The music. The laughter. The hugs. The joy. For one night, Millennium Park became the epicenter of arguably Chicago’s greatest musical pioneer. The Frankie Knuckles Tribute Party was one of the best outdoor events of the year that transcended its purpose, bringing thousands of people together in memory of Frankie Knuckles.
By now you are all well aware of his passing a few weeks ago. Sadly, he wasn’t well for several months. Frankie Knuckles brought us house music through his innovative style and masterful production. He advocated house music, standing firmly beside it when record labels weren’t willing to do so. Fortunately, Frankie Knuckles did live long enough to see this genre develop into a worldwide phenomenon. And on this night, his spirit carried us.
The mood was festive, almost like a family reunion. Many people brought their children and grandchildren to the experience it all. From hipsters, to blue-collar professionals, gay and straight people, black and white and everything in between, we were all there to soak in the excitement. You could clearly see the connections and relish in the positive vibe. People who hadn’t seen each other in months converged, catching up briefly, while dancing to the infectious beat. Emotions ran high when the “Whistle Song” sent the crowd into a tizzy. On this night, we were serenaded by some of Chicago’s finest house legends. Elbert Phillips, Craig Loftis, Greg Gray and Mike Winston brought us back to a time when house music WAS the scene. They reminded us of why we fell in love with this movement.
After a beautiful sunset, the summer night sky whispered with the gentle breeze. It couldn’t have been a better evening. We could have stayed there all night. Thank goodness that summer is finally here.