As summertime Chi comes to a close, a music festival of huge magnitude will take over the city. With a strong commitment to folklore and traditions of Indigenous music, the World Music Festival Chicago returns.

The World Music Festival Chicago is a 10 day festival taking place Sept. 22 through Oct. 1. It will feature musical acts from all over the world, highlighting more than 30 artists who represent more than 20 countries. Already special in its nature, the World Music Festival Chicago will also utilize 11 different venues throughout the city, making it the largest festival of its kind. 

All festival events are free and open to the public, a principle of the festival since its start in 1999. 

“All of our events, in being free and open to the public, remove any cost barrier. We don’t want there to be a cost barrier, because we want people to truly embrace this sense of discovery of exploring different cultures, exploring different types of music. You can easily do that within the festival format,” said Carlos Tortolero, music director for the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE) and co-director for World Music Festival Chicago. 

The World Music Festival Chicago will also educate festival goers about the cultures and customs that will be on display. One of the most interesting events will be the 11th annual Ragamala, an overnight celebration of Indian Classical Music on Sept. 29 from 6:00 p.m. to Sept. 30 at 8:00 a.m. This celebration is taken from an Indian tradition of having festivals overnight, a total anomaly in U.S. culture and a unique aspect of the World Music Festival Chicago. 

Chicago is home to 77 distinct communities, and more than 100 neighborhoods, all unique in culture and tradition. This makes Chicago the best host for such a unique and culturally rich celebration. Additionally, the festival will shine a light on local organizations through partnerships and collaborations.  

“We are happy to produce and curate events. But we’re also equally happy to extend these opportunities to other cultural partners who do this work 365 days a year,” Tortolero told The TRiiBE.

One of the festival’s cultural partners is the International Latino Cultural Center (ILCC). Founded in 1987, the ILCC is one of the longest-running Latino organizations in Chicago. Originally known as the Chicago Latino Cinema, the organization is most known for the Chicago Latino Film Festival, the largest of its kind in the U.S. In recent history, the organization has shifted its focus to multidisciplinary arts such as film, visual art, literature and dance. 

The ILCC will host the Global Peace Picnic on Sept. 30 at the Humboldt Park Boathouse.  

“Within the Latino community, we count 24 countries in our definition of Latino. Within those countries, they’re extraordinarily diverse. This is an opportunity to entertain and to educate,” ILCC executive director Mateo Mulcahy told The TRiiBE.

As a part of the World Music Festival Chicago, the picnic will be free, and will feature Latino acts on two different stages from 1:00 p.m. until 7:15 p.m. It’s also noteworthy to mention that the ILCC is considered a Pan Latino organization, which means they work with Latino communities from all nationalities.

“It’s very important to us to show our audiences [the] underrepresented styles of music [and] underrepresented experiences that we know if given the chance, if made accessible, our audiences would love,” Tortolero said.

is a culture correspondent with The TRiiBE.