Hosting Blues Brothers Con 2022

A Blessed Event

by Cameron Taylor

“Are you the police?” “No ma’am, we’re musicians.”
More than 30 years after its release, how do you organize a convention for one of Chicago's most iconic films.

It was a movie event over forty years in the making! Off the back of our hugely successful NASCAR activations, TimeZoneOne was approached by two gentlemen in black suits, black ties, black sunglasses and black trilby hats.

We're On A Mission From God

“Are you the police?” “No ma’am, we’re musicians.”

Ok, so it wasn’t quite like that. It is fair to say that we were beyond excited to be involved in the first ever Blues Brothers Convention Aug. 19-20 in Joliet, Illinois.

Blues Brothers fans will know that the movie opens with Jake Blues (played by John Belushi) being released from Joliet Prison. So, it made sense for this iconic landmark to host this incredible event.

What Does A Convention Need?

There’s a lot of un-sexy, logistical planning that goes into turning a good event into a great event — such as lanyards, posters and signage so people know where to find the stage, food or the toilets. We’ve got heaps of experience bringing events to life, so we know exactly what’s involved.

From movie screenings, to musical performances, the convention weekend was packed with entertainment. To showcase the upcoming festivities to the world, we designed a program booklet, using supplied material and advertising, that helped visitors navigate the prison grounds and enjoy all of the fun scattered throughout.

Finally, there’s the real fun stuff. We set out to create a series of Instagrammable moments, so people could literally picture themselves as part of the movie. 

Creating Movie Moments

One major asset was already available to us — The Bluesmobile! Having seen how popular this replica movie icon was at the Enjoy Illinois 300 NASCAR activation, we knew it would be an even bigger hit here.

For a movie built from iconic scenes, which ones are the most iconic? A few came to mind for our creative team, as they designed larger-than-life backdrops for visitors to pose alongside and share on social media.

95th Street Bridge TimeZoneOne Blues Brothers Con 2022

The 95th Street Bridge

What a start to their ‘Mission from God.’ Already on the run from the police, Elwood proves to Jake just how powerful the new Bluesmobile is by safely making the (hilariously unrealistic) jump across the raised bridge.

Little Rock Church

Jesus H. tap-dancing Christ, I have seen the light!

The Reverend Cleophus James, played by the iconic Godfather of Soul James Brown, instills the holy fervor in the brothers to get the band back together. The dancing congregation works itself into a fever pitch until we see people performing (equally hilariously unrealistic) jumps and flips by the church’s stained glass windows.

For safety reasons, we weren’t encouraging back-flipping behavior, but we did welcome star-jumps in-front of a ‘stained glass window’ of our own.

Blues Brothers Con 2022 TimeZoneOne Little Rock Church
Bobs Country Bunker Blues Brothers Con TimeZoneOne

We play both kinds of music; Country and Western! For a movie all about rhythm and blues, this tribute to Chicago’s Midwestern roots is one of the more popular scenes from this movie. A big sign, a few hay bales and some chicken wire, and people were all too ready to crack the whip. RAWHIDE!

Blues Brothers Con 2022 TimeZoneOne Car Chase

The Car Chase

Upon its release in 1980, The Blues Brothers held the record for the highest number of cars wrecked during filming, at 103. So, who wouldn’t want to have their photo taken with this incredible police car pileup?

The Return of the Blues Brothers?

Around 6,000 people came to this inaugural convention, with the festival spurring a number of PR wins during the buildup and after the event.

Many people would love for Blues Brothers Con to become an annual event, including Joliet Area Historical Museum Executive Director Greg Peerbolte, and Judy Belushi, widow of original Blues Brother John Belushi and one of the people who envisioned a Blues Brothers performance at the Old Joliet Prison. Whether or not the Blues Brothers make another comeback remains to be seen. We’re just thrilled to have been part of this blessed event.

Are you organizing an event? Want to capture the attention of the media and the public?

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