The power of two thunderstorms tried its best to put a damper on a day when one of the country’s biggest entertainers rolled into Hammond, yet its energy was nothing compared to that of the crowd at Wolf Lake Pavilion.
Ludacris, who performed a medley of his greatest hits to the delight of the audience, kept pace with the electricity and performed an inspired set at this year’s Festival of the Lakes.
Yet the concert was much bigger than just a musical performance, it was a powerful and positive message to the community. In the midst of all that is happening in National news, Hammond Police wore shirts saying “you matter to me,” as a message to concertgoers that each and every individual in attendance was important.
Mayor Thomas McDermott Jr., who kicked off “Luda’s” performance with a demonstration of his pitching prowess, was joined in his traditional t-shirt tossing by the Hammond Police in what McDermott called a celebration of unity.
“Tonight, we’re going to show Northwest Indiana what the City of Hammond is all about,” said McDermott. “We’re going to have a safe time tonight. We’re going to have a fun time tonight. And tonight is going to be all about peace and love.”
Mike Golden, Founder of the music group Golden, a collection of artists with a unique sound based on a fusion of rap, rock, jazz and a host of other genres, echoed the pride he had for his hometown.
“I’m from here, man,” said Golden. “I love this city, and I love that I get to do this here. I have been to at least ten of these festivals before.”
But the performance was more than just a reflection of the “now” happening in Hammond, there were also many reminders of the actions the city takes to build and grow their community during the year.
One of those reminders was Mark Snorton, a member of Hammond’s College Bound program, who was there this evening to gain some community service hours, and also take in all the excitement of the show.
“The program lets us volunteer at a number of things like this,” Snorton told IIMM. “Today, I got to bring ice to the vendors, take out the garbage, and every night at 7:00 I get to help with the concert spotlight.”
Even though what he was doing may seem like work to some, Snorton says being part of all the fun makes it seem like he’s not even working at all.
“I think I have been for almost twelve hours today, but it doesn’t even seem like any time has gone by today. It’s very awesome.”
In the end, though the fans came to see a Ludacris show, what they got was a great display of what the City of Hammond is really all about.