The second annual Great Chicago Fire Festival lit up the skies this September with a “spectacular urban ritual that celebrated Chicago’s people, history, and unique neighborhood culture.” Jim Lasko (LF ’13) and Redmoon worked with dozens of local organizations, artists, musicians, performers and city government to create a series of events that took place over the summer, engaging youth and other community residents in workshops, performances, concerts and bazaars. The theme was overcoming obstacles and rising from the ashes, as Chicago patently did in recovering from the Great Fire of 1871. The festival culminated in a fireworks display and ritual conflagration on the Chicago River.
Lasko said, “There is something deeply encouraging about a celebratory public gathering. Especially when it is made up of such very different people: people from across, the city, of every age, from many different cultures and subcultures, all celebrating together -- celebrating their city, art, themselves... and celebrating the act of being together. It was a very gratifying event -- artistically, socially, personally.”