Gig of the Week: Main Street Nights
With warmer weather, there are many entertainment options for Southlanders.
One that offers free events is Main Street Nights, which will run on Wednesdays from June 12-Aug. 7.
“The community supports it,” said Chuck Sabey, who has coordinated the outdoor summer entertainment series for four years.
“We have great entertainment, and organizations come out and either vend or share information about what they’re about. All of that just combines for a festive atmosphere.
“The other great thing is we have children and seniors coming out, enjoying themselves, and just the setting itself: the downtown green.”
Sabey, who is also the cultural arts supervisor at Park Forest’s Freedom Hall, said it’s important for Main Street Nights to remain free.
“In today’s economy where there are so many entertainment options, and really discretionary income may not be as much in this economy right now, free entertainment is just that,” he said.
“It makes it affordable for a family as opposed to going into the city (of Chicago), and we have bands and entertainers who could be performing in the city.
“The community can be exposed to great entertainment. We have some pretty credible Chicago-region bands and even national performers.”
Although most of the acts will perform at the Park Forest Village Green, the June 12 kickoff will be at the Park Forest Aqua Center.
“We want to highlight a beautiful facility, and that is our aqua center. It is an open house for them,” Sabey said.
“We start it off with Dave Rudolf. Even before we brought him over to the aqua center with us, his summer show is titled Beach Party. The setting of the aqua center is perfect for Dave Rudolf.”
Something new for Main Street Nights is a July 10 drum circle with Funkadesi, which Sabey called an outstanding, high-caliber act.
“Hopefully our audience will know to come out to that 7 o’clock event with their own drums or buckets or anything to make noise,” he said.
“That’s an experiment. We don’t know how it will go, but I think it can be a lot of fun.”
Familiar faces will perform at Main Street Nights.
They include the Southland Jazz Ensemble with Valerie Nicholson, a professor of music at Prairie State College in Chicago Heights.
“(There are) 18 musicians from the region who are just excellent musicians, and they play some great jazz music,” Sabey said. “They’re an annual favorite.”
Also on the schedule again is Classical Blast, which debuted at Main Street Nights in 2012 with classical instrumentation playing contemporary songs.
“Everyone was just like, ‘Bring them back.’ There’s a big wow factor with them.”
Jim Nesci’s Cold Blooded Creatures is another returning Main Street Nights entertainer and Sabey said the act is an annual favorite.
“Families, especially the kids, love them,” he said.
So who is Sabey looking forward to checking out at Main Street Nights?
He cited Carla Prather and Company as the namesake is a vocalist from Poi Dog Pondering.
“She’s also her own artist with musicians that are very credible, and I just think she’s going to put on a really hot show,” Sabey said.
With entertainment for all ages, he said he hopes to see plenty of people at Main Street Nights.
“It’s really just a nice, family-friendly setting that is safe,” Sabey said. “People come out with their blankets or lawn chairs, and they’ll just have a nice and relaxing evening.
“It’s something the community looks forward to every year.”
JUNE 12: Dave Rudolf (at the Park Forest Aqua Center) at 7 p.m.
JUNE 19: Sideswipe, a martial arts performance team, at 7 p.m. and Carla Prather and Company at 7:45 p.m.
JUNE 26: “The Flying Fool” Ken Schultz at 7 p.m. and Banda Rika at 7:45 p.m.
JULY 10: Funkadesi community drum circle at 7 p.m. and the world music band itself performing at 7:45 p.m.
JULY 17: Jim Nesci’s Cold Blooded Creatures at 7 p.m. and Creole Stomp at 7:45 p.m.
JULY 24: Radio Rock at 7 p.m. and Saturday June Band at 7:45 p.m.
JULY 31: Daniel Martin at 7 p.m. and the Southland Jazz Ensemble at 7:45 p.m.
AUG. 7: Classical Blast at 7 p.m. and the movie “Oz the Great and Powerful” at dusk.
Attendees should call (708) 748-2005 to confirm the weekly schedule.
Jessi Virtusio blogs about music, movies and more at blogs.southtownstar.com/entertainment.