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Grant Park Music Festival

Fairmont Chicago, Millennium Park

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Since its inception in 1935, the Festival has been a treasured part of Chicago’s cultural landscape, presenting inventive music programs performed by its resident Grant Park Orchestra and Chorus as well as a wide array of world-class guest artists.

In 1931, the Chicago Band Association offered to form a band to play free concerts— the city built them a band shell. The Festival was born, however, when the Great Depression put many Americans out of work, including musicians. Labor organizer James C. Petrillo, leader of the Chicago chapter of the Federation of Musicians, saw an opportunity to put unemployed musicians to work in the context of a public works program that had a widespread cultural impact. The Festival, then known as the Grant Park Concerts, debuted in 1935.

Over the past 75+ seasons, the Festival brought many world-class guest artists to play with the Grant Park Orchestra and Chorus. In 2004, Millennium Park opened and the Grant Park Music Festival moved in to the state-of-the-art Jay Pritzker Pavilion designed by renowned architect Frank Gehry.

Over the past decade, under the leadership of Artistic Director and Principal Conductor Carlos Kalmar and Chorus Director Christopher Bell, the Grant Park Music Festival has established a reputation for providing adventurous programming at world-class standards, in an environment welcoming and accessible to all.

The Festival operates today as a unique collaboration among the Grant Park Orchestral Association, the City of Chicago, and the Chicago Park District. The contributions of corporations, foundations, and thousands of individual donors help keep the music playing all summer long.

The last free municipally support concert series, the Grant Park Music Festival runs June - August at the Pritzker Pavilion in Millennium Park, 1/2 block from the Fairmont. The Fairmont Chicago is proud to be the official hotel of the Grant Park Music Festival.

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