DaBaby and Cho­sen Few DJs head­line sub­urb’s three-day drive-in mu­sic fes­ti­val

DaBaby to per­form at mu­sic fest that aims to bring some ‘vir­tual sub­stance’ to drive-in en­ter­tain­ment

Chicago Sun-Times - - FRONT PAGE - EVAN F. MOORE RE­PORTS,

Au­nique live mu­sic se­ries has pro­mot­ers book­ing the kind of en­ter­tain­ment that keeps shows go­ing while keep­ing con­cert­go­ers — and the per­form­ers they want to see — healthy.

The Head­lights Fes­ti­val, sched­uled to take place at south sub­ur­ban Hazel Crest’s Cross Pointe Park (2801 West 167th St.), will be a popup, drive-in fes­ti­val fea­tur­ing live mu­sic over the course of three days start­ing Friday, July 24 (gates open at noon each day), while ad­her­ing to so­cial dis­tanc­ing guide­lines. Chart-top­ping rap artist DaBaby head­lines the fest.

“We have no choice but to cre­ate some­thing for our­selves in what we con­sider the new face of en­ter­tain­ment,” said Rita Lee, the fes­ti­val’s co-pro­ducer. “The rea­son for it is mu­sic is al­ways go­ing be a heal­ing force, and this is the first time the mu­sic in­dus­try has been shut down; the en­ter­tain­ment in­dus­try has been shut down and [Chicago sub­urb] Har­vey was our orig­i­nal start­ing point and we proved that the con­cept can hap­pen there.

Lee and Percy Scott, her cocre­ator with PR Pop-Ups, or­ga­nized a Mother’s Day pop-up, drive-in movie event in south sub­ur­ban Har­vey, which sold out.

“We un­der­stood what the mar­ket needed: a live event with some vir­tual sub­stance to a so­cial dis­tanc­ing en­ter­tain­ment event,” said Lee. “We just did it to cre­ate a bet­ter vibe than just com­ing to a show.”

As for Head­lights Fes­ti­val’s lo­gis­tics, the ve­hi­cles in the Hazel Crest park will be lim­ited to 500, while each ve­hi­cle is re­quired to prac­tice so­cial dis­tanc­ing guide­lines.

“Peo­ple will get to pick their spot just like you pick the seat at a movie the­ater or in a reg­u­lar con­cert,” said Lee. “If you pre­order food, it’s de­liv­ered to your sec­tion, or you can bring your own; we’re giv­ing ev­ery­body op­tions to prac­tice so­cial dis­tance how they see fit.”

For Satur­day, the main per­former is Char­lotte-based hip-hop artist DaBaby, whose song “Rock­star” (with Roddy Ricch) has topped the sin­gles chart for much of the sum­mer. He per­forms two shows, at 2 and 7 p.m. Other Satur­day mu­si­cians in­clude DJ Drama, Napalm and Pa­tricKxxLee, who plans to per­form from his na­tive South Africa.

While some of the artists are per­form­ing vir­tu­ally, DaBaby plans to per­form in per­son, ac­cord­ing to his man­age­ment and fes­ti­val of­fi­cials.

As for Sun­day, fes­ti­val­go­ers should plan to revel in the mu­sic of Keke Wy­att (Sun­day’s head­liner); Charles Jenkins, pas­tor of the Fel­low­ship Mis­sion­ary Bap­tist Church of Chicago, and Kee­dron Bryant, the 12-year-old sen­sa­tion who turned heads by singing a vi­ral ren­di­tion of the Black Na­tional An­them.

Jenkins, a suc­cess­ful gospel singer, says he’s hon­ored to per­form at the fes­ti­val be­cause he be­lieves Chicagoans need a respite from the COVID-19 pan­demic, po­lice killings and vi­o­lence within the com­mu­ni­ties.

“There has been so much bad news, and so I think this event is so spe­cial be­cause it’s wel­comed in­spi­ra­tion, up­lift, and en­ter­tain­ment,” said Jenkins. “Friends have the op­por­tu­nity to gather in a safe way in a space that is been ex­clu­sively de­signed for peo­ple to so­cial dis­tance.

“It’s the world’s love lan­guage of mu­sic that I be­lieve will fill so many peo­ple up in a much-needed way right now, and so I’m ex­cited to be a part of it to be able to hope­fully be a bright spot in a se­ries of dark mo­ments.”

Another per­former, Terry Hunter, says he was pre­par­ing for the vir­tual ver­sion of The Cho­sen Few DJs’ Cho­sen Few Pic­nic & House Mu­sic Fes­ti­val, when he re­ceived a call from Lee, who asked if the group would be in­ter­ested in co-head­lin­ing the fes­ti­val lineup.

Hunter, like most mu­si­cians amid the pan­demic, jumped at the op­por­tu­nity to per­form.

“She [Lee] told me the whole idea, and I thought it was in­cred­i­ble,” said Hunter. “Noth­ing hasn’t been done, es­pe­cially in our city. And, for me, I’m used to be­ing on the road in Europe, Africa, and Asia; this COVID has stopped us right in our tracks.

“It [the call to per­form] was just a breath of fresh air. And the city needs this; I’m sit­ting up and go­ing stir crazy in the house. I called the fel­las who jumped down on it.”

Lee isn’t wor­ried about how such an un­con­ven­tional mu­sic fes­ti­val is go­ing to do be­cause she says she’s or­ga­nized sim­i­lar events in the past — and ticket sales thus far prove her point.

“Tak­ing a blank can­vas and creat­ing a beau­ti­ful event — I’ve done it sev­eral times,” said Lee.

DaBaby

NOEL VASQUEZ/GETTY IM­AGES

The Head­lights Fes­ti­val’s main per­former Satur­day will be chart-top­ping, hip-hop artist DaBaby.

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