We’re all ears for Corn Fest

By Adrian Finiak

DeKalb’s annual summer Corn Fest is one of the last-standing free festivals in the area and great entertainment is key to a successful event.

This year’s festival will have two featured stages in downtown DeKalb. The Community Stage is located on Lincoln Highway and First Street and features dance groups, choirs and martial arts demonstrations. The main Sound Stage is located on East Locust and Second streets.

This year’s headliner is ‘80s metal power-pop band Night Ranger. Night Ranger has sold more than 16 million albums worldwide featuring hits such as “Sister Christian,” “Don’t Tell Me You Love Me” and “(You Can Still) Rock In America.”

“Summertime is about rock ‘n’ roll and America,” said Jack Blades, bassist and lead vocalist of Night Ranger. “[It] brings a lot of joy and happiness to people.”

This year, Night Ranger will release a new album along with a greatest hits album. In support, Night Ranger will play festivals like Corn Fest.

“It’s fun to have [free festivals] so that people can come without spending an arm and a leg,” Blades said.

Night Ranger will perform at 4:30 Sunday.

Music won’t be limited to the outdoor stages during Corn Fest though.

“I consider this weekend the start of good things,” said Jeremy Eisenberg, general manager of Otto’s Niteclub, 118 E. Lincoln Highway.

Otto’s features Mr. Blotto Friday night and The Pimps with support from Pine and Not Elliot Saturday. Both shows are 21-and-over, cost $5 and start at 10 p.m.

Eisenberg started planning Otto’s Corn Fest lineup at the beginning of summer.

Otto’s opens at 1 p.m. every day during the festival.

“[The temperature] is the coolest it has been in the last 15 years,” said Eisenberg, pointing out the new air conditioning system that was installed.

The House Cafe, 263 E. Lincoln Highway, also has a weekend full of music setup for Corn Fest.

Friday night, Chicago Afrobeat Project performs with Junk In The Trunk for $5. Saturday is a free show featuring VIA Audio from Boston, Inspector Owl and Where’s Jimmy K At? Sunday night, Family Style Music performs a free show.

“It’s a great opportunity [to play festivals],” said Corey Wills, lead singer and guitarist of Inspector Owl. “At festivals, there’s a lot of diversity.”