News September 27, 2016 | 0 Comment

Ice Cube

Caption: Ice Cube Performs at AAHH! Fest. Photo by Juan Anthony Images. 

Donda’s House joined Juan & Only Events and the Common Ground Foundation to co-produce AAHH! Fest 2016 in Union Park. The two-day festival featured a Community Stage and a Main Stage. Over 2,000+ youth from Community Organizations, Chicago Public Schools and Chicago Park District came out to Saturday’s Show which featured activations from over 20 Community Organizations. Youth were able to customize shoes with the Lonely Whale Foundation & Bucketfeet, register to vote with the City Clerk, share positive stories about their communities via a simulated Fresh Pressed Chicago brunch and more. The park was divided into a Health & Wellness Zone, Art Zone and College & Career Zone. Here is a list of participating organizations:


Caption: Youth standing at the entrance to the Health & Wellness Zone. Photo by Juan Anthony Images. 

Health & Wellness Zone

Black Girls Jump

Board Games

Chicago Park District

Fresh Empire

Get It Hoops


Mobile Care Chicago  

Wade’s World Foundation

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Illinois 

Art Zone

Common Ground Foundation

Creative Cypher

Donda’s House

Fresh Pressed Chicago

Bucketfeet & Lonely Whale

Noah’s Arc Foundation

PROject US

Contexture TV

College & Career Zone


City Clerk

Straight From The Go

True Star Foundation


Chicago Scholars

We Day

Free Spirit Media


Caption: Hip Hop Artist Matt Muse performed on both days of the show. Matt Muse was selected out of 90+ artists to perform on the Main Stage! Photo by Juan Anthony Images. 

The festival season kicked off with a series of Auditions throughout the city in partnership with Chicago Park District’s Night Out In The Parks. Over 90 acts, ages 12 – 24 auditioned and submitted videos in order to be one of the acts selected. Matt Muse, was selected to perform on the Main Stage with Ice Cube, J. Cole, Common, The Roots, The Internet, Sir The Baptist and others.


Caption: HUEY Gang performs a 15+ minute set, wearing AAHH! Fest Youth Vendor Raven Smith’s “Straight From The Go” brand. Photo by Juan Anthony Images. 

Our Community Stage local performers included Pack Drumline, J. Monet Dancers, Retro Gibson, John The Author, Teddy Jackson, Stick & Move Youth Crew, Lil Prophet, King Ron the Poet, Ace Da Vinci, Mon’Aerie, Goody, HUEY Gang, Move Me Soul, Donda’s House PROject US Youth and the Common Ground Foundation. Our DJ for the day was DJ Mike P who has a large multigenerational following.


Caption: Chance the Rapper gave a surprise performance at AAHH! Fest Community Day! Photo by Juan Anthony Images. 

Our Community Stage headliners included Rahkii, The Boy Illinois, Gene Noble, Vic Mensa, Taylor Bennet, Omen, and Tink with a surprise performance from Chance The Rapper! Community Day was hosted by Malik Yusef and Common and the CEO of Chicago Public Schools Janice Jackson shared an inspirational message.

AAHH! Fest is one of the few festivals that focuses on social impact. In addition to providing a safe space for youth to learn about resources in a fun & engaging environment, proceeds from the festival support the Common Ground Foundation and Donda’s House Inc. Additionally, the festival launched an internship program where all festival leaders in production, operations and marketing, hosted an intern for the week. The interns ranged in age from High School to college and were integrated into the team learning invaluable professional and event management skills. AAHH! Fest was sponsored by Allstate, BMOA, Google, Aramark and the Chicago Fund for Safe & Peaceful Communities.

For more information about AAHH! Fest please check out the following:

AAHH! Fest Returns as 2-day Event with Powerful Message, lineup via Chicago Sun Times

Common and J. Cole help Chicago Exhale at AAHH! Fest via Rolling Out

Bronzeville Artist Sir the Baptist: My Purpose in Life is Bigger Than Music via DNA Info

You can also view the official hashtag #aahhfest on social media to see a collection of photos and videos from our festival participants! Thank you for your support! Please join our mailing list here.

Please enjoy the gallery below featuring photos from our photographer Juan Anthony Images and student photographers D’miri Christiel & Vashon Jordan!