As summer came to a close, the staff at Ridge Park began organizing an event to showcase the local music scene with a lineup full of young performers.
The inaugural Ridge Parkapalooza will be presented on Saturday, Oct. 5, from 2 to 7:30 p.m., in the parking lot at Ridge Park, 1817 W. 96th St.
Featuring four acts, the outdoor concert will be free and family friendly.
Courtney Mitchell, who is on staff at the park, is organizing the event with co-worker Mia Kittaneh.
“The [Chicago Park District] Cultural Department was in need of an event to finish the year out, and they came to Mia and me for suggestions,” Mitchell said. “I let them know of one of my plans to have a music festival on the South Side of Chicago that would showcase the talent that lies in the area. They loved the idea, and we all worked together to make it happen.”
According to Mitchell, the local concert will feature Aaron Evans and Philip and Sam Glover; Ajay Thee Great; Dylan Lloyd; and Nick Henderson.
They are all in their 20s or 30s, and Mitchell and Kittaneh are close friends with many of the musicians, which helped with planning.
“Every artist grew up from the surrounding Beverly area, and some are still living on the South Side of Chicago,” Mitchell said. “Mia and I have personal relationships with the great majority of the acts that will be in the performance, so they were thrilled to be a part of an event like this.”
Lloyd, 33, is a St. Barnabas Elementary School graduate who was born in Englewood and grew up in Beverly.
He will perform on piano at Ridge Parkapalooza. Lloyd, who lives in Hyde Park, has music available on Spotify and iTunes. Also known for performing “cool pop,” he signed with Universal Music Group.
He has traveled around the world to perform, including Ukraine, and Ridge Parkapalooza came up at the right time, as he already planned to be in Chicago.
“It’s just been going crazy,” Lloyd said. “It was actually pretty good timing.”
Lloyd, who plays several instruments and sings, said he is “going back to my roots” in recording a 10-song album that will feature him solely on the piano.
He’s played at local venues in recent years, and Lloyd said it’s always nice to return home.
“For all intents and purposes, my career started in Beverly,” Lloyd said. “Going all the way back to John Devens and World Music Co. [formerly at 1808 W. 103rd St.], that kind of catapulted the desire to go out and do this all professionally.”
Lloyd was inducted into the Moraine Valley Community College Alumni Hall of Fame in February, and he was named this year’s alumnus of the year. He visits the school in Palos Hills to speak with students interested in the music industry.
He said the past 12 months have been memorable.
“It’s been a great year all around. Life is busy,” Lloyd said. “Life is good.”
Ridge Park is one of 15 parks in the city that provides a cultural center, and the park district launched the “RE: Center” program in 2015 that is focused on improving programming at those centers.
Mitchell said she and Kittaneh received the budget for their festival, and from there, everything came together smoothly.
“Mia and I sat down and created a blueprint for the project and assigned each other jobs to plan efficiently,” Mitchell said. “It was challenging with teaching classes, and planning the festival; however, we were able to get everything completed and are looking forward to the event.”
For more information on Ridge Parkapalooza, visit the website at chicagoparkdistrict.com.