Wilmette begins 150th celebration with local music festival

An outdoor rock ’n’ roll show featuring local Wilmette bands took center stage Saturday night, all part of a celebration of the semicentennial of the Centennial Recreation Complex.

Centennial Recreation Complex General Manager Jason Stanislaw said this is an important summer for Wilmette, celebrating the 150th anniversary of the village and the half-centennial of the Centennial Recreation Complex.

Saturday’s inaugural Keep Your Day Job Music Festival was the first of three summer events in celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Centennial Recreation Complex.

“The festival provided a good way to highlight the talent of local Wilmette bands, to bring this entertainment to our local audience, while creating community amongst the musicians themselves,” Stanislaw said.

This inaugural festival was free, open to all ages, featuring homegrown Wilmette musicians performing the best of 1980′s — 1990′s cover music.

Three bands — Casual Abstinence, Coyote Bait and Stop, Gap Measure — all performed at the festival.

“These are the songs we all grew up on, recognizable to audiences, the rock music we know and love,” Stanislaw said.

Holding the event at the Centennial Recreation Complex parking lot, at 2300 Glenview Road, was a great way to activate a passive park space, to use outdoor space beyond the facility itself, Stanislaw said.

With music playing from 5 to 8 p.m., attendees were also offered complimentary Domino’s Pizza, beer and other refreshments.

Stanislaw says this celebration was really meant to be a gift to the community.

Eric Berliant of Wilmette attended Saturday with friends and family, saying, “This local music fest gives us a chance to meet up with friends and listen to some great local music.”

Steve Prokash of Wilmette also stopped by the festival with family.

“This is a fun summer Saturday night, so rare to be able to catch live music with your kids, it’s good for us to be exposed as a family to having a concert experience together,” Prokash said.

Keep Your Day Job Music Festival was held with the premise that each time a local band would perform, the M.C. would introduce the name of the band, and in response the audience would chant, ‘keep your day job.’

Upcoming Centennial celebration events include Wilmette Tennis Club 50th Anniversary Original Tennis Tourney, later this month, and Luau at the Pool, in September.

Gina Grillo is a freelance reporter with Pioneer Press.

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