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Arts & Culture

Bronzeville Summer Nights Returns With In-Person Entertainment, Live Music

Building on the success of last year's virtual program, organizers are bringing it back — and expanding it.

Bronzeville Summer Nights returns this year with a hybrid format.
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BRONZEVILLE — Bronzeville Summer Nights is back for another season with a schedule of virtual and in-person events for neighbors near and far.

Produced by the Quad Communities Development Corporation, the series — now in its ninth year —celebrates local talent while supporting Bronzeville businesses via family-friendly events.

Organizers were forced to switch to a virtual format last year due to the pandemic, but this year will see the return of live entertainment with performances by Simone Green, Dante Hall, and the Javon Watson Experience. Events will also be livestreamed on the Bronzeville Summer Nights website.

Normally, the event draws as many as 10,000 visitors to Bronzeville’s retail corridors, generating an annual reinvestment of $60,000 into the community, said Yvette Warren, Quad Communities Development Corporation’s community engagement strategist.

Pivoting to a virtual platform in 2020 was risky, but it paid off with viewers as far as Texas tuning in to support the program, Warren said.

“Last year, we pre-taped commercials for our local business owners, so we had about 30 businesses that we did free ads for. We also created a virtual business directory, We found that going virtual broadened our audience,” Warren said. “So we’re not only bringing back the virtual component, we’re expanding it.”

Next month’s inaugural event on July 9 will be held in a secret location, with an audience of invited guests watching the performances. The two other events — Aug. 13 and Sept. 10 — will be larger. The series will end with a big block party hosted by 4400 Cottage Grove. Each month will highlight a particular business corridor in Bronzeville, Warren said.

“We’ve been working with our businesses to get them ramped up and prepared, and they’re excited. We’ll be activating 47th Street in July, and 43rd Street in August,” Warren said. “We’re excited to help everyone fall in love with Bronzeville.”

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