6th Annual Chicago Westside Music Festival

6th Annual Chicago Westside Music Festival
Written by Hector De La Rosa

Only three festivals bring the perfect end to Chicago summer events: North Coast Music Festival, the African Festival of the Arts, to the recent 6th Annual Chicago Westside Music Festival (WSMF) whose mission is to shine light on the positive contributions, culture, and people of Chicago’s West Side.  

Besides food trucks that serve the best in cuisine, there were school supply and backpack giveaways to the youth. The most integral of the festival became the entertainment provided by the deejays and host Leon Rogers, where he kept the audience in laughter in between performances.

The most memorable festival performances are not only Chicago local talent like Kilika Tabron, Dej Monae, Matt B., and Marcus Mack but headliners Lil Mo’, Vivian Green, and Dru Hill that bequeathed their entire soul unto the stage and microphone. If you grew up listening to 1990s and mid-2000s music, this article is catered for your reading pleasures.

The first of three feature presentations was the Missy Elliot protégé and soulful songbird Lil’ Mo whose performance was well praised by women when she immediately delivered her infamous hit “Superwoman.” The single was followed by a few songs that showcased her growth as both an artist vocally and as a woman who has been through trials and tribulations. The neat twist to her performance is how the deejay remixed 90s throwback hip-hop and R&B that led to her singing songs that featured and famed Lil’ Mo such as Ja Rule’s “Put It On Me” to Missy Elliot’s “Hot Boyz.”

Next, we enter the world of pianist and R&B songstress Vivian Green who bought two backup singers on stage to put on what is called an exceptional performance. Ms. Green was nothing short of a chanteuse. She showcased her talent throughout much of her discography including “Emotional Rollercoaster” to “Gotta Go, Gotta Leave (Tired),” which had many women in the audience grooving and singing along to her songs.

However, the rival of performances is that of the legendary 90s R&B group Dru Hill. Screams, clapping, and yelling of the audience filled the air as the lights dimmed and music began to play. Once the lights from the stage brightened the park scenery, each member of the group began to make an appearance- except for one member. As the monster hit and So So Def remix “In My Bed” was performed, many began to question member Larry “Jazz” Anthony’s whereabouts and whether he was no longer part of the group. Just as the music to “Never Make A Promise” played comes Dru Hill member Jazz making an appearance that hushed many to a silence same time screaming his name for singing the song both soulfully and stunning. We deeply Enter The Dru as group member Sisquo began performing his solo hits including the fan favor “Thong Song” before “We’re Not Making Love” and “These Are The Times” came to a concert close.

One word to sum up the 2017 Westside Music Festival- Explosive!


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