New Music Festival Kicks Off Saturday, Raises Money for School Music Programs

A new music festival will kick off this Saturday, Sept. 7, with ticket sales supporting a local nonprofit that brings music programs into Chicago schools.

The Symphony Sound Festival, spearheaded by Chicago nonprofit Symphony of Change, will offer live performances, DJs, food, vendors and more. This year’s headliners, who include KeKe Wyatt, T. L. Williams & The Storm Chaser Orchestra, Sisters of Element and José Cornier, will begin at 6 p.m.

The music festival will be held at the Country Club Hills Amphitheater, 4116 183rd St., from noon to 10 p.m. Gates open at 11:30 a.m. Tickets start at $15 and can be purchased in advance at and All proceeds will support the nonprofit, which has the mission of restoring music programs in Chicago schools.

Dandria Williams, executive director, and husband T.L. Williams, an R&B singer and music producer, launched Symphony of Change in 2016.


[Photo courtesy of Dandria Williams]

“As husband and wife, we came together because we really believe in music and we want to make sure that it’s in schools because Chicago has seen cuts in its art and music programs,” said Williams about the vision she and her husband have worked to execute.

The program is currently in three locations, adding a fourth this school year, but Williams said the plan was always to think bigger.

“When we first started, the vision was to have an annual music festival that would give back to our music program so we can continue our work,” she said, adding that she’s excited to launch this first one.

Attendees will have three stages to choose from where the headliners and new fresh talent will perform. Symphony of Change also partnered with Next Showcase Chicago to help bring in the new local artists.

Aside from the performances, an award will also be presented, something Williams said they plan to do every year. This year the Music Forward Honorary Award is going to the Rich Townships’ marching band, The Mighty Marching Machine. They’ll receive $1,000 for their music department.

“This award goes to schools that have demonstrated that they value music and arts education and have taken the initiative to move music forward in an exemplary manner,” Symphony of Change wrote in a statement.

Williams said this is just the beginning and that the nonprofit will continue to raise money and expand its reach.

“We want it to be like the next Lollapalooza,” she said. “We’ve always wanted it to be big because we’ve wanted to impact the entire city of Chicago. We want everyone to know music and the arts are important.”

Those interested in being a vendor can sign up here. Vendor fees range from $150 – $250 for the full day and include a spot under the Budweiser tent and a table.


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