Grey skies and rainstorms couldn’t keep spirits down at the Cerise Rooftop at Chicago’s Virgin Hotel on August 5, where Rolling Stone and Soul in the Horn teamed up for one of the most anticipated dance parties of the summer.

Held during the annual Lollapalooza weekend, and brought to you in partnership with KOOL and ~Pouri, guests were treated to delicious specialty cocktails, lavish passed hor d’oeuvres, glamorous dance performance, and music from Windy City and New York all-stars, including rising Brooklyn DJ and producer L3NI, Chicago house legend Terry Hunter, multihyphenate trumpeter Maurice “Mobetta” Brown, and the “45 Queen” herself, DJ Natasha Diggs.

Rafael Avcioglu

Co-founded in 2008 by Diggs and curator DProsper, Soul in the Horn started as a New York dance party and live music showcase, and quickly became a staple of the Big Apple’s nightlife scene. Today it’s known as a global entertainment and music brand with an eye on elevating artists, community, and good vibes around the world, making it the perfect collaborator for Rolling Stone Live’s 12th Lollapalooza voyage.

L3N1 started the party right, seamlessly weaving together banger after banger from the likes of Soul II Soul, Yazoo, James Brown, and Crystal Waters with inarguable flair as guests arrived at the 26th-floor lounge. It didn’t take long before the room was packed with music lovers ranging in age who mixed and mingled as they moved to the beats and took in views from Chicago’s magnificent skyline. Lollapalooza is known to attract people with diverse musical tastes and lifestyles, which could be seen among the crowd at this event, which included hardcore punks, hip-hop heads, and electronic music aficionados, among fans of other musical and pop subcultures (and of course, no summer 2023 party would be complete without a smattering of folks in Barbie pink!).

Rafael Avcioglu

Meanwhile, at the 25th floor’s intimate Upstairs lounge, a sequin-adorned aerial dance artist presented by KOOL gave the event a breath of retro intrigue and style as she climbed into a lollipop lyra hoop, where she performed elegant moves throughout the afternoon. Just outside on the covered patio, guests stayed dry from the rain on the covered patio as they sipped drinks and relaxed in luxurious loungers along a communal table.

Rafael Avcioglu

Back upstairs, Terry Hunter (who received a Grammy nomination for his remix of Beyoncé’s  “Break My Soul” earlier this year) took the tables, giving the locals in attendance as well as out-of-town visitors a true taste of Chicago house music, as he mixed soulful melodies with four-on-the-floor beats. The action didn’t stop as Brown and his crew picked up their instruments; in fact they jammed with Hunter on his last track of his set before launching into a performance that was hot enough to set spirits ablaze.

The event was a homecoming for Brown, a celebrated jazz, blues, and hip-hop trumpeter and producer who grew up in Chicago’s southern suburbs before finding fame as a member of the Tedeschi Trucks Band and in-demand collaborator with artists like Aretha Franklin, the Roots, Anderson .Paak, and Ramsay Lewis. Joining him were a band of equally ace musicians with Windy City roots, including guitarist Isaiah Sharkey, bassist Junius Paul, keyboardist Andrew Toombs, and drummer Brandon Collins. Dressed in smashing blue and white summer threads with red-tinted shades, Brown cut a lively figure as he led the group through smooth terrain and searing jams. Later in the set, he worked his way through the throngs of fans (many of whom knew every song) and out onto the terrace just as the sun was peeking out behind the clouds.


Rafael Avcioglu

If the party’s energy had been at level 10 all afternoon, the band had dialed it up to 11 by the time they played their final notes, and when Diggs launched into her electrifying set (which included a salute to Whitney Houston, whose 60th birthday would have been on August 9), the entire crowd seemed to be dancing, whether on the dance floor, or outside in the sunshowers

Even with Lollapalooza in high gear just blocks away, when the party drew to a close around 5PM, it felt like no one wanted to leave. “Thanks to KOOL for keeping the good vibes flowing and ~Pourri, From the Makers of Poo~Pourri, for keeping the bathrooms smelling fresh so the only “funk” around was in the music.” With any luck, Rolling Stone Live and Soul in the Horn will return next year so we can do it all over again.

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