By TONIA HILL
The first annual podcast festival in the City of Chicago kicks off in Hyde Park. The festival begins its tour at The Promontory, 5311 S. Lake Park Ave., Thursday, Nov. 17, and presents shows at other locations through Nov. 19.
Festival Producer Jonathan Pitts came up with the idea to bring the festival to Chicago last year.
“With the amount of growth with people listening to podcasts and Chicago being such a festival town I thought this was the best place,” Pitts said.
A podcast is a digital media file that is made available to stream on the Internet. Listeners are then able to download that file onto their computers or any other portable devices. Podcasts according to Pitts are the fastest growing art form this century.
Thursday’s show will be in a live show format featuring local and nationally popular podcasts.
The genre of podcasts that are available to listeners is endless. From fan-fiction, crime, news, politics, comedy, and sports. The popularity of podcasts said Pitts is because listeners are in control and they can develop relationships with the hosts of their favorite shows.
“They [podcast hosts] become your friends, the voices in your head. You get familiar with them you get to know the producers and hosts of it,” Pitts said. Whatever you are interested in it’s there on demand. If you are interested in a subject, there is a podcast out there for you.”
Pitts said he sees the festival as a way for people to get out and enjoy themselves after such a divisive election season.
“People are scared,” Pitts said. “The festival is a collection of diverse voices in a safe space. This is his how we can reclaim our community.”
College students from the University of Chicago can receive discounts at the festival on Thursday and Friday night. Students purchasing the tickets can use the code: podcastpal to get a half price ticket for the first show, “Lady to Lady Bullseye!” Also, students attending the “Book of Ye” can view it for $10. The code: dueldeal can be used for “Open Ended, The Room Where It’s Happening,” which will feature, Ari Asfar, who plays Eliza in the Chicago cast of Hamilton.
The festival ends on Saturday, Nov. 19. To see a complete list of shows and the schedule for the Podcast Festival visit chicagopodcastfestival.org.