and memories to last a lifetime. Affectionately called, “House Holiday Weekend ” or “House Music's Woodstock”, house music lovers gathered in the park and partied in peace and love all day long until 9pm. In its 28th year and still going strong without a single incident, there was nothing but peace, love, fellowship and house music in the park on a beautiful Saturday in Chicago. The Chosen Few Picnic embodies the spirit of house music and it showed in the tens of thousands who showed up to party in the park!
IT'S KICKOFF TIME!!!
Chosen Few Festivities kicked off Thursday at the Promontory in Hyde Park. Getting us ready for our weekend were Chosen Few DJs Mike Dunn and Andre Hatchet along with special guest DJ, Tony Touch from New York City. Andre set the party on fire infusing classics with the latest tracks. Tony Touch came in and took the already packed house to another level. My personal highlight was when he played my song, “Rough” and said on the mic, “This is my favorite”! I was behind the camera grinning so hard! What a moment! I was honored because I’ve been a huge fan of his for quite some time. His set was flawless and full of energy that kept the crowd dancing. Mike Dunn took the crowd home, closing out the night with a hot set full of dope tracks and original music! THE KICKOFF TO MY CHOSEN FEW WEEKEND HAD BEGUN!
Friday was a busy day full of activity for me. I was home prepping for the picnic. As a tent host, I had so much to do and I had to be organized. I’d be doing double duty in the park on Saturday, hosting my tent and covering the picnic for the Chosen Few. After hours of prep at home and heading to the park to check in on the VIP’s who were setting up early, I headed to Truth on the South side for the Chosen Few Day Party featuring Bruce Bailey, Lora Branch and one of this year’s guest DJs, Mz. Nicky D’Vine. It was a beautiful, hot Friday and the vibe at truth was relaxed and chill. Patrons dined on the expansive patio while dancers partied inside. Bruce, Lora and Mz. Nicky gave us a good groove as we prepared to get some rest and head to the park in the morning.
IT’S FINALLY TIME…TO PARTY IN THE PARK!
Saturday morning and my househead holiday has finally arrived. I was up at 3am getting ready, packing the car and making sure I had everything I needed for the day. My friend, Alraynita and I loaded up the car to capacity and headed to the park. People were already lined up down the block when we arrived at 5am. We unloaded with no hassle from the police and got in line. While in line I spent some time with fellow “1st responders” who were ready to get their tents up and the party started!
Once the gates opened, it was a flurry of activity. Tent city was in full production with guests racing to set up tents, get grills going and drinks flowing before the start of the music at 8am. We were all behind because the gates opened late so we were moving quickly. I enjoyed DJ Greg Winfield and Mz. Nicky D’Vine in my tent. They had us dancing while putting up our tents! By the time I had my tent set up; DJ Greg Grey was on the stage. Another highlight of my day was watching Greg Gray play my latest song, “House Is”! I already heard Mz. Nicky play my song, “Rough” so I was on cloud nine. Hearing my voice throughout the park was a feeling I can fully explain. It was a special moment for me personally. For the rest of the day I was all over the park; The VIP area, backstage, in my own tent and walking around meeting so many people who enjoy this website! Guest DJs, The Basement Boys (DJ Spen, Teddy Douglas and Karizma) and Ralphie Rosario were absolutely outstanding. OMG!!! Their sets were incredible. The Basement Boys practically took me to church with a set that was banging and uplifting! Ralphie Rosario showed the crowd that he was indeed a legend in the DJ Game. He was skilled and precise, reading the crowd and giving them what they wanted and more. He played some classics in a way that made them feel brand new again! I was filming, taking photos, dancing and having a ball!
I really enjoyed the addition of this year’s theme, Wakanda Forever, at the picnic. From the various fashions, Wakanda Themed tents and the incredible dancers who graced the stage with Sheila O, the spirit of Wakanda was present in the park in such an amazing way. We did it for the culture and it felt good!
Singers Sheree Hicks and Terisa Griffith came through and filled the park with those powerhouse voices! These ladies SANG and sounded absolutely amazing! They thrilled the crowd with some of their most successful tracks and you could hear the crowd singing along. These were the songs we have grooved to on dance floors around the world and it was incredible to hear them sing them live! In between all of this good music, the Chosen Few DJs each took control of the decks with precision; each of them delivering flawless sets in their own signature styles. It continues to amaze me how different each of them are in their music selection and delivery but how beautiful and seamless it works together. They effortlessly took the crowd on a musical journey. The shouts and screams of affirmation from the crowd proved it.
Closing out the night was the legendary Chuck “The Voice” Roberts, famous for the house anthem “In the beginning. His song was recently reworked by Chosen Few DJ, Terry Hunter and he performed to an audience who grew up singing that song! It was a magical moment made even more special with the surprise guest, singer, Monique Bingham! They both took the energy of the park to epic levels! This year’s Chosen Few Picnic & Festival was a tour de force of music, positive energy and love and I soaked up every moment. I was totally worn out by the end of the night but satisfied. This year’s Chosen Few Picnic did not disappoint.
THE CLOSING PARTY
Sunday Night, I headed to the Chosen Few Finale at Renaissance Bronzeville with residents Greg Winfield and Chosen Few DJ, Terry Hunter. Tonight’s special guest was Stan Zeff from Tambor Party/ATL and Kelly G. I was still moving in slow motion from Saturday so I took some time to chill on the newly renovated patio with friends but the music drew me right back inside. I sweat my hair all the way out on the dance floor! I found some energy! They each beat the breaks off of Renaissance. It was the perfect way to end my perfect Chosen Few Weekend!
I’ve attended the Chosen Few Picnic now for over a decade and I can honestly say each year I enjoy it more. This year was special because I was chosen to be the official blogger for this year’s CFP. It was my honor and pleasure. I truly enjoyed sharing my stories, interviewing artists and getting to meet some of you during this time. It’s been a busy 30 days but I’ve enjoyed every moment of it. The Chosen Few Picnic is something special and holds a special place in my heart. I have so many amazing memories and moments with my friends at the picnic. I look forward to it each and every year. More importantly is what the Chosen Few Picnic means for the culture and for our city. It’s a beautiful representation of people who come together in the spirit of peace, love and house music. It’s an event we should all be proud of because we combat every negative stereotype of our people and our city every year. Having spent time this year behind the scenes, I caught a glimpse of the work, the time, and the effort that goes into producing an event of this magnitude and I have to say I’m in amazement of the entire Chosen Few Family. It really was #TeamNoSleep and everyone did their part to create a successful and amazing event!
Special thanks to all of you for reading my blog, following me on social media, and engaging with me in person. An incredibly huge thank you to the entire Chosen Few Family for allowing me to be your official blogger for the 2018 Festival! It has been an honor and pleasure to cover an event that I support 100%!
Until we gather again, I’ll see you on a dance floor!