Chicago’s Electronic Dance Music Scene

This article is a collaborative effort, crafted and edited by a team of dedicated professionals.

Contributors: Andranick Tanguiane, Fred Lerdahl,


Chicago has a long and rich history in the electronic dance music scene. From the early days of house music to the present day, the city has always been a hotbed for EDM.


Chicago’s electronic dance music scene is world-renowned, with many of the biggest names in the industry calling the city home. From underground Warehouse parties to massive open-air festivals, there’s something for everyone in Chicago.

The city’s club scene is particularly thriving, with many world-famous clubs and venues to choose from. Whether you’re looking for a laid-back atmosphere or an all-out rave, you’ll be sure to find it in Chicago.

So if you’re looking to get your dance on, make sure to check out Chicago’s electronic dance music scene!

The History of Chicago’s Electronic Dance Music Scene

Electronic dance music has had a long and storied history in Chicago. From the city’s early days as a hub for house and techno in the 1980s and ’90s, to its current reputation as a hotspot for all things EDM, Chicago has always been at the forefront of the electronic music scene. In this article, we’ll take a look at the history of Chicago’s electronic dance music scene, from its humble beginnings to its current status as one of the world’s most respected EDM scenes.

The Birth of House Music

In the early 1980s, a new style of music was born in the city of Chicago. This style of music was called house music. House music was created by DJ’s who took existing disco tracks and mixed them together using a drum machine and synthesizer. This new style of music quickly caught on with the clubgoers of Chicago and soon spread to other cities around the world.

The Rise of Techno

In the late 1980s, a new form of electronic dance music was being created in Detroit. This style, which came to be known as techno, was pioneered by artists like Juan Atkins, Derrick May, and Kevin Saunderson. Techno was influenced by a wide range of music, including funk, soul, dub, and disco. The main goal of techno producers was to create music that would be perfect for dancing.

Techno quickly spread from Detroit to other cities in the United States, including Chicago. In Chicago, techno found a home in the underground club scene. Clubs like the Warehouse and the Power Plant became popular destinations for people who wanted to hear this new type of music.

The 1990s saw the rise of a new generation of Chicago techno producers, including Farley Jackmaster Funk, Frankie Knuckles, Paul Johnson, and Ron Hardy. These artists helped to shape the sound of techno in the 1990s and early 2000s. Today, Chicago is home to a vibrant Electronic Dance Music scene, with many clubs and festivals dedicated to this style of music.

The EDM Boom

In the early 2010s, electronic dance music experienced a boom in popularity. A confluence of factors helped to create this perfect storm, resulting in explosive growth in the scene. These included the rise of social media, which allowed for easy discovery and sharing of new music; the increasing affordability and portability of electronic music production equipment; and the growing popularity of festivals, both in the United States and abroad.

This perfect storm led to an influx of new people into the scene, both as producers and fans. Chicago, with its long history of house and techno music, was uniquely positioned to take advantage of this boom. The city boasted a large and experienced pool of producers, many of whom had been active for years or even decades. And while the city had always had a vibrant club culture, the 2010s saw a marked increase in the number and variety of clubs and promoters catering to electronic music fans.

The result was an explosion in the number and variety of electronic dance music events taking place in Chicago. Clubs that had traditionally hosted live bands began booking DJs; new clubs opened up that were devoted exclusively to electronic dance music; and promoters began putting on large-scale events featuring multiple stages and international headliners. All of this activity helped to propel Chicago’s electronic dance music scene into the global spotlight.

The Present Day EDM Scene

The electronic Dance Music scene in Chicago is thriving. There are many clubs and venues that cater to this genre of music. The music is usually a mix of House, techno, and trance. The clubs usually have a one or two main rooms with a smaller room for a VIP experience. There is usually a bar and a lounge area as well.

The Top Clubs

In the present day, Chicago is home to a thriving EDM scene with world-renowned clubs and artists. While the genre first emerged in the early 1990s, the past few years have seen a resurgence in popularity. Today, clubgoers can enjoy a variety of electronic dance music genres, from house and techno to dubstep and drum and bass.

Here are some of the top clubs in Chicago that are sure to get you moving:

-The Mid: This River North club has been a favorite among locals and tourists alike since it opened its doors in 2008. The Mid features three different floors, each with its own unique atmosphere. Whether you’re looking to dance the night away or relax with a drink in hand, there’s something for everyone at The Mid.

-Smart Bar: Located in the heart of Wicker Park, Smart Bar is one of Chicago’s most beloved clubs. This underground venue has hosted some of the world’s most popular DJs, including Derrick Carter, Jamie xx, and Pete Tong. If you’re looking for an intimate clubbing experience, Smart Bar is the place for you.

-The Underground: As its name suggests, The Underground is a hidden gem located below street level in Fulton Market. This industrial-chic club features two rooms with different vibes: one dark and intimate, the other bright and airy. No matter your preference, you’ll be able to find your perfect party at The Underground.

The Top DJs

In the present day, EDM has taken on many different forms and sub-genres. As a result, there are now countless DJs across the globe who specialize in playing one or more of these genres. In Chicago, some of the top DJs include:

-DJ Danzon
-DJ Khaled
-DJ Premier

The Music Festivals

There’s no doubt that the present day EDM scene is extremely popular. Millions of people around the world enjoy going to nightclubs and music festivals to hear their favorite DJs perform. Chicago is no exception – the city’s electronic dance music scene is thriving.

One of the reasons for Chicago’s EDM popularity is the city’s many music festivals. Festivals like Spring Awakening, Mamby on the Beach, and Wavefront Music Festival attract tens of thousands of electronic music lovers from all over the Midwest (and beyond). These festivals feature some of the world’s top DJs, and they’re a great way to experience the best that Chicago’s EDM scene has to offer.

If you’re looking to experience Chicago’s vibrant EDM scene, be sure to check out one of the city’s many music festivals. You won’t be disappointed!


In conclusion, the electronic dance music scene in Chicago is thriving. There are many different venues to choose from, and the variety of music is sure to please any taste. Whether you’re a fan of house, techno, or any other type of electronic music, you’ll find plenty to enjoy in Chicago.

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