En Vogue performs free show at McMillen Park
McMillen Park will host day of music
The annual Community Summer Celebration to highlight the city’s south side is back in vogue.
Following a couple years off due to the pandemic, the McMillen Park event, organized by the Fort Wayne Commission on African American Males, is planning for a big day when R&B icons En Vogue stop by Aug. 6.
“What better way to bring people together than good music and food?” Celebration Chairman Andre Patterson said.
The fun starts at noon and runs until 9 p.m., ending with a “special surprise,” according to Patterson.
Restart with a big name
Getting such a big name for the Celebration was important to Patterson, knowing a lot of people in the community have suffered in recent years.
“This year has been one of the most important years, because it’s the first time since COVID, and we know a lot community members have lost family with COVID, or they’ve been separated and haven’t been able to fully get back together,” he said.
Because the organization has had to cut back its budget, and with costs on the rise, Patterson said sponsors were integral.
“A lot of people can’t afford to pay for concert tickets,” he said. “The arts are big, and music is big, so I really appreciate all the people that come together to make this happen, all of the funders, because without them, it wouldn’t be possible.”
Along with En Vogue, other musical acts include Sweetwater All Stars, members of Fort Wayne Community Schools’ b Instrumental program, and G-Money.
Drawing a crowd
The strong musical lineup is key to drawing a crowd, but many are there to see old friends and family.
“The families come, and they’re bringing their kids, so they’ve having little family reunions,” Patterson said. “Now, all the space has pretty much taken up. The last one, before COVID, we had 15,000-20,000 people.”
Its those kinds of numbers that Patterson and his organization like to see.
“We try to get fathers more engaged in their children’s education, and we also try to highlight the different community organizations,” he said. “But we really just try to bring families together and the community together.”
And that means the entire Fort Wayne community.
“We want all the community to come out to celebrate, to bring the city together,” he said. “We want to show En Vogue that we are a together city, and we’d like to have a good crowd for them.”