It’s been said many times that nothing beats Chicago in the summer, and The West Side Music Festival of 2015 proved this to be true, once again. Thousands gathered at Douglas Park on Chicago’s West Side for a celebration of community. The mood was festive and joyous and the 90 degree heat did not keep anyone away. Families filled the park in droves ready to have a good time and they were not disappointed.
The DJ kept the festivities going amidst the food concessions and the beer tent. People were dancing and enjoying themselves waiting for the local acts to hit the stage. Nine-year-old Hadiya Love wowed the audience with her exceptional musical skills and great rap lyrics. Soon after, the Blueprint Band turned the energy up and gave the crowd a jolt to the system. The lead singer Jaitee was electrifying and got the crowd to their feet.
Obi Soulstar hit the stage next and provided an eclectic soul driven performance that kept the crowd engaged and waiting for more. Dante Hall came up next and performed a solid set; the people were clapping their hands and stomping their feet as he performed his Johnnie Taylor cover.
Case was the first major artist to hit the West Side Music Festival stage and the ladies went wild. He did all of his hits including “Im Missing You” and the perennial wedding song “Happily Ever After.” At one point, Case jumped into the crowd and showed them love and they gave it back to him, singing along with his songs and enjoying the mood.
As much as the audience loved Case, everyone was getting antsy for the headliner. Chants of BBD could be heard all over the crowd, as the sun was setting. However, before those chants could be satisfied the West Side’s own Crucial Conflict stormed the stage performing “Hey” and a few other songs without any complaint from the people.
After Crucial Conflict’s set, DJ Shakim, BBD’s DJ, came out and ripped the stage, building the anticipation for the group; then suddenly some sensational music filled the speaker and all heard, “Bell Biv DeVoe!” They ran out while the instrumental to Black Sheep’s “This Or That” played in the background. There was a frenzy of excitement and a swell of nostalgia swept over everyone as BBD ran through their catalogue as BBD and New Edition. They took out a moment to thank everyone for praying for their brother Bobby Brown and asked that they keep sending positive energy his way in light of the death of Bobbi Kristina.
BBD has not lost a step and their voices sound better than ever. To know that they have been in the business for 30 years is eyeopening and those of us who have been around for those 30 years are very grateful for what they do. Kudos to Alderman Michael Scott, Jr. and his team for such an organized, festive occasion. The West Side Music Festival is for everyone young and old and continues the tradition of making Chicago such a wonderful place to live, especially during the summer.