Have you booked your vacation package for the inaugural Blues Brothers Con breaking into the Old Joliet Prison on Aug. 19 and 20? A fitting location for the festival, this correctional center turned restored historic site prominently was featured in the classic film “The Blues Brothers,” which premiered in theaters 42 years ago this summer.
“Since the museum began operations in 2018, the Old Joliet Prison has become a pilgrimage site for Blues Brothers fans from 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 to repair the effects of the worst aspects of the prison’s history by partnering with nonprofits and local faith-based organizations that support reentry and restorative justice initiatives.”
The Joliet Area Historical Museum’s 16-acre Old Joliet Prison Historical Site will be transformed into a bustling, family-friendly live entertainment destination for this highly anticipated two-day event. The festivities will feature Dan Aykroyd and James Belushi in the roles of Elwood Blues and Brother Zee, respectively, in a 90-minute performance Friday, Aug. 19.
The Blues Brothers will be supported by Chicago bluesman Toronzo Cannon, and Curtis Salgado, a longtime performer for whom the iconic film’s character Curtis is named. The Saturday, Aug. 20, lineup features an ecumenical gospel music service led by Joliet-area faith-based and civic leaders, followed by seasoned Chicago blues veterans Mondo Cortez & The Chicago Blues Angels, Dave Weld & The Imperial Flames, and Lil’ Ed & The Blues Imperials.
The Blues Brothers Con also will feature recreated homages to the film throughout the site. Guests can enjoy local food 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, live art accompanied by a DJ at Soul Café, and live country and western music at Bob’s Country Bunker. Saturday morning will open with a special ecumenical service and gospel music performance inspired by the Triple Rock Baptist Church. A free public screening of “The Blues Brothers” will conclude the festival Saturday night.
“It is now more important than ever that we recognize, venerate and celebrate the positive impact African American culture and blues music have contributed to the world,” Aykroyd said. “This is what the Blues Brothers were all about, and Blues Brothers Con carries on that mission with dedication and commitment. Judy and I are grateful and look forward to an outstanding weekend of fun, food and celebrating everything that is blues music.”
“I’ve wanted to do this for years,” Belushi-Pisano said. “I’ve 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 Joliet Prison. We intend to create an atmosphere reflective of the beautiful Chicago blues culture, with music, food and artwork. Our goal is to craft a fun and uplifting experience that will leave people wanting more.”
Looking to book your trip to the con? The Heritage Corridor Convention and Visitors Bureau has worked with Blues Brothers Con organizers and several of Joliet’s great local hotels to put together travel packages that include Con tickets, a hotel stay, and a dining certificate redeemable at Joliet area restaurants.
The package includes two general admission tickets, a one- or two-night stay at a local Joliet hotel, and a $50 dining certificate. Rooms still remain for the Wingate by Wyndham Joliet; Clarion Hotel and Holiday Inn & Suites packages have all been reserved.
To view the complete Blues Brothers Con two-day event schedule, visit jolietprison.org/blues-brothers-con.
To reserve your Blues Brothers Con vacation package, visit heritagecorridorcvb.com/bbcon-hotels or call 815-216-9962.