Community, Live Music, Local, Main Street Nights, Park Forest

Experience the Best Summer Ever: Main Street Nights Returns with a Spectacular Lineup

Main Street Nights June 2022
Main Street Nights returns with a spectacular lineup on June 12. (Photo: Gary Kopycinski)

Park Forest, IL-(ENEWSPF)- The 2024 edition of Main Street Nights returns to the Park Forest Downtown Village Green on June 12. Performances are each Wednesday through August 7, except for July 3, when the performance is on Thursday, July 4.

The main show each evening begins at 7:30 p.m. with an opening act at 6:30 p.m., typically targeting families with children.

The exception to this schedule is on July 31, when the Blooze Brothers take the stage at 6:30 p.m., followed by the annual movie night.

Main Street Nights Returns: Amusement Rides, Food, and Car Shows

Once again, Four Seasons Amusements will be on-site to provide rides and attractions each Wednesday at no charge.

Various food vendors will also be on-site, many returning from last year, including Park Forest’s Flamin Hotties Chili.

For classic car enthusiasts, each week also features a car show adjacent to the Village Green.

Main Street Nights Returns: A Season Preview

Cultural Arts Director Victor Blackful is tagging this season “The Best Summer Ever” with an artist line-up that has something for everyone. He is finalizing the opening acts for each evening and reaching out to local artists and groups who wish to showcase their talents.

Blackful produced a short video highlighting many of this year’s acts. It can be viewed on the Freedom Hall Facebook page.

Below is a summary of what each week has to offer.

group of six month dressed in suits and wearing white hats
The Windy City Ramblers will perform on the opening night of Main Street Nights on June 12. (Photo VOPF)

Wednesday, June 12: Resident Appreciation Night

As in every year since 2014, the Main Streets Nights season kicks off with the Resident Appreciation Barbecue, with food prepared and distributed by the village staff (while supplies last).

Blackful is most excited about the opening act that evening. “The Chicago Boyz,” a fantastic acrobatic team from Chicago, appeared on America’s Got Talent season 8 and during NBA halftime shows and festivals throughout the country.

The central act of the evening is the Windy City Ramblers. Putting a Chicago spin on New Orleans jazz, the band has performed at Bulls and Blackhawk games and on Good Morning America. Blackful says this will be a high-energy evening led by bandleader Mario Abney: “He is just fun!”

three men and three woman dressed in black
Aniba & The Sol Starz celebrate Juneteenth on June 19 at Main Street Nights, (Photo VOPF)

Wednesday, June 19: Juneteenth – A Celebration of Black Excellence

Main Street Nights celebrates Juneteenth with Aniba & The Sol Starz. According to Blackful, the group bounces between classic R&B artists like Chaka Khan, Tina Turner, and Aretha Franklin to newer artists such as Jill Scott. This smooth and funky Chicago group appeals to a wide range of ages.

group of four musicians, two with guitars, one with trombone and one with saxophone
Marty Big Dog Mercer and his band are the featured performers on June 26. (Image VOPF)

Wednesday, June 26: Chicago Blues

The Marty Big Dog Mercer Band is the featured performer for Main Street’s Chicago Blues Night. A member of the Chicago Blues Hall of Fame since 2016, the Joliet native was highly recommended to Blackful by Mercer’s fellow blues artists who have appeared at Freedom Hall.

At 6’10” and 300 pounds, Mercer is a commanding presence on the stage. His musical ability and stature will captivate the audience. Mercer and his band are frequent performers at venues throughout the Chicagoland area.

woman dressed in black singing while holding microphone
LondonKay returns to Park Forest to headline the July 4 MSN celebration. (Image VOPF)

Thursday, July 4: Independence Day

Returning from an appearance at last year’s Park Forest Main Street Music Fest, the LondonKay Experience headlines the July 4 celebration. She performs various musical styles, including R&B, soul, gospel, and jazz. She has also performed at the Vintrendi Wine Club in Park Forest.

After the musical performance, a fireworks show starts at 9:15 p.m.

man playing piano next to woman singing while holding microphone and in front of man playing guitar
Billy Elliot’s performance on July 10 features hits from Billy Joel and Elton John. (Image VOPF)

Wednesday, July 10: Rocking 80s

Billy Elliot is the leading performer on Rocking 80s Night, July 10. He appeared at Main Street Nights three years ago and was well received. The group reprises some of the biggest hits from Elton John and Billy Joel, such as “Crocodile Rock,” “Piano Man,” and “Only the Good Die Young.” Led by Reid Spears on the piano and lead vocals, the band will have the audience singing along with these well-known hits.

woman dressed in red singing while holding microphone
“The Voice” contestant Sandy Redd performs at the GSU Birthday Party on July 17. (Image VOPF)

Wednesday, July 17: GSU Birthday Party

Sandy Redd helps Governors State University (GSU) celebrate its 55th birthday on July 17. Redd was featured on NBC’s “The Voice” in 2018. The singer, dancer, and actor performs worldwide and has opened for many of the biggest rap and R&B stars in the business. Blackful said she is a “dynamic and powerful singer” who will delight the crowd.

band dressed in marching uniforms playing trombones and saxophones
The eclectic music of Mucca Pazza takes centerstage on July 24. (Image VOPF)

Wednesday, July 24: World Music Celebration

The World Music Celebration night features Mucca Pazza on July 24. Combining marching band basics featuring drums, trumpets, and saxophones, the 30-piece group adds unexpected flair with guitars, mandolins, violins, and accordions. Throw in some cheerleaders and marching band uniforms, and they present an unforgettable musical experience.

Mucca Pazza has appeared at Main Street Nights, where significant audience interaction was evident.

The opening act at 6:30 p.m. will feature an aerobic workout demonstration by Park Forest-based Downs Fitness.

two men wearing suits, hats and sunglasses singing behind microphones
The Blooze Brothers return to MSN with their Bloozemobile before the MSN Movie Night. (Image VOPF)

Wednesday, July 31: Blooze Brothers & Movie Night

The Blooze Brothers return to Main Street Nights on July 31 at 6:30 p.m. Always a crowd favorite, the high-energy group covers many of the songs John Belushi and Dan Akroyd performed in the 1980 “Blues Brothers” movie.

Following the Blooze Brothers, Main Street Nights presents a family-friendly movie. Blackful has three films in mind for this year: “Migration,” “Trolls,” and “Barbie.” To decide which movie will be shown, he is conducting a poll on various Facebook sites where users can select their favorite.

woman wearing sunglasses sings while holding microphone
Fredi Taylor closes out the MSN season on August 7 during the National Night Out celebration. (Image VOPF)

Wednesday, August 7: National Night Out

The annual National Night Out, sponsored by the Park Forest Police Department, wraps up the season on August 7. The evening features complimentary food (while supplies last), fun and games, and a chance to socialize with the officers who protect the village daily.

The evening musical performance is by Fredi Taylor and The Nu Source Band, who perform various hits that span generations. Taylor has appeared frequently at Park Forest venues and is always a crowd-pleaser.

Main Street Nights Returns: Additional Details

Restrooms are available in the Park Forest Village Hall each evening. In the event of rain, performances are moved to Dining on the Green, located at 349 Main Street. Blackful also reserved Wednesday, August 14, as a rain make-up date if needed.

More information on the groups performing can be found on the Freedom Hall Main Street Nights website.

Main Streets Nights 2024 (Image VOPF)