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Hammond's Festival of the Lakes to '100%' return this summer, may be extended to seven days
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Hammond's Festival of the Lakes to '100%' return this summer, may be extended to seven days

Hammond's Festival of the Lakes to return this summer

Nelly performs at Festival of the Lakes in 2019 in Hammond.

Festival of the Lakes, one of the Region's signature summer festivals, is returning to the Pav at Wolf Lake this year.

The free summer festival will take place July 14-18, Hammond Mayor Thomas McDermott announced on his Left of Center Podcast Friday.

Editor Marc Chase interviews Sarahi Unzueta, part of the "Hoosiers We've Lost" project.

"Obviously in 2020 we had a great lineup and great bands set," he said. "Obviously with COVID we had to cancel. I'm just here to tell you there's no way in hell I'm canceling Festival of the Lakes in 2021. We're having it 100%. If there's 15 people out there, we're having it. I don't care if there's only 15 people out there. I will be one of them."

McDermott said the entire lineup had been secured through verbal agreements. He said the festival could be extended to seven days if a country act signs.

"I don't know if we're going to have to wear masks or what the world is going to look like from July 14 to 18," he said. "But it's not 'are you having Festival of the Lakes?' Yes we are. We're finalizing our contracts with our acts and waiting for permission to announce."

The city of Hammond has landed many big names to play free concerts at Festival of the Lakes over the years, including Boyz II Men, Nas, The Roots, The O'Jays, Boston, Sublime with Rome, Nelly, Candlebox, Chevelle, the Charlie Daniels Band, Ludacris, Bush and Limp Bizkit, who blew out its amplifiers in the pouring rain. Last year, the popular rapper Snoop Dogg was supposed to headline the outdoor festival before the coronavirus pandemic canceled pretty much every large gathering last year.

Hammond had sold $30,000 worth of VIP tickets closer to the stage before the Snoop Dogg show had to be canceled.

"It would have to be a calamity if we're going to back off on this," McDermott said. "We're all systems go. I think this will be Hammond's first festival post-COVID."

Originally known as August Fest, Festival of the Lakes celebrates Hammond's big three lakes: Lake Michigan, Wolf Lake and George Lake. It's best known for free concerts in different musical genres aimed at drawing diverse audiences.

"Every band we have is going to apply to a particular niche in the Region and across America," McDermott said.

Festival of the Lakes also includes a midway with carnival rides, fireworks, local food vendors and a beer garden. Other festivities that week include fishing derbies, 5Ks and golf scrambles at the nearby Lost Marsh Golf Course.

The annual festival takes place at Wolf Lake Memorial Park, just across Calumet Avenue from George Lake and a short distance from the Lake Michigan lakeshore.

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Business Reporter

Joseph S. Pete is a Lisagor Award-winning business reporter who covers steel, industry, unions, the ports, retail, banking and more. The Indiana University grad has been with The Times since 2013 and blogs about craft beer, culture and the military.

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