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Chicago has a rich tradition of musical culture.  The Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Lyric Opera of Chicago, and the Chicago Opera Theater offer world-class perfomers and performances (student discounts are usually available).  Chicago played an important role in the early development of jazz when Louis Artmstrong relocacted here, along with many of his fellow musicians, and has remained an important, vital scene with musicians such as Sun Ra, the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians (AACM), and other contemporary artists. Chicago blues is well known, from early artists such as Bill Booonzy (and many others) in the '30s-'60s to Muddy Waters, Howlin Wolf, Buddy Guy, and contemporary blues artists.  Many recorded at the famous Chess Records studios, where early rock also was established through Chuck Berry, Bo Diddly, and, later, the Rolling Stones who recorded an album there.  There is significant independent and underground activity currently occuring as well as vibrant hip-hop and house music, from Common and Kanye West to Twista, Rhymefest, and Chief Keef.  Gospel music will always be remembered for the performers from Chicago, including Mahlia Jackson.  Ethnic music from Chicago's many communities, along with celebrated visitors, and folk music, in general, have always thrived.  The city of Chicago also offers many free festivals, including an ethnic folk festival, blues fest, jazz fest, gospel festival, and others.

The listings below are not meant to be comprehensive, but offer a small representation of what is available.