UPTOWN — A festival is coming to Argyle Street, replacing one of the neighborhood’s most popular summer events.
Argyle Night Music runs 5:30-8:30 p.m. Thursday and will return every Thursday through September. Argyle will close from Kenmore Avenue to Sheridan Road, providing space for live music, art and outdoor dining.
The weekly music and dining event is effectively taking the place of the Argyle Night Market, the street fest that has been a staple of Uptown summers since 2013. Because of coronavirus, last year’s edition of the Night Market was held as a do-it-yourself fest with neighbors winning a prize if they visited 10 Argyle-area businesses.
Some street fests returned this summer, but Argyle businesses are still too busy coping with the pandemic to hold a large, recurring event like the Night Market, said Greg Carroll, director of partnerships and events for Uptown United.
“We were really hoping to do the Night Market this summer,” he said. “We quickly realized some of the mainstays of the market weren’t going to be able to do it. Staffing was a challenge. We took our lead from them and we didn’t want to stretch them too thin.”
Instead, Argyle Night Music will welcome neighbors to the business district with music and arts. Each night will feature at least two performances, usually an arts and cultural show followed by live music. Thursday’s event will include performances by DJ L O Kari, the Aloha Center Chicago and The Herbsaint Band.
There will be no vendor booths, but neighbors will be encouraged to buy food from local businesses and use the outdoor seating. Neighbors can bring their own seating, as well, Carroll said.
Kids activities are also being planned for the weekly events, Carroll said.
The night music fest is possible thanks to the city’s Arts 77 program, which is injecting $60 million into neighborhoods to help cultural programs recover from the pandemic. It is not affiliated with the Chicago Alfresco program, which is slated to bring outdoor spaces to areas, including Argyle, but has not yet been rolled out citywide.
Argyle Night Music is collaborating with some of the local groups and artists that are involved in the Night Market. It will be a welcome return to outdoor events on Argyle, Carroll said.
Local businesses are “excited we can do some arts-based programing and performances,” he said “We’re encouraging people to go to local restaurants, especially on Argyle. You’re supporting local business while getting free entertainment.”
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