‘Blues Brothers’ anniversary to be big bash at old prison

The Old Joliet Prison will be the site of a two-day party in August to celebrate the 40th anniversary of “The Blues Brothers” movie.

Plans so far include a showing of the movie, Blues Brothers tribute bands and a replica of the country music stage where Joliet Jake and Elwood Blues were protected by chicken wire while singing the blues to an unappreciative audience.

"We're going to do a Bob's Country Bunker stage," said Greg Peerbolte, executive director of the Joliet Area Historical Museum, which organizes tours and events at the former Joliet Correctional Center.

The prison on Collins Street provided the setting for the opening scene of the movie, making what is now dubbed the Old Joliet Prison a natural site for an anniversary celebration of the movie that came out in 1980.

Peerbolte said Aug. 21 and 22 are “pretty firm” dates for the Blues Brothers festival, although final arrangements are still being made.

The festival will double as the major annual fundraiser for prison restoration, and organizers have high hopes of bringing Dan Akroyd, who played Elwood Blues in the movie, to the event.

“If we do get Dan Akroyd, you’re going to hear me screaming from the museum,” Peerbolte told the Joliet City Council Prison Committee this week while discussing plans for the event.