‘Big Bash’ brings local music and more to Old Joliet Prison

11 bands on stage, local art demonstrations, even a farmers market at Aug. 7 event

The Old Joliet Prison yard will be the scene of family-friendly concert that will run from noon to 11 p.m. on Aug. 7 and include a farmers market, art demonstrations and kids corner.

“The Big Bash at the Big House” will feature a 11 bands on two stages with a special jam session, too.

The event will serve as a fundraiser for the prison restoration effort as well as a restoration event for local musicians who missed performances during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“A lot of our musicians were out of work for the last year and a half,” said Greg Peerbolte, executive director of the Joliet Area Historical Museum. “This event is really supporting the local music and arts community.”

Local artists, who also missed opportunities during the pandemic, will demonstrate their work.

Peerbolte described the event as “hyperlocal.”

Food trucks will be there through the event and will be local, he said.

Blues Mobiles will be on display, reflecting “The Blues Brothers” movie which contains opening scenes set in the prison from its past days as the Joliet Correctional Center.

There will be no charge for self-guided tours of the prison during the event.

“It’s a really full day for a $20 ticket,” Peerbolte said.

Doors will open at 11:30 a.m. and tickets are $20 a person. Children age 12 and younger can enter for free.

Proceeds will benefit the prison restoration project. But the bands were hired for the event, giving them a venue that was missed during the pandemic. The bands are all from the Joliet area, Peerbolte said.

Bands include Chicago Farmer & the Fieldnotes, The Big Lagniappe, John Condon & the Old Gang Orchestra, J Ross Green Band and Cheryl Rodey Band. Performers also include Alex Hoffer, Phoebe Hunt, Laney Jones, Crooked Tails, Vaudevileins, and Nashville Up-and-Comers.

Also in the line-up is a performance called the “Tim Placher & Friends Jailhouse Jam.”

Placher, a local musician, coordinated the music for the event.

Tickets can be bought online at www.jolietprison.org or www.jolietmuseum.org.