Feeling the love every week at summer concert series in downtown Aurora

Hip hop artist Etha performed at Wednesdays at the Plaza on July 20 in downtown Aurora. Photo by Brittanie Gossett Henison.

Hip hop artist Etha performed at Wednesdays at the Plaza on July 20 in downtown Aurora. Photo by Brittanie Gossett Henison

By Marissa Amoni

The deadline to fill out the second part of the public survey for the updated downtown master plan just passed. It was fun to put in my own input and add comments on what I think would be good for downtown.


When I filled out the survey, I couldn’t help noticing that we already have many of the things that were suggested as improvements. We have public art sculptures and water features. We have an art scene and several community events. I couldn’t help thinking how we just need people to enjoy what is happening downtown.


A couple of days later, I headed downtown to get ready for Wednesdays at the Plaza, a free summer concert series at Millennium Plaza on Stolp Avenue that runs through the end of August. My friend, Tony Scott, and I organize the series.


The evening performers were already getting warmed up. It was a sunny and warm, early summer evening and excitement was in the air. It was our first and only hip hop night of the season. The featured musicians were Etha and L.U.V.E.M. with DJ Felon-E and Moze Ella hosting.


As the first full summer of Wednesdays at the Plaza, we tried to get a variety of genres each week in an effort to reach the entire community.


Tony reached out to Etha early on since we knew him through the local music scene and mutual friend and musician, Andrea Dawn. He accepted without hesitation and recruited his family of hip hop musicians affiliated with Savage Pen Productions.


L.U.V.E.M. also known as Bryan-David Smith started off the evening with amazing positive energy. He got the crowd going before “King Etha” took the stage. It was so powerful to see two Aurorans spreading love through their music.


People came out. There was a large crowd that filled the plaza along the Fox River. All ages and colors were together enjoying music.


The love continued via social media after the concert.


Laurie Mickelberg commented on Facebook that “Last night in Downtown Aurora, I was present for the making of history. A historical event that was memorable, amazing, and so NECESSARY to the very survival of what remains of our kindness, compassion, gratitude, and love toward our fellow man… It was so beautiful and humbling to see the rainbow of people rockin in the crowd – all joined together in their humanness by the incredible poetry of these talented black men.”


Mickelberg noted that their poetry “expressed love, peace, understanding, gratitude and kindness.”


Etha posted on Facebook: “I still can’t find a way to fully express my gratitude to not only the ones involved with the event yesterday, but to everyone that supported.”


Moze Ella, who hosted the event, wrote, “So much diversity in the crowd today. So much love from the people just enjoying the show… It’s a great honor to host such a historical hip-hop event downtown Aur City that’s never been done. Let’s continue to ‪#‎PushTheCulture‬.”


L.U.V.E.M. aka Smith admits that performing at Wednesdays at the Plaza “wouldn’t seem like a big deal. But my fellow artists (specifically hip-hop artists) can appreciate and understand how MONUMENTAL this show was.”


I’ll echo Smith’s sentiment. What might seem like no big deal – a town offering free concerts – can indeed be a very big deal.
I’m excited about what might come out of a new master plan for downtown, but it’s really the people that make the city great.


In Aurora, we’re lucky to have a diverse group of people who appreciate each other. 


This story was originally featured in the print issue of The Voice, a weekly publication, on July 27.

Wednesdays at the Plaza features local artists each week at Millennium Plaza. Small Shiny Things, Aug. 10; Town Band, Aug. 17; Greg Boerner, Aug. 24; Santos Ramos, Aug. 31. 

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