The Return of In-Person Northalsted Market Days Was a Blast! Here’s What You Missed.

Aug 13, 2022

The return of Northalsted Market Days was welcomed by thousands, especially after the two year pause due to the COVID-19 global health pandemic. It was the 40th edition of the event, and it took place in the heart of Chicago’s Lakeview neighbourhood. The sight of a crowd so big that it stretched half-a-mile was a exciting and fun for many as they witnessed history being made once again.

A performer on the main stage at Chicago Market Days 2022 in Chicago.

History of Northalsted Market Days

The Northalsted Market Days is a weekend long live music street festival celebrating the community in Chicago’s landmark Northalsted/Lakeview district. The 1/2-mile-long summer festival features all-day line-ups of live music on five different stages, 200+ vendors, food and drinks, DJs, dancing, and entertainment. An estimated 100,000 attended the event, from near and far, representing all colours of the rainbow. Market Days is ranked in the top 10 Chicago festivals by BizBash.

Founded in 1982, the celebration now spans from Belmont to Addison on North Halsted St. in Chicago’s Northalsted neighborhood – America’s first recognized gay village and a Chicago LGBTQ+ historic landmark.

Massive crowds walk in Chicago's Northalsted neighborhood during Chicago Market Days 2022.

Performers

There was a strong line-up of fabulous entertainers for Northalsted Market Days 2022, with both local, national, and international talent. From cabaret to comedy, drag to DJ, the variety of entertainment was eclectic and fun.

Two singers wearing pink and black fetish gear performing on a stage at Chicago Market Days 2022.

Here is a look at the headline acts that graced the stages:

Anastasia

In 2000, Anastacia had her first hit with ‘l’m Outta Love’ which became the biggest selling single of the year from her first studio album ‘Not That Kind’. She went on to achieve success with a further 6 studio albums that threw her into that very superstar status we talk of, having sold over 30 million records to date.

Matteo Lane

Matteo Lane is a New York-based comedian whose stand-up special can be seen on Netflix’s The Comedy Line-up.

Sammy Rae and The Friends

Sammy Rae and The Friends is a band if musicians whose sound is a mélange of Sammy’s influences, rooted in classic rock, folk, and funk and sprinkled with soul and jazz.

Ginger Minj

Originally hailing from small town Leesburg, Florida, Ginger Minj made her first splash on the global stage as a finalist on RuPaul’s Drag Race Season 7.

The Aces

The Aces’ sophomore project brings fans deeper into the indie-pop quartet’s world of funk-tinged romance, heartfelt breakups, and relentless positivity — no matter what’s going on.

Ada Vox

Ada Vox is an accomplished vocalist, songwriter, and drag queen who found success and pushed boundaries as a contestant on the hit singing competition series American Idol.

Jamie Wilson

Emerging in 2015 as his true self, Jaimie Wilson, better known as Tboy on Instagram, began to publicly document his medical and social transition, from being assigned female to becoming the authentic male he is.

Sixteen Candles

Established in 2003, 16 Candles makes it their personal duty and pleasure to bring all the great 80’s songs you love to life in full force.

A DJ plays music on a stage while a large crowd dances at Chicago Market Days 2022.

Other notable performers throughout the weekend included:

  • Isaac Escalante
  • Joe Gauthreau
  • Dani Brasil
  • T.Mixwell
  • Chicago Gay Men’s Chorus
  • The Gingers
  • Draglicious Revue
  • Chicago Spirit Brigade

DJ Joe Gauthreau poses on stage at Chicago Market Days 2022.

Weather Complications

The weather in Chicago is constantly changing, and in the summer, it can be very unpredictable. Saturday was extremely hot and humid, and while the event was busy, many people took breaks at the air-conditioned bars along Northalsted.

A large crowd of shirtless men dance in the warm rain during Chicago Market Days 2022.

On Sunday, there was inclement weather, with bursts of rain throughout the day had revellers running into local bars and businesses to seek shelter, and tents were popped up over the uncovered stages so the live performances could continue.

When the rain eased late Sunday afternoon, the tents came off and the party took life as the busiest and liveliest time of the weekend.

A DJ spins music while go go dancers perform on stage at Chicago Market Days 2022.

Monkeypox Awareness

Monkeypox created a new dynamic for Market Days. With most people not yet vaccinated, due to lack of vaccine supply in the United States, most attendees were conscious about the risk of infection. This resulted in people not wanting to touch each other as they passed by in the streets and in the bars, and many people wearing shirts as an additional layer of protection.

People were extremely respectful all weekend long. While monkeypox added a new level of complications, it certainly did not stop revellers from having a great time, meeting new people, and reconnecting with friends.

Large crowds of people wander Northalsted during Chicago Market Days 2022.

Community involvement

Community involvement is a very important part of the market days’ experience. People came out to have fun, see their friends and family, and to support local businesses. While there were plenty of vendors for Northalsted Market Days, many Northalsted businesses offered special promotions, hosted events, and brought in additional talent for the weekend.

A group of gay friends pose for a selfie in a Boystown bar in Chicago during Market Days 2022.

Many people come to Market Days, not just for the amazing street party and music festival, but also to attend circuit party events that took place each night and into the early hours of the morning. Circuit party tickets had been selling for upwards of $300 each; however, on Friday night attendance was low and attendees were physically distanced because of monkeypox fears and concerns.

By Saturday morning, tickets were being dumped for as low as $75 due to fears of contracting the virus and the low energy of the events. Many people decided to attend smaller home gatherings, went to bed early, or visited local bars. For Northalsted Market Days organizers, this meant big crowds late Sunday afternoon when the rain eased and people ready to enjoy great music and entertainment.

A massive crowd of gay men dancing during Chicago Market Days 2022.

Northalsted Market Days 2023

Northalsted Market Days is one of the best weekends of the gay agenda in the summer. The variety of entertainment and atmosphere of the event is fantastic. In addition to a massive outdoor gay music festival, you can enjoy one of the oldest gay villages in North America, attend circuit parties, and visit the must-do attractions in Chicago, like The Bean, a river architecture cruise, and get deep dish pizza. If you haven’t been, haven’t been in a while, or are a regular attendee, it’s time to put Northalsted Market Days on your calendar for 2023.

Two men wearing sunglasses clacking circuit fans at Chicago Market Days 2022.

About Choose Chicago

Choose Chicago is the official sales and marketing organization responsible for promoting Chicago as a global visitor and meetings destination, leveraging the city’s unmatched assets to ensure the economic vitality of the city and its member business community.

For more information, visit www.choosechicago.com and follow @choosechicago on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. #ChicaGOandKNOW

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Brian Webb

Brian Webb

Author

Brian Webb is the founder and editor-in-chief of HomoCulture, a celebrated content creator, and winner of the prestigious Mr. Gay Canada – People’s Choice award. An avid traveler, Brian attends Pride events, festivals, street fairs, and LGBTQ friendly destinations through the HomoCulture Tour. He has developed a passion for discovering and sharing authentic lived experiences, educating about the LGBTQ community, and using both his photography and storytelling to produce inspiring content. Originally from the beautiful Okanagan Valley in the southern interior of British Columbia, Brian now lives in Vancouver, British Columbia. His personal interests include travel, photography, physical fitness, mixology, drag shows.

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