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The Blues Brothers
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Old Joliet Prison will host the inaugural Blues Brothers Con

Featuring a live performance from Elwood Blues and Brother Zee (aka Dan Aykroyd and Jim Belushi).

Emma Krupp
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Emma Krupp
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The Blues Brothers are headed back to prison—well, sort of. More than 40 years after the release of the original film, the Old Joliet Prison will play host to the first-ever Blues Brothers convention this August, bringing two days of live blues and gospel performances, food and film-themed activities to the Chicago area. 

The inaugural Blues Brothers Con is a partnership between the Joliet Area Historical Museum and Dan Aykroyd, Judith Belushi Pisano (John Belushi’s widow) and the Belushi family. Hosted on the grounds of the Old Joliet Prison—a now-defunct prison from which Jake Blues is released at the beginning of The Blues Brothers—the fest is designed to pay tribute to the cultural impact of the 1980 movie, as well as the broader legacy of blues and gospel music. 

“It is now more important than ever that we recognize, venerate and celebrate the positive impact African American culture and blues music have contributed to the world,” Aykroyd said in a statement announcing the event. 

In addition to a 90-minute headlining performance from Dan Aykroyd and Jim Belushi (reprising their roles as Elwood Blues and Brother Zee, respectively) on Friday night, the event will feature live music from blues performers like Toronzo Cannon, Curtis Salgado, Lil’ Ed & The Blues Imperials and Mondo Cortez & The Chicago Blues Angels, plus a full ecumenical gospel music service from Joliet faith-based and civic leaders. When they’re not listening to music, guests can grab food from local restaurants and tour Blues Brothers-themed experiences like a Maxwell Street Market pop-up and a Bluesmobile car show at a Daley Plaza recreation, browse merch from a series of vendors or—in an attempt to ameliorate some of the grimmer parts of the prison’s legacy—learn about restorative justice initiatives from Joliet-area community organizations. The fest concludes on Saturday night with a screening of The Blues Brothers. 

Blues Brother Con will take place August 19–20 at Old Joliet Prison (1125 N Collins St, Joliet). Tickets for the fest start at $60 ($20 for children and students)—you can read through the full event lineup below.

Blues Brothers Con
Courtesy Blues Brothers Con
Blues Brothers Con
Courtesy Blues Brothers Con

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