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South By Southwest to Feature Chicago Tourism Effort

By Ted Cox | February 6, 2014 10:38am
 Chicago native Chance the Rapper will be featured in a South By Southwest music showcase sponsored by the City of Chicago.
Chicago native Chance the Rapper will be featured in a South By Southwest music showcase sponsored by the City of Chicago.
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CITY HALL — The city will officially participate in the South By Southwest music festival in Austin, Texas, highlighting Chicago acts such as Chance the Rapper in a bid to draw more tourists here.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced the initiative Thursday, which will unite business leaders and the Choose Chicago tourism agency with top local acts performing at the festival March 9-12.

Although Chicagoans have made the trip to the business-oriented music fest for years, "Chicago Made" will be the city's first formal foray into marketing and self-promotion at SXSW.

"From music to movies, to the latest tech companies, Chicago is home to the best and brightest in the industry," Emanuel said. "'Chicago Made' will bring local artists and influencers from across the city to South by Southwest to showcase our city’s creative, homegrown talent."

The effort will promote Chicago artists, but also Chicago as a music destination and will involve Choose Chicago, the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events, World Business Chicago and the Illinois Office of Tourism.

Also included will be heavy hitters from the business world such as Onion Chief Executive Officer Steve Hannah; Groupon CEO Eric Lefkofski; Chicago Ideas Week Chairman Brad Keywell; 1871 CEO Howard Tullman; Inventables CEO Zach Kaplan, and former Nine Inch Nails drummer and author Martin Atkins. They'll play host to an invitation-only networking event set for March 11.

A Chicago music showcase set to feature Chance the Rapper, Wilco bassist John Stirratt’s side project the Autumn Defense, high-energy disc jockey duo the Hood Internet, power-pop band Archie Powell & the Exports, indie rockers My Gold Mask, singer-songwriter Bonzie and alternative rap artists ShowYouSuck and Prob Cause.

That event is set for Austin's Red 7 music venue from 8 p.m. to 2 a.m.

The city will also have a booth at a trade show at the Austin Convention Center.

"This is not your typical trade-show booth," said Melissa Cherry, Choose Chicago vice president. "The entire concept is 'Chicago Made,' and we’re going to put Chicago out there in a big way, since this is our first time at SXSW."

"Chicago is a music capital; it's the birthplace of gospel music, home of the blues, and its indie rock and hip-hop scenes are exploding," said Cultural Affairs Commissioner Michelle T. Boone.

Boone said that "further cultivating the city's music scene is a top priority of Mayor Emanuel and the Chicago Cultural Plan."

"We aim to promote the city's talented musicians, signature festivals and legendary venues to our best advantage to support our rich and diverse music community, as well as attract cultural tourists to Chicago," Boone said.

The city has a website with details on its SXSW events at chicagomade.us and also will promote events on Twitter via the hashtag #ChicagoSXSW.

Emanuel recently named Ken Bennett, father of Chance the Rapper (born Chancelor Bennett), to a position as a neighborhood liaison.