Here is the line-up and times for the panel discussions as well as the keynote “fireside chat” with Robert Owens at the Chicago House Music Conference held this Friday, June 23 2023 starting at 5pm at the Chicago Cultural Center. The festival is held on Saturday.

Chicago House Music Conference 2023

Friday, June 23, 5-10pm
Chicago Cultural Center, 78 E. Washington St.

Queer Roots and Today’s Safe Spaces in Chicago’s House Music Scene
5:30-6:30pm, Chicago Cultural Center’s Millennium Park Room (5th floor)

Chicago’s LGBTQ Party Scene has emerged global music genres, powerful dance movements and iconic safe spaces. The most promising new alt-queer party outposts and party promoters are keeping the music and movements alive. From the 1970’s to present day, Chicago’s Gay House Music events emote the same inclusive spirit and vibe that will allow the genre to flourish for decades to come.

The panelists are party promoters, club owners and audiophiles that are the electronic musical equivalent of Chicago sound perfection. The session will introduce you to current and future influencers in the history of House.

Panelists Include:

Jae Rice – Curator/Producer, Small World Collective
Tori Rice – Curator/Producer, Small World Collective
Borris Powell – Performance Artist, The House of Exsell
Moderated by: Hannah Viti aka VITIGRRL

Played & Paid: Strategies for Monetizing Music and Promoting Successful Events
5:30-6:30pm, Washington Room

Join our expert and renowned panel discussion featuring industry leaders as they share valuable insights on making money by creating, performing, selling music, establishing business entities, marketing their creations, and getting booked for events. Whether you’re an aspiring writer, music producer, DJ, event promoter, publicist, musician, or simply interested in the business side of the House music industry, this panel will outline practical strategies and tips to thrive in the competitive landscape.

Panelists Include:

Joe Smooth – DJ and Producer
Asya Shein – Founder & Publisher, Fusicology (Los Angeles, CA)
Moderator: Jacob Arnold – Music Journalist, Gridface

Activism: The Fight to Preserve House’s History
6:15-7:15pm, Preston Bradley Hall

The endangered status of the building that once housed the legendary Warehouse nightclub illuminated the urgent need to preserve Chicago’s House history. The fight to prevent the Warehouse’s demolition created an intergenerational movement demonstrating what community organizing can accomplish.

This panel will talk to members of the House music community that got the ball rolling in the effort to save the Warehouse, a critical locale in the shaping of House music. Folks young and old felt strongly about its need for preservation and worked with Preservation Chicago, the group that presented the collective 14,000 petition signatures, written, and spoken testimonies for preservation that led to the granting of Preliminary Landmark Recommendations, with unanimous votes from the Commission on Chicago Landmarks. The fight is not over, and while we await the final say, we’ll discuss what actions everyone can take to continue preserving and archiving Chicago’s House history.

Panelists Include:

Max Chavez – Director of Research and Special Projects, Preservation Chicago
Frederick Dunson – Founder/Executive Director, Frankie Knuckles Foundation
Zora Murphy aka CtrlZora – DJ/Promotoer, Hour Nine
Moderated by: Dani Deahl – DJ and Producer

From House to Afro House to ‘Amapiano’! How South Africa’s Amapiano has become one of the hottest new music genres and why Chicago house is at the heart of it.
6:45-7:45pm, Millennium Park Room (5th Floor)

All roads lead back to Chicago! The infectious sound of Amapiano is rooted in Kwaito, a style of music that mixed house beats with hip-hop in the 1990s. Kwaito took house music, slowed it down, and reprogrammed the music. Fast forward a couple of decades, and Amapiano is born. Keeping the same slowed-down house beats as Kwaito, adding jazzy piano riffs, synths, and percussive basslines, Amapiano has become the new youth movement from South Africa, catching fire all over the US as well. This panel will talk to some of the DJs specializing in the genre, the promoters thriving in the Amapiano dance and party scene, and the Chicago House originators that inspired the Afro-House/Kwaito musical movement.

Panelists Include:

Glenn Underground – DJ and Producer, Strictly Jaz Unit
Patricia of Chicago – Multi-hyphenate DJ and Entrepreneur
Mike Orie – Curator, Afrotrak (Washington D.C.)
Moderated by: Jozana Sithole – Dj/Producer/Co-host, Arise Radio

The Future Sound of House: How has technology provided new opportunities in the preservation of House music, and in what ways has it hindered the artists behind these sounds?
6:45-7:45pm, Washington Room

Love it or hate it, technology is here to stay. As a critical step in the evolution of Electronic Dance Music since the 80s, House Music has evolved with the ever-changing soundscape. Our panelists of artists and producers will discuss the spectrum of embracing and protecting your artistry in the face of change. From sampling to artificial intelligence, how does technology help or hinder the preservation of House Music?

Panelists Include:

Madeline Higgins – DJ/Engineer, Splice
Brok Mende – Engineer/Co-Owner, Friends of Friends Studio
Odell Mitchell, Esq. – Attorney, Lawyers for the Creative Arts
Moderated by: Rob Alahn – Owner, 1 Stop DJ Shop (Las Vegas, NV)

Keynote Fireside Chat with Robert Owens
8-9pm, Preston Bradley Hall

In his own words, Robert Owens has been making house music ‘before house had a name’. One of the most distinctive, coveted and prolific voices in the genre, Robert has an illustrious career that started in late 80’s Chicago and has produced some of the greatest tracks house music has witnessed. Responsible for era-defining classics such as ‘Tears’ alongside Frankie Knuckles & Satoshi Tomiie, ‘Bring Down The Walls’ with Larry Heard as part of Fingers Inc., as well as ‘I’ll Be Your Friend’, Robert has created seminal records which you can comfortably bet will have a place on any house head’s all-time favorites list.

In conversation with Sherman “Dilla” Thomas