I had the pleasure of attending a game during the World Champion Chicago Cubs first homestand of the year, and like the past few years, things are looking a little different around the old ballpark.
And it's not just the championship banners hanging besides the scoreboard.
This year marks the debut of The Park At Wrigley, a gathering space in the shadow of the stadium. There'll be plenty of baseball activity during games, but there are also other plans -- including music -- for the open air plaza that looms under a huge jumbo tron and a brand spanking new building.
The plan is to use the space as a multi-purpose cultural center. From the park's own website, we can expect:
From well-known headliners to local treasures, the Park at Wrigley offers space for concerts and musical events. Throughout the year, the Park at Wrigley plans to host an array of artists the entire community can enjoy — from pop to folk bands, classical musicians and every sound in between.
The Old Town School Of Folk Music is a presenting partner, so that should give some indiciation of what to expect in terms of talent -- they have a knack for quality in their programs.
What an exciting morning at @parkatwrigley's Opening Day! Check out all the happenings at parkatwrigley.com - we can't wait for more performances by our amazing ensembles, teaching artists, performers, and #Wiggleworms at #ParkAtWrigley starting in June! #oldtownschool #openingday #ribboncutting #chicago
Seems like this could be a cool space for smaller bands to play pre-and-post show for the many concerts (this year includes Tom Petty & The Hearbreakers and Dead & Company).
Another indication of quality... check out some early food and film programming at the park.
The first event will be a two-day "Craft and Cuisine" celebration May 13-14. More than 40 craft beer and wine tastings and tastings from Cafe Tola, Crosby's Kitchen, Girl and the Goat, Honey Butter Fried Chicken and other Chicago restaurants.
The movie schedule sponsored by The Music Box is free and some will indeed feature pre-show music and other entertainment starting around 7pm. Screenings to being at sunset. Here's the schedule.
June 14: Ferris Bueller’s Day Off
June 28: The Jungle Book
July 12: Rookie of the Year
July 26: Ghostbusters
August 9: The Sandlot
August 23: To be announced
While these types of events certainly brings a different character to what once was the "old, weird" Wrigleyville, you can't ignore the impact that Cubs have had on the area, and hopefully partners like Old Town School and Music Box can keep a true local flavor to the proceedings.