Chicago's outdoor festival season will have a new, politically-oriented offering this spring: the Occupy Festival.
The inaugural, Occupy Chicago-endorsed festival, scheduled for May 12-13 in the city's Union Park, aims to "highlight the struggle of social and economic inequality through artistic performance" according to an event announcement. Organizers are anticipating more than 25 yet-unnamed "top international, national and local musicians" to play the festival's two main stages, in addition to "special musical guests and visual performing artists" who will grace a third stage.
According to the release, 50 percent of the proceeds from the festival will benefit Occupy Chicago actions.
"What makes this festival unique is that it embodies the spirit of the people with a united cause which affects everyone and gives people a chance to share ideas and express themselves in a positive way," organizer Graham Czach said in a release. "It all happens within a safe environment through art and music, the true universal languages that break down barriers and allow freedom and inspiration to flourish."
The festival organizers are urging musical performers, sponsors, volunteers and food and beverage vendors to contact them if they are interested in partaking in the festivities.
The event's timing is deliberate -- it will take place shortly before what are expected to be widespread protests outside the NATO summit, set to culminate May 20-21 at Chicago's McCormick Place. Groups including hacking group Anonymous and Adbusters called on activists hoping to protest the summit to arrive as early as May 1 to voice their displeasure.
"It is important for us as the people and organizations of this great city and nation to come together in a peaceful way to express our desire and intent for new economic initiatives which support a greener future for the world, and a better economic reality for members of the world's workforce," David Krzesinski, another organizer, said in a release.
Even though Chicago lost the G8 summit, veteran activist Andy Thayer told the AP that move would not diminish the number of protesters heading to Chicago this spring.
"Guess what? The protests are going to happen anyway because if (protesters) are upset about G8, they have just as much reason to be upset about NATO."
Admission to the festival runs $35 for a one-day pass or $55 for a two-day pass.
CLARIFICATION: Though an earlier story reported, based on information outlined on the event's since-updated Special Events Management page, a portion of the festival proceeds will directly benefit Chicago's 8th Day Center for Justice, HuffPost Chicago has been informed that this is not the case. The 8th Day Center is the fiscal agent for Occupy Chicago.
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