WBEZ | Linda Clifford http://www.wbez.org/tags/linda-clifford Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en House music and culture at The Chosen Few festival http://www.wbez.org/blogs/alison-cuddy/2012-07/house-music-and-culture-chosen-few-festival-100728 <p><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/RS5994_Chosen%20Few%201-scr.jpg" style="width: 600px; border-width: 1px; border-style: solid; margin: 10px; height: 448px;" title="The Chosen Few Old School Reunion and Picnic 2012 (Alison Cuddy)" /></div><p>Chicago&#39;s summer calendar is jam-packed with high-profile music festivals, from Lollapalooza to this weekend&#39;s Pitchfork. But The Chosen Few, one of the city&#39;s bigger and longer-running music events, is still little known outside house music circles and the city&#39;s South Side.<br /><br />&quot;We were here at 3:30 and by five o&#39;clock the line was about a block long,&quot; Taft Parsons said.</p><p>That would be 5 a.m., by the way. Parsons and his wife, Sherida, have been coming to The Chosen Few Old School Reunion Picnic for 12 years - since they were both medical students.&nbsp; &nbsp;</p><p>The day-long house music festival takes place every 4th of July weekend in Jackson Park. Most attendees bring food and supplies and camp out for the whole day.</p><p>This year the Parsons have brought a posse with them - 14 of their friends from Detroit, Mich. - four tents in all.</p><p>&quot;Yeah, we had to walk it in so we strategized and had our men do all the heavy lifting,&quot; Sherida Parsons said. &quot;And the women, we just carried light bags. It worked out.&quot;</p><p>Her husband said they come for the music - after all, Chicago is the home of house.</p><p>&quot;Chicago-style house music is very unique,&quot; Taft Parsons said. &quot;It&#39;s different from what you hear in New York or Detroit. It has heavy disco undertones. So that&#39;s one of the things that makes it unique as a music festival itself.&quot;</p><p>The picnic was started in 1990 by The Chosen Few, a DJ collective founded by brothers Wayne Williams and Jesse Saunders - the same guys who are known for bringing house music out of the gay clubs and into the South Side club scene.</p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/RS5993_Alan%20King-scr.jpg" style="width: 250px; border-width: 1px; border-style: solid; margin: 10px; float: left; height: 204px;" title="Chosen Few DJ Alan King (Alison Cuddy)" /></div><p>Alan King is an original member - he says the picnic was their way to reconnect with friends and family.</p><p>&quot;You know we started literally with 40 or 50 people in the park, and to see what it has grown into makes it very special,&quot; King said.</p><p>About 50,000 were in attendance this year. But King said they try to keep the original vibe in place.</p><p>&quot;It really has a family reunion atmosphere to it, which we work very hard to preserve,&quot; he said. &quot;You get to see people you haven&#39;t seen since high school or college, your fraternity brothers and sorority sisters. It really is the most enjoyable event I get involved with.&quot;</p><p>These days the fest has corporate sponsors and celebrity hosts.&nbsp; But most people are still there to dance. When Alan King spins, he gets the crowd going.&nbsp; Thousands of people danced in front of the stage, and as he brought the music level up and down, chanted in unison.</p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/RS5996_Deleasha%20Carter%20and%20Marcus-scr.jpg" style="height: 187px; width: 250px; border-width: 1px; border-style: solid; margin: 10px; float: right;" title="Deleshea Carter and Marcus, The Chosen Few 2012 (Alison Cuddy)" /></div><p>But not everyone in Jackson Park is feeling the love. Deleshea Carter is from California.</p><p>&quot;I&#39;m not used to the culture, so all of this is new to me,&quot; she said.</p><p>When asked what&#39;s different Carter says &quot;The music! It&#39;s that constant same beat that makes you want to beat your head into the ground,&quot; adding that she&#39;s there mainly for her boyfriend, Marcus.</p><p>But he thinks she&#39;s missing the point: &quot;It&#39;s not about what I want you to do &#39;cuz I&#39;m not the music. The music is telling you what to do,&quot; Marcus said.</p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/RS5998_Kalehsa%20Byrd%20and%20Nathan%20Leonard-scr.jpg" style="height: 268px; width: 200px; border-width: 1px; border-style: solid; margin: 10px; float: left;" title="Kalesha Byrd and Nathan Leonard, The Chosen Few 2012 (Alison Cuddy)" /></div><p>Palatine residents Kalesha Byrd and Nathan Leonard grew up around house, so they&#39;re familiar with its beat. But they think it&#39;s the sense of community that makes the festival such a great time.</p><p>&quot;I see people of all shapes, sizes, forms and colors just having a great time,&quot; Leonard said. &quot;And you really don&#39;t get to see that anymore.&quot;</p><p>And even though this is their first time at the Chosen Few, from the sounds of it, they&#39;re hooked.</p><p>&quot;Oh yeah, oh yeah, oh yeah, good music!&quot; Leonard said.&nbsp;</p><p>&quot;I love it. I&#39;m coming back next year!&quot; Byrd said.</p><p>By the way WBEZ blogger Lee Bey took some great photos at The Chosen Few: check them out&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wbez.org/blogs/lee-bey/2012-07/bey-takes-holiday-architecture-finds-house-100705">here.</a><br />&nbsp;</p></p> Mon, 09 Jul 2012 16:19:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/alison-cuddy/2012-07/house-music-and-culture-chosen-few-festival-100728