Electronic Music in Chicago

Chicago has a long and storied history with electronic music. From the early days of house music to the current explosion of EDM, the city has always been a hotbed for the genre. In this blog, we’ll explore the history of electronic music in Chicago and take a look at some of the city’s top venues for experiencing it today.


Chicago has been a major player in the electronic music scene for decades, with a rich history of influential clubs, promoters, and labels. The city is home to a wide variety of genres and subgenres, from deep house and techno to footwork and juke. Chicago’s unique style has been shaped by its diverse population and history, as well as its position as a major transportation hub.

In the early days of electronic music, Chicago was a hotbed of activity, with clubs like The Warehouse and The Power Plant hosting legendary parties that attracted people from all over the world. Chicago’s house music scene was particularly influential, giving rise to styles like acid house and ghetto house. In the 1990s and 2000s, the city’s techno and drum & bass scenes flourished, with labels like Distance and Plastic City releasing groundbreaking music.

Today, Chicago is home to an active electronic music community, with regular events taking place at clubs and venues across the city. Whether you’re looking for an underground party or a more mainstream event, there’s sure to be something to suit your taste. So come on down to Chicago and experience the city’s unique electronic music scene for yourself!



Early electronic music in Chicago was developed by mathematicians and scientists at the University of Illinois at Chicago and the Argonne National Laboratory in the 1950s. These pioneers experimented with early electronic instruments like the Theremin and tape machines. In the 1960s, electronic music began to be used in compositions by artists like Terry Riley, Steve Reich, and Phillip Glass. By the 1970s, electronic music had become a staple of the avant-garde scene in Chicago, with artists like Fred Frith, Anthony Braxton, and Keith Emerson performing regularly.

The birth of EDM in Chicago

The electronic dance music (EDM) scene in Chicago can be traced back to the city’s warehouse party scene in the early 1980s. At that time, DJs would often play experimental music or import records from Europe, which influenced the sound of the local scene. By the mid-1980s, Chicago’s warehouse parties had become legendary, and the city became known as a hotbed for EDM.

In 1985, an event called The Warehouse was held in Chicago, which is widely considered to be the first official EDM event in the city. The event was organized by DJ Frankie Knuckles, who is often credited with being the “Godfather of House Music.” The Warehouse became a seminal club in Chicago’s house music history, and it helped to launch the careers of many famous DJs and producers.

In 1991, another important club called The Rezolute opened in Chicago. The Rezolute was one of the first clubs to feature techno music, and it helped to popularize the genre in the city. Chicago’s techno scene continued to grow throughout the 1990s, and by the early 2000s, the city had become an important center for EDM culture.

Today, Chicago is home to a thriving EDM scene, with many famous clubs and festivals. The city is also home to world-renowned DJs and producers, who continue to push the boundaries of electronic music.

The current state of EDM in Chicago

In the past few years, electronic dance music has taken over the city of Chicago. Clubs and warehouses have been popping up all over, and the music scene has never been better. However, with the rise of EDM, there have also been some problems.


In the last decade or so, Chicago has become a hotbed for electronic dance music. The city is home to world-renowned festivals like Lollapalooza, Pitchfork Music Festival, and React Presents’ Spring Awakening, and it regularly hosts top international DJs as they tour through the Midwest.

However, with the recent closure of venues like the Smart Bar and Linkin Park’s frontman Chester Bennington’s death, the future of EDM in Chicago is uncertain. The city’s nightlife scene has been hit hard in recent years, with a number of well-known clubs shutting their doors for good.

This leaves many Chicagoans wondering: what is the current state of EDM in the city? And where do its fans go to hear their favorite music?

Fortunately, there are still plenty of places to enjoy electronic dance music in Chicago. Here are just a few of the best venues currently hosting EDM events:

The MID: Located in River North, The MID is one of Chicago’s most popular clubs. It regularly hosts world-renowned DJs and features three different dance floors, each with its own unique sound system.

The Annex: Also located in River North, The Annex is a smaller club that specializes in deep house and techno. Its intimate setting makes it a favorite among locals and visiting DJs alike.

Reggies: Reggies is a staple of Chicago’s music scene, hosting everything from metal shows to hip-hop concerts. However, it also has a dedicated electronic music room that features some of the best local DJs on weekends.

These are just a few of the many places you can enjoy electronic dance music in Chicago. So whether you’re looking for a huge club night or a more intimate setting, there’s sure to be a venue that’s perfect for you.


Festivals are a huge part of the EDM culture in Chicago. They provide a place for people to come together and enjoy the music that they love. There are many different festivals that take place in Chicago each year, and each one offers something unique.

Some of the most popular festivals include:
-Spring Awakening Music Festival
-React Presents Summer Set Music & Camping Festival
-North Coast Music Festival
-Wavefront Music Festival

The future of EDM in Chicago

Chicago’s electronic music scene has been on the rise in recent years, with events like React Presents’ annual Spring Awakening Music Festival and various smaller shows and club nights popping up all over the city. The Windy City’s electronic music fans are some of the most passionate in the country, and the scene shows no signs of slowing down anytime soon.

The next generation of producers

As the popularity of electronic dance music has grown in recent years, Chicago has become a hot spot for up-and-coming producers. The city’s clubs and festivals have served as a breeding ground for new talent, and many of the genre’s biggest names have gotten their start in Chicago.

As the scene continues to evolve, we asked some of the city’s top producers to weigh in on what the future holds for electronic music in Chicago. Here’s what they had to say:

“I think the future of electronic music in Chicago is very bright,” says Steve Aoki. “The city has always been a hotbed for musical talent, and there are a lot of young producers who are making their mark on the scene. I’m excited to see what the next generation of producers will bring to the table.”

“Chicago has always been a great place for electronic music,” adds Diplo. “There’s a really strong community here, and I think that’s only going to grow in the coming years. I’m looking forward to seeing what new artists and genres emerge from this city.”

The next big thing

The future of EDM in Chicago looks very promising. The city has a rich history of electronic music and a strong community of DJs and producers. There are many great venues for EDM shows and festivals, and the city is home to some of the world’s top DJs.

Chicago is also home to a number of record labels and clubs that are dedicated to electronic music. This infrastructure provides a great foundation for the future growth of EDM in the city.

There are many exciting new developments in the world of electronic music, and Chicago is poised to be at the forefront of this movement.

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