Fresh off performing in front of tens of thousands at Lollapalooza, trap legend Gucci Mane and fellow Atlanta-based rapper T.I. will perform a concert next month at Hammond's Wolf Lake Pavilion, which the city hopes to position as a regional major outdoor concert venue.
Gucci Mane, known for hits "Black Beatles," "I Get the Bag," and "Solitare," and T.I., whose chart-toppers include "Whatever You Like" and "Live Your Life," will play at 7 p.m. Sept. 21 on the stage at Wolf Lake Memorial Park at 2324 Calumet Ave. in Hammond. The city of Hammond hopes to draw concertgoers from across the greater Chicago area and turn a profit from the show.
"This is two major acts," Hammond Mayor Thomas McDermott Jr. said. "We're getting into a higher realm at Wolf Lake, dealing with bigger and bigger acts. Gucci Mane just played the main stage at Lollapalooza with probably 50,000 people watching. He was just at Lolla and now he's coming to Hammond."
Hammond brings in a variety of rappers, rockers and country musicians at its annual Festival of the Lakes, but they often were at the height of their popularity a decade or so earlier.
"These are artists who are currently relevant," McDermott said. "This is quite the coup. We're going to have two major acts on the same night."
Hammond also is in negotiations to bring in "a well-known rock act" the following night.
After recent improvements, including a pedestrian bridge over Calumet Avenue and a huge video sign, Hammond hopes to turn Wolf Lake Pavilion into a Ravinia-like music festival. The venue is capable of seating at least 15,000 people.
"Ten years down the road, we hope it's a big outdoor concert venue," McDermott said. "We're trying to interest the LiveNations of the world. At Festival of the Lakes, the president of LiveNation was there to see the setup for the Nas concert."
Unlike Festival of the Lakes, the city will charge for the concerts but will not charge for parking. The all-ages show will cost $30 for general admission, $60 for a VIP ticket and $100 for a diamond VIP ticket.
"People say we've just been getting rappers, but we want to bring in big-name artists in rap, rock and country," McDermott said. "We want it to be a real concert venue and could make some more improvements."
Hammond now has fencing that makes it easier to funnel people through while maintaining security and could encircle the entire venue in a bowl.
"It's a major project, but we could make it first-rate," McDermott said. "If we can get 20,000, then we can get the Elton Johns of the world."
Between the Wolf Lake Pavilion and The Venue at Hammond's Horseshoe Casino, the city is positioning itself as a major entertainment destination, especially after the demolition of the Star Plaza Theatre, McDermott said.
For tickets or more information, visit wolflakepavilion.com.