Credit: Illustration by Jason Wyatt Frederick

From Brianna Wellen’s introduction, “Losses and gains: Best of Chicago 2020”:

Some business to get out of the way: the reader poll results were determined by you, the readers! If you’re angry about the results, you only have yourselves to blame! Let this be a reminder to keep a close eye on when voting begins next year so you can campaign for your favorites to get the top spot. Or better yet, share your own losses and gains on social media and tag us @Chicago_Reader with the hashtags #bestofchi and #BoC2020. Tell us what made your year worthwhile, shine a light on the people, places, and things that helped you survive, and we’ll share with our followers. I should also acknowledge that a lot of writers’ picks skew to the north side, in part because we weren’t leaving our homes and that’s where many of us live. It’s something we recognize and are always working on changing—I hope this encourages all folks reading this to look beyond those borders.

Review the closed ballot to see all the finalists.

Best blues band

Buddy Guy

Runner-up: Devil in a Woodpile

Best classical group

Chicago Symphony Orchestra

Runner-up: Eighth Blackbird

Best country band

The Henhouse Prowlers

Runner-up: The Lawrence Peters Outfit

Best DJ

Scary Lady Sarah

Runner-up: DJ Ca$h Era

Best drive-in concert

Vic Mensa, Lakeshore Drive-In

Runner-up: Jeff Tweedy, Drive Inn

Best drive-in concert series

FitzGerald’s

Runner-up: Lakeshore Drive-In

Best gig poster designer

Clare Byrne

Runner-up: Jay Ryan

Best hip-hop artist

Noname

Runner-up: Chance the Rapper

Best hip-hop group

Pivot Gang

Runner-up: Glitter Moneyyy

Best hip-hop party

Slo ‘Mo

Runner-up: Glitter Fest

Best hip-hop producer

Peter Cottontale

Runner-up: Montana Macks

Best house music DJ

Derrick Carter

Runner-up: The Chosen Few

Best international/world music act

Dos Santos

Runner-up: Dawn Xiana Moon

Best jazz band

Angel Bat Dawid & tha Brothahood

Runner-up: Chicago Cellar Boys

Best jazz musician

Makaya McCraven

Runner-up: Angel Bat Dawid

Best livestream concert series

The Hideout

Runner-up: Music Friendly Distancing, the Empty Bottle

Best local album of the year

Dehd, Flower of Devotion

Runner-up: Gramps the Vamp, Keeper of the Void

Best local label

Bloodshot Records

Runner-up: Sooper Records

Best metal band

Bongripper

Runner-up: Pelican

Best music podcast

Sound Opinions

Runner-up: CHIRP artist interviews

Best new band

Glitter Moneyyy

Runner-up: Gazebo Effect

Best outdoor music venue

FitzGerald’s

Runner-up: Pritzker Pavilion

Best pop artist

Nnamdï

Runner-up: SuperKnova

Best punk band

Rise Against

Runner-up: Ganser

Best R&B artist

Jamila Woods

Runner-up: Jordanna

Best recording studio

Electrical Audio

Runner-up: Uptown Recording

Best rock band

Wilco

Runner-up: Beach Bunny

Best singer-songwriter

Jamila Woods

Runner-up: Kara Jackson


Best of Chicago 2020 is
presented by

    Sponsored in part by