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Metropia showcases Chicago music, art

Cold Blue Kid is scheduled perform MetropiExperience.

Cold Blue Kid is scheduled to perform at the Metropia Experience.

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♦ 2-11 p.m. June 8

♦ Atrium Events, 4325 N. Ravenswood

♦ Tickets: $65; $27 for students


Updated: June 7, 2012 11:24AM

The fusing of art with music can often result in a rather emotional and powerful reaction, and for Chicago events promoter Omar Barragan, it was this exact feeling that propelled the 31-year-old to create a new entry in Chicago’s ever-crowded summer festival scene. Yet, make no mistake — planners of the Metropia Experience promise that this is not your ordinary festival.

In fact, it’s not a festival at all.

“I really was definite about not calling it a festival, because I wanted it to be a bit more intimate compared to what is already out there,” says Barragan, who came up with the idea of Metropia just over a year ago. “I have attended a number of musical festivals all over the country, and I had become extremely inspired by what was taking place. I was able to see modern-day Americana at its prime. I watched as young kids were out embracing unconventional music and trying to basically support musicians who are trying to make a name for themselves.”

Housed within the Atrium Events space on North Ravenswood, the Metropia Experience will showcase the talents of Chicago-based artists and celebrate its “crazy cool combination” of art and music. Thousands are expected to turn out , with attendees invited to walk from space to space “enjoying new sounds, visually stimulating art installations and brand-driven experiences.”

“During the planning process, we continued to ask ourselves why more attention wasn’t being brought to the surface to really highlight these musicians and artists that are right here in Chicago,” says Barragan. “I loved the idea of promoting what is unconventional and to showcase the talent that already exists in every major U.S. market and create a music festival that truly embraces the artists. There is a rhythm that exists between art and music that is not seen too often — it’s a perfect marriage.”

While the Metropia Experience will be jam-packed with local performers such as ShutEye, Fathom Blue and Ramsen, Barragan’s goal is to keep the event manageable for organizers and attendees. “We have 27 local musicians performing, but it’s always been promoted as an intimate event experience,” says Barragan, who will be donating a portion of the event proceeds to benefit the locally based anti-bullying organization the Bully Police Squad, as well as the Chicago Sound Alliance/WLUW-88.7 FM. “We want people to be comfortable, and at the end of the day, we just want the event to run smoothly. If just one person comes in and says they saw a band they never heard of before and they can now follow them locally, we have done our job.”

Plans are already under way to expand the Metropia Experience brand to major markets across the country, allowing more cities to offer and celebrate all that they can offer artistically, musically and culturally. “Chicago will serve as the true pilot for the Metropia Experience, and it will definitely set the standard for what’s going to happen in other markets,” concludes Barragan. “We have been planning this event for over six months, and so far people are really embracing it since it is so positive in nature. I love the idea of one person buying local art here and realizing that they can truly live what they believe in and be an all-around organic individual. Everyone seems to be eating organic and sustainable these days… who says your music can’t be organic?”

Note: The Metropia Experience runs 2-10 p.m. June 7; 2-11 p.m. June 8.

Tricia Despres is a local free-lance writer.

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