Summer at Roosevelt Collection is in full swing. Among all the great deals at our shops, family friendly activities on the plaza and hollywood blockbusters on the big screen at the ShowPlace ICON, there’s plenty of options for everyone to enjoy.
Every Friday, we are showcasing Chicago talent on the koi pond stage, with some of the biggest names in blues and jazz around. Thanks to some introductions by Scott Fetters, local entrepreneur and Chicago music advocate, our Friday night events have been a smash. We’re looking forward to rounding out this season with many more great concerts for you to enjoy, please see full schedule at the bottom of this post.
We sat down with Scott—who spends most of his time at ChicagoMusic.org and the Chicago Music Commission, recently established organizations designed to help musicians and elevate the Chicago music scene—to discuss his work and the South Loop. Thanks for your time, Scott.
ChicagoMusic.org and the Chicago Music Commission are in no way affiliated with Roosevelt Collection or McCaffery Interests. This interview has been edited for length and clarity.
RC: What is ChicagoMusic.org? What is your organization doing to support local artists?
SF: ChicagoMusic.org is the hub for Chicago’s vibrant music communities. As a joint project of the Elastic Arts Foundation and Chicago Music Commission, and funded by Boeing, our mission is to: 1) Increase the visibility and patronage of live music in Chicago’s downtown and into the neighborhoods, thus fueling the economic sustainability of live music and its surrounding economies; 2) Further promote Chicago as a world class music city by highlighting the quality and diversity of our live music scene; 3) Encourage the experience of new music, ideas, and culture to help foster a more unified music community. Roosevelt Collection is helping by giving local artists a platform to present their talent to the community.
Roosevelt Collection: What resources do local artists need to succeed?
Scott Fetters: Local artists need a mix of both education and opportunity to succeed.ChicagoMusic.org partners with the Chicago Music Commission, Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events, and Chicago Artists Resource to provide regular artist education panels and industry networking events throughout Chicago neighborhoods. There are a number of initiatives currently in the works by the city, for-profit sector, and non-profit organizations aimed at strengthening the business community. Roosevelt Collection is an important part of this mix as well by hiring artists and giving them an opportunity to showcase their talent.
RC: What is your take on the Chicago music scene in the South Loop and beyond?
SF: The South Loop remains representative of the significant impact Chicago has had on so many genres of music. Chicago has been a significant player in the development of jazz since the early 20th century and clubs like Jazz Showcase in Dearborn Station are still keeping the music alive. We electrified the blues in the 1940s and are still presenting top local and national talent at Buddy Guy’s Legends. House music began here in the early 80s and can be seen along with hip-hop, reggae, soul, and related genres nightly at The Shrine.
RC: What can South Loop residents expect from the rest of the Roosevelt Collection concert series?
SF: The first half of the concert series has focused on local jazz and blues artists playing off the history of Jazz Showcase and Buddy Guy’s Legends, which are both a few short blocks away from Roosevelt Collection. The remaining concerts in the series will continue to be representative of the neighborhood and its festivals – bringing in rock band The Damn Choir during Lollapalooza, a jazz act during Jazz Fest, and showcasing reggae band Akasha, who has strong ties to both Reggie’s and The Shrine.
RC: How do you think the shows are going at Roosevelt Collection? Have you received positive feedback from artists?
SF: I have received exceptional feedback from both the artists and attendees of the concerts. Not only are the artists happy to be able to play in a beautiful outdoor space, but you can really see the community coming together at each of the shows.
RC: How can we take the Roosevelt Collection concert series to the next level?
SF: I envision the Roosevelt Collection concert series expanding next season with the development of the park on the British School. Larger concerts could be held and maybe even a summer festival in partnership with the music venues, restaurants, and cultural institutions in the neighborhood.