Dave Matthews Band Caravan to perform at old steel plant

July 6, 2011 3:54:21 PM PDT
Music will soon breathe new life into the site of a long-abandoned steel plant along Chicago's lakefront.

This weekend, Dave Matthews Band Caravan will headline the first event at the old U.S. Steel South Works site at 79th and lake. The festival goes from July 8-10.

Crews are working non-stop to create a main stage and two other stages. The venue, called Lakeside, sits on 600 acres next to Lake Michigan from 79th to 87th streets.

"This will be a happening site. We took an old steel mill and greened it, so it's all about bringing it back to a different use," said Jerry Mickelson of Jam Productions.

Mickelson thought the unused property would be a perfect for a David Matthews festival.

"When the Dave Matthews Band called and said, 'we need a site in Chicago,' I immediately thought of this, 'cause I've had it in the back of mind for many years, especially when they took down the steel mill.

Jam Productions and a number of politicians were instrumental in developing the ambitious project.

The site, which has ample parking and great views of the skyline and the lake, is 10 miles from downtown.

The steel mill closed in 1992 and crippled the community. Many people believe this new venue will be a boost for the area and Chicago as a must-see, tourist attraction.

"This means development?on the South Side of Chicago in ways we haven't seen before," said Ald. Sandi Jackson, 7th Ward.

Developers plan to build homes, retail and commercial businesses, parks and a marina. They say the project could take 40 years to complete for environmental issues.

Jam Productions says the lakeside stages will be ready this weekend for the Dave Matthews Band Caravan Festival.

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