Downtown Sound: New Music Mondays returns

March 23, 2011

Despite the decimation of the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs—a story well-covered in this blog—the much-loved Downtown Sound: New Music Mondays series will return for its third summer at the Pritzker Pavilion in Millennium Park starting on May 23 and running through July 25, with performers including Iron and Wine, Blonde Redhead, Low, Bonnie “Prince” Billy, Ted Leo, Seefeel, and more.
 
By no means was this a given when the majority of Cultural Affairs employees were laid off late last year, and sources say the future of the program remains uncertain beyond 2011. Some though by no means all of the Cutural Affairs employees were shifted to new jobs with the Chicago Office of Tourism and Culture, including Mike Orlove, who previously ran New Music Mondays for the city and now serves as the tourism office’s director of music programming.
 
Orlove co-curated this year’s programming with the tourism office’s Jack McLarnan and Mike Reed, the Chicago independent promoter behind the Pitchfork Music Festival and some of New Music Monday’s biggest coups in the past two years.
 
Meanwhile, the still-uncertain future of free city music and arts programming was updated earlier Wednesday in a new feature jointly commissioned by TimeOut Chicago and the Chicago News Cooperative—“The Future of Summer Fests: Major shake-ups in city government and declining festival revenues put summer music festivals in danger”—and it was accompanied by another piece reiterating the pathetic way that former Cultural Affairs chief Lois Weisberg was ushered out the door (“Life After Lois Weisberg”).
 
But for this summer, at least, the music will play on. Here is the schedule of acts announced on Wednesday afternoon; all shows begin at 6:30 p.m.
 

May 23: Bonnie “Prince” Billy featuring the Cairo Gang, and special guest to be announced

 

May 30: Justin Townes Earle, Andre Williams, and the Goldstars

 

June 6: Iron and Wine and Head and the Heart

 

June 13: Special guest to be announced and the Campbell Brothers

 

June 20: Kings Go Forth and Ben L’Oncle Soul

 

June 27: Low and special guest

 

July 4: Seefeel and Cave

 

July 11: Delicate Steve and Bombino

 

July 18: Blonde Redhead and special guest

 

July 25: Ted Leo and the Pharmacists and Rachel Ries

 
Earlier reports in this blog about the battle between the Mayor’s Office of Special Events and the Department of Cultural Affairs: