When: Sat., June 11, 12 p.m. 2016
Legendary Chicago club the Warehouse—as well as informal parties throughout the south side—acted as house-music incubators, but early 80s DJ team the Hot Mix 5 helped the sound become an inextricable part of Chicago culture. Founding members Farley Keith (aka Farley “Jackmaster” Funk), Mickey “Mixin” Oliver, Ralphi Rosario, Kenny “Jammin” Jason, and Scott “Smokin” Silz had a secret weapon: radio. The Hot Mix 5 team first held it down in 1981 on the Saturday-night mix show on now-defunct radio station WBMX, and their embrace of house music led the listening public to embrace them. (As DJ International founder Rocky Jones told Greg Kot in a Tribune 1990 feature on house music, the Hot Mix 5 “took house to the people in a major way.”) You don’t have to dig far to find a litany of examples of the collective’s influence—techno originators Juan Atkins and Kevin Saunderson would drive in from Detroit just to get the Hot Mix 5’s radio signal, for instance, while contemporary Evanston success Kaskade grew up listening to the program. The original five, their acolytes and later-generation members, and handfuls of Chicago house heavies—including Marshall Jefferson and hip-house originator Fast Eddie—celebrate the DJ team’s 35-year anniversary with a single-day festival at McCormick Place. It’s spread out over six stages and 12 hours, and organizers expect to attract 40,000 attendees—though that number feels small in comparison to the untold number of Chicagoans who consumed all things Hot Mix 5 during their heyday.