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Grass-roots groups want to host free music during NATO summit

Barefoot Summit Logo.

Barefoot Summit Logo.

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Updated: June 4, 2012 11:00AM

The NATO summit may have a musical accompaniment.

Grass-roots organizations are planning to host four days of free music and entertainment at the Petrillo Music Shell in Grant Park, concluding when the summit does on May 21.

Tentatively called the Barefoot Summit as a nod to the Patti Smith hit “Dancin’ Barefoot,” the event is awaiting approval from the Chicago Park District. Confirmed to appear are singer-songwriter Tom Morello, the Chicago poetry ensemble Louder Than a Bomb and filmmaker Haskell Wexler, a native Chicagoan who filmed the edgy “Medium Cool” during the 1968 Democratic convention.

The Chicago Afrobeat Project, Mucca Pazza, Rebel Diaz and singer-songwriters Ami Saraiya and Anna Soltys are also slated to perform.

Last month the city OK’d use of the Petrillo stage on May 20 as the launch point for an anti-war march. Park district spokeswoman Marta Juaniza confirmed an application for the May 18-21 Barefoot Summit was received Tuesday and said review of the proposal is likely to take 14 days.

The entertainment was booked in alignment with the alliance of protest organizations called the Coalition Against the NATO and G8 War & Poverty Agenda, or CANG8.

“Petrillo Music Shell is our platform for this display of all the best Chicago has on offer,” said event organizer David Meyers, a Chicago trumpet player who also founded the Cafe Chicago organic coffee cooperative. “Our music, poetry, DJ genius, and off-Loop theater all sing and dance their way onto the world’s most democratic stage. We amplify the spoken word to encourage robust and meaningful dialogue.”

Meyers issued an open letter asking Smith, a Chicago native, to attend, promising her “perfect weather, safe landing, a nice bike ride with some friends, a wonderful buckwheat pancake breakfast, a barn dance that’s always slammin’ and a place on a little stage where you can sing to your heart’s content.”

Food trucks are planned, and Chicago food author and former Hideout bartender Martha Bayne is hoping to serve “the biggest breakfast in the world” on the morning of May 20 before demonstrators head from Grant Park to McCormick Place.

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