[PHOTOS] No fences or police: The From the 'Go Fest is a new model to reimagine the concert experience
True Star Media, a media company that explores youth people to careers in media and journalism, launched the event last year. “It’s really all about to connect young people, provide spaces for them to have fun—showcase their talents,” True Star co-founder DeAnna Sherman recently said about the festival's origins.
Suburban hipsters rock out in Douglass Park at the Pitchfork and Summer Smash Music Festivals. West Side residents complain of park amenities unavailable to them—complaints that go ignored by city officials. Trash scattered everywhere in the days following.
The From the ‘Go Fest, however, which highlights creatives from the Chicago area, marks a stark departure from the concert experience Black and Brown communities are accustomed to in Chicago.
True Star Media, a company that provides job training to youth interested in media, launched the festival last year. “It’s really all about to connect young people, provide spaces for them to have fun—showcase their talents,” True Star Media co-founder DeAnna Sherman told FOX32 Chicago about the festival, an idea program participants brought to them. “We are here to show a different side of urban youth from the city of Chicago,” added True Star co-founder Na’Tae Thompson.
At this year’s second annual event, Saturday, July 23, families slowly trickled through the DuSable Black History Museum and Education Center gate. A bag check, here. A pat down, there. The usual with any large scale festival. But, this time, the fencing was missing. Admission was free. And, the sea of police blue—gone.
Genesis Denise Hale of Showtime’s “The Chi” and Danny Barksdale, a comedian and social media influencer, co-hosted the youth-curated event. The festival featured live music, dance, an entrepreneur vendor fair, and broadcast media booth.
Music to define a moment
The Windy City is America’s studio, and the newest generation of artists graced the ‘Go stage, including rapper 8Matiklogan and singer Senite, and Sasha Go Hard, a Queen of Drill. South Side native Calboy headlined the event. The long list of performers also included Big Mouf Bo, Chanelle Tru, and Happy Birthday Calvin.
“We had 1,000 before Lil’ Durk ever recorded a track, ‘fore Keef ever said Bang,” raps Little Village son 8Matiklogan on “The City is Crying.” The polemic, a standout from his second album “1636: The Second Chapter,” takes aim at city officials and the media for a laxed response and mischaracterization of Chicago gun violence.
Riding the wave of the recent release of the visuals to her 2020 spacious soul ballad “Medicated,” R&B singer Senite gave the audience another taste of her discography. Head bobs and good vibes. That’s what her performance of “Same,” garnered at the ‘Go Fest.
It’s been 11 years since Sasha Go Hard burst onto the scene with “What We Do,” a brazen track from Drill’s early days as it emerged in Chicago. She’s since lent her pen to soundtracks, from HBO heavyweight Issa Rae’s “Insecure” to Spike Lee’s controversial “Chiraq.” A Queen of Drill, she treated the crowd to “South Side,” the theme song she penned for the hit HBO television series “South Side.”
Community as creator
Let love live
On scholar Common’s “Love Is,” the Chicago native contests the idea that love can be hard to find in inner city communities. For him, it’s within reach and within. “If love is a place I'ma go again. At least now, now I know to go within,” he pleads. The HWH captured that energy from the festival—the hugs, the laughter, even double dutch—that spoke love into existence.
Complimentary: that was one theme of the event. The T-SHIRT Bar made free t-shirts, tote bags, all on the spot. Families sought shade from the hot summer sun while getting their picture taken at the official From the ‘Go Fest photo booth. And, while food wasn’t free, a Black-owned Italian Ice company offered free Italian Ice for the first 100 attendees.
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