Have you booked your vacation package for the first Blues Brothers Con breaking into Joliet’s Old Jail on August 19-20? The perfect location for the festival, this corrections facility turned restored historic site was featured prominently in the classic film ‘The Blues Brothers,’ which hit theaters 42 years ago this summer.
“Since the museum began operations in 2018, Joliet Old Jail has become a place of pilgrimage for Blues Brothers fans around the world,” said Greg Peerbolte, CEO of the Joliet Area Historical Museum. “We are honored to work with Dan Aykroyd, Judith Belushi-Pisano [widow of John Belushi] and the Belushi family to preserve the cultural contributions of one of the greatest films ever made. Blues Brothers Con will also help repair the effects of the worst aspects of prison history by partnering with local nonprofits and faith-based organizations that support rehabilitation and restorative justice initiatives.
The 16-acre Old Joliet Jail Historic Site of the Joliet Area Historical Museum will be transformed into a lively, family-friendly live entertainment destination for this highly anticipated two-day event. The festivities will feature Dan Aykroyd and James Belushi as Elwood Blues and Brother Zee, respectively, in a 90-minute performance on Friday, August 19.
The Blues Brothers will be supported by Chicago bluesman Toronzo Cannon and Curtis Salgado, a longtime performer after whom the iconic film character Curtis is named. The Saturday, August 20 lineup includes an ecumenical gospel music service led by religious and civic leaders from the Joliet area, followed by seasoned Chicago blues veterans Mondo Cortez & The Chicago Blues Angels, Dave Weld & The Imperial Flames, and Lil’ Ed & The Imperial Blues.
The Blues Brothers Con will also feature recreated tributes to the film throughout the site. Customers can sample local dishes and browse merchandise selections, while strolling through “The Blues Brothers” experiences, including a Maxwell Street Market pop-up, a Bluesmobile car show at Daley Plaza, artwork live art accompanied by a DJ at the Soul Café and country and western concerts at Bob’s Country Bunker. Saturday morning will open with a special ecumenical service and a performance of gospel music inspired by the Triple Rock Baptist Church. A free public screening of “The Blues Brothers” will close the festival on Saturday evening.
“It is now more important than ever that we recognize, revere and celebrate the positive impact that African-American culture and blues music have brought to the world,” Aykroyd said. “That’s what the Blues Brothers were, and Blues Brothers Con continues that mission with dedication and commitment. Judy and I are grateful and look forward to an outstanding weekend of fun, food, and celebration of all that is blues music.
“I’ve wanted to do this for years,” Belushi-Pisano said. “I have lived in the Blues Brothers world for over 40 years, and the mission to embrace blues music, share music and support live music remains constant. This festival is the perfect format for fans to embrace the blues, and I can’t think of a better venue to host this event than the old jail in Joliet. We aim to create an atmosphere that reflects Chicago’s beautiful blues culture, with music, food and works of art.Our goal is to create a fun and uplifting experience that will leave people wanting more.
Looking to book your con trip? The Heritage Corridor Convention and Visitors Bureau has worked with Blues Brothers Con organizers and several of Joliet’s major local hotels to put together travel packages that include Con tickets, hotel stay and a dining certificate redeemable at restaurants in the Joliet area.
The package includes two general admission tickets, a one or two night stay at a local Joliet hotel and a $50 dining certificate. There are still rooms available for the Wingate by Wyndham Joliet; The Clarion Hotel and Holiday Inn & Suites packages have all been booked.
To see the full two-day schedule of Blues Brothers Con events, visit jolietprison.org/blues-brothers-con.
To book your Blues Brothers Con vacation package, visit heritagecorridorcvb.com/bbcon-hotels or call 815-216-9962.