There’s a new documentary on the Chosen Few Picnic

It airs this week in Chicago. Watch the trailer for the story of "the Woodstock of House"...

A new documentary on Chicago’s legendary Chosen Few DJ crew and the annual summer Chosen Few Picnic will be shown at a Chicago film festival this weekend.

The Woodstock of House is a 98 minute film by Rodrick F. Wimberly and Senuwell Smith detailing Chicago’s Chosen Few DJ crew, the Chosen Few Picnic on the Southside of Chicago and, more generally, “the triumph of disco music”:

THE WOODSTOCK OF HOUSE details the triumph of disco music, attacked by mainstream America in the 1970s for being too black, too Latin, and too gay, and its mutation, development, and re-birth as House Music, by African American teenagers on the South Side of Chicago in an underground culture of marginalized, largely gay nightclub constituents. This is the untold story of the role of Chicago’s Chosen Few DJs in the creation and popularization of this international musical genre and the celebration of the 25th Annual Chosen Few Music Fest where 50,000 people of different races, ages, and sexual orientation come together in unity, peace, and love in one of the most challenging environments in the country.


The Woodstock of House airs this Thursday and Friday at 8pm at the Gene Siskel Film Center at 164 N. State Street (between Lake & Randolph) in the Chicago Loop. The film is being shown as part of the 27th Annual Black Harvest Film Festival featuring over 25 features and documentaries, six short film programs and tributes to Gordon Parks and Melvin Van Peebles.

Who are the Chosen Few? Read 5 Mag’s 25th anniversary story What It Takes: The Chosen Few Picnic Turns 25 and The Chosen Few Go to Washington: The DJs that Brought House Music to the White House.

Several of the film’s producers spoke to The Chicago Defender in a new interview; co-director Rodrick Wimberly said their legacy isn’t limited to a genre of music but “an entire sub-culture of human-culture expression focused on unity, peace, and love.”

The legacy of the Chosen Few is left up to interpretations by different people. You have different stories of the origin of House music. That’s one of the reasons why the history of Chicago House Music is so rich. After people watch the film, I believe they’ll have a much better understanding of the historical basis and development of what House Music is. More importantly, the development of the film was to show the significance of House Music, why it was necessary from a sociological standpoint. I would say that The Chosen Few’s legacy helped create a genre and took it from a small enclave of private clubs to a broader, more universal audience. This allowed for Chicago, one of the most segregated cities in the country, to bring people together.


Tickets for the showing of The Woodstock of House are available at the Siskel Film Center website.

Chosen Few DJ Wayne Williams
Chosen Few founder DJ Wayne Williams from The Woodstock of House.


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