Chicago Magazine debuts Culture Festival

By Arts & Culture Reporter

Residents can experience the culture of Chicago in addition to reading about it in the pages of Chicago Magazine as the longtime city monthly debuts its first cultural fest Sept. 26.

The Chicago Magazine Culture Festival, organized in concert with the Chicago Tribune, will be held at Venue SIX10, 610 S. Michigan Ave., and feature a full day of theater, comedy, music, literature and architecture from Chicago’s creative community. The festival is timed to coincide with the magazine’s October 2015 Culture Guide, said Elly Fishman, senior editor at Chicago Magazine. 

According to Fishman, this will be the magazine’s first editorial event, and her team has been preparing for the occasion for a year.

“It’s a really great way to engage our audience and have readers get to know our staff,” Fishman said.

She said the festival is a different way to experience culture and is largely modeled after the New Yorker festival in New York City, which emphasizes conversation and performance.

She also said her team selected artists they believed would work well in the festival. Notable events include a reading from theater company Steppenwolf’s upcoming show “East of Eden” by John Steinbeck, in which the company’s new artistic director will be introduced, and a talk by Gillian Flynn, author of the No. 1 New York Times best-selling novel “Gone Girl,” who will describe her writing process, reveal her latest work and host a book signing.

The festival will feature a performance by Chicago comedians from the weekly stand-up show “Lincoln Lodge;” a panel discussion focused on the city’s evolving architectural legacy and a performance; and talk by indie-rock singer/songwriter Angel Olson. 

“I am going to be on the stage for Angel Olson, so that’s certainly on my mind,” Fishman said, adding that she has been a long-time fan of the Missouri guitarist. Phil Thompson, event producer at Venue SIX10, said he is also looking forward to the evening with a music headliner at his venue.

“It’s [as] unique [of an] event as they go for us,” Thompson said, adding that he believes hosting the Culture Festival will spread awareness of Venue SIX10.

Thompson said he hopes the guests will enjoy their experience and attend other events. 

“[We] are very excited to see the crowds that come to support [Chicago Magazine], and we want to help them be successful,” Thompson said.

Sarah Harrell, director of Events and Strategic Partnership at Tribune Media Group, said Venue SIX10 was chosen for its central location near Chicago’s schools, whose students they hope will attend the festival. 

“[We wanted to] align the [festival] with the culture schools of Chicago,” Harrell said.

People can buy single tickets for each of the four panels, or a culture day pass that will grant admission to all the panels. The day pass is $50 and each panel is $30, with the exclusion of the music panel—Angel Olson’s event will be $60. 

Student discounts are available but must be redeemed online before the day of the event. The codes are CULTUREFEST15 for $15 off the VIP concert and reception, and CF2015 for $5 off any of the four panels. Visit