Main-Dempster Mile, local DJ partner to pump up the Evanston community

DJ Johnny Price. Price curated a 24 hour playlist in collaboration with Main-Dempster Mile.

Courtesy of Johnny Price

DJ Johnny Price. Price curated a 24 hour playlist in collaboration with Main-Dempster Mile.

Julia Richardson, Assistant City Editor

Taking a note from singer Kelly Clarkson, the Main-Dempster Mile has set out to proclaim: “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.”

The “Finish Strong, Evanston” Spotify playlist — a Main-Dempster Mile project — seeks to motivate Evanston residents to “hang in there just a little longer” and support local businesses.

According to the Main-Dempster Mile Executive Director Katherine Gotsick, the project was inspired by the concept of “placemaking,” or the practice of activating public space. Posters with a QR code linked to the playlist hang in the windows of businesses along the Main-Dempster Mile.

“This year, it’s harder to get people together,” Gotsick said. “You have to think of different ways to activate the community when they’re staying inside.”

While putting the project together, Gotsick recruited Johnny Price, an Evanston resident and DJ, to create the upbeat playlist. Though the Main-Dempster Mile has recruited several DJs for events in the past, Gotsick said Price stands out. She describes him as “a happy dude” and “a positive presence.”

When creating the playlist, Price said he was drawn to “addictive” songs, including throwbacks and classics. Gotsick shared three or four songs with Price to set the tone for the playlist, but the finished product is around 24 hours long. Price said he believes the liveliness of the songs he chose “won’t draw anyone down.”

“Based on experience playing in different bars in Chicago and all around, a lot of folks like the upbeat stuff…things that they could actually sing,” Price said. “Like Beyoncé’s ‘Run the World,’…and of course, take it back to the 70s with Sister Sledge’s ‘We Are Family.’”

Since the project has been publicized, Price said he has received a lot of support on his Facebook page, which inspires him to try new mixes during his livestream shows. He said he plans to start what he calls “New Hope Pop-Dance” mixes on Fridays, which will feature similar songs to the ones on the Main-Dempster Mile playlist.

Evan Girard, a member of The Main-Dempster Mile’s placemaking committee, said she has been listening to Price’s playlist and loves it.

“I think (Gotsick) hopes this will be a new trend,” Girard said. “We’re just looking forward to working on future playlists with different local DJs and musicians, or business owners who want to do this with us.”

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Twitter: @juliaa_grace

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