CircuitMOM at Market Days: A Guide To An Exciting & Inclusive Weekend
CircuitMOM at Market Days: A Guide To An Exciting & Inclusive Weekend
Chicago is gearing up for one of its biggest events all year!
Do not attempt to leave the dancefloor.
Market Days is ready to pull out all the stops for its 41st year in the Windy City.
The two-day festival will have around 100,000 people travel from every corner of the globe to party, serve a look, make new friends, and so much more.
One of the biggest Chicago-based production companies, CircuitMOM, is truly going above and beyond for this year's Market Days. The company is celebrating 25 years of epic parties and fans can expect a memorable weekend in store with three major events to go and dance the night away.
CircuitMOM herself, Matthew Harvat, is an iconic presence in dance music festivals around the world. Gay and straight audiences alike embrace Harvat's unique combination of DJing, production, and performances that fuse glamour, wit, and audacity.
The DJ and promoter took some time to chat with PRIDE about everything coming up for this special anniversary at this year's Market Days.
PRIDE: Market Days is coming up and we're all getting excited. What should fans expect at this year's festival from CircuitMOM?
CircuitMOM: We look forward to Market Days weekend every year because it is truly the gold standard for Chicago's street festivals. Plus, it is held right here in Chicago's gay neighborhood on Halsted Street (often referred to as "Boystown") and showcases a diverse, inclusive lineup of talent, vendors and community organizations that uplift and help strengthen our LGBTQ+ family, which is more important than ever. There is nothing like Chicago in the summertime and this is the weekend to experience the best of the best in Chicago's gay business district. They work tirelessly to keep our gayborhood at the forefront of acceptance and inclusion. Once the street fest closes each night at 10 pm, people can still hang out and hit all of the bars and businesses on Halsted Street, or as an alternative, come dance the night(s) away with us at our three massive late-night parties. We are pulling out all the stops for CircuitMOM's 25th Anniversary year so you will not want to miss out. Chicago loves to entertain and Market Days is the perfect weekend to come get your groove on. I will save you a dance or six or ten.
You have exciting parties all year round. What makes Market Days different?
For us, this is our moment to produce three massive, thematic dance parties with over-the-top decor, hundreds of custom-made costumes, and talent from around the globe to give our phenomenal supporters a truly immersive dance party experience. We try to bring a lot of unique productions to all of our events, so when Market Days rolls around and you have a huge space that holds 4800 people, you really let your mind go crazy to create something memorable not only for the brand but for the thousands of attendees from around the globe. This is what we work on year-round so we can bring the best of our abilities to life.
For someone who's never experienced Market Days, how would you say CircuitMOM events stand out compared to other events?
I think there are two major things here. First, Chicago is such a beautiful city, and coming to experience the street festival in our gay district can be very liberating for someone who does not have the same freedoms of self-expression where they live. Feeling at home, and being surrounded by our community (and its allies) even for a day or two can change a person's trajectory from doubt to self-awareness and confidence, which is never a bad thing. Secondly, for CircuitMOM events specifically, we want people to know that everyone and anyone is welcome to come dance with us, no matter how you identify. We give you a safe space to come be yourself and find your tribe. The "circuit party" image of the past could be very intimidating for those who had never been because they looked like and often were, only catering to a certain type of person. From day one, CircuitMOM events have been about inclusion. We promote positive energy and want people to feel like they belong whether they are gay, straight, bi, trans, nonbinary or any other self-affirming identity a person needs to feel whole. Plus, confetti. We use a lot of confetti.
With everything happening politically, why is it important for the LGBTQ+ community to come together and enjoy events like this?
I have been an out, gay person since 1985 ish...(ow, ow, ow...). I was out before I knew what a community, a chosen family or positive representation even meant. At the risk of pulling the "why, back in my day" schtick, the struggles back then are repeating themselves again today in this hate-filled insane political climate. Banning books, attacking trans rights and frankly, basic human rights to exist fairly is taking us 100 steps backward. It is so important that we remain visible in the good times as well as the challenging ones. Events like Market Days empower the mind and show strength in numbers can make a difference. With so much negativity out there, a couple of days of joy can go a long way in energizing the good fight moving forward. Take our problems to the dance floor, if you will.
Can you give us a little backstory on CircuitMOM and CircuitSON? How did you two come together?
We met platonically almost eleven years ago on a certain dating app that encourages its users not to shave. He asked me what I do and told him I had a floral and event company that produced corporate gigs as well as some gay dance parties. I was swamped with client meetings, gigs, and struggling to keep up and he said "Sounds like you need an assistant." We met for lunch to see if we clicked and agreed to a part-time trial period, but I made him keep his existing job at the time because I could not afford to take on a full-time employee. My group of friends dubbed him "CircuitSON" because I am old enough to be his actual mom, and it stuck. Now, here we are more than a decade later, kicking up our heels and tossing more glitter than ever, so I think it has worked out well. We have come a long way with some successes, some failures, and plenty of lessons learned. Edwin has evolved into a powerhouse business person and really helped to bring the brand into a new era with new ideas, new audiences, and even the relentless requirements of multiple social media platforms needed to stay relevant. He is a rockstar.
What advice would you have for someone attending a CircuitMOM event at Market Days for the first time?
Come with some super cute and thematic costumes for each night and be prepared to meet a ton of great people, hear some of the best music on the planet, see some amazing performances and leave with a sense of belonging... and very tired feet.
Where can people go to get tickets and more information?
All of our ticket information can be found on circuitmom.com. Just click the artwork for any event that interests you and it will take you to a ticket link.