Blues legend Buddy Guy was the headliner with singer and guitarist Todd Mohr (from Big Head Todd and the Monsters) opening on Sunday, Aug.7, the final day of the Out of Space concert series’ fifth season at Canal Shores Golf Course.

Together, big-name headliners such as Guy, Lucinda Williams and Elvis Costello drew about 14,000 people to the four-day event, said Courtney Stevens, who worked the box office. “We had around 4,500 people on Friday and Saturday nights, and Thursday night was around 2,500,” Stevens said. “Tonight, we had around 2,500.”

From left, the Killheffers, the Williams, the Sorensens and the Negans enjoy the wait for the Out of Space concert gates to open on Sunday. Credit: Heidi Randhava

For some in Sunday’s crowd, it was a night out as well as the event that brought them. “I’ve lived here a long time and I’ve been to many of these shows. I had tickets for all four nights,” said Lee Negan, as he waited for the gates to open at 5 p.m.

Vicki Carly said she and her husband have been attending the concerts “since the beginning. We love being outdoors and it’s close to home. The music is good, and the food is good.”

The concerts, she said, have been memorable. “One of the first performers we came to see was Mavis Staples. Fabulous.”

Bob Sorensen, a 35-year Evanston resident, wanted to enjoy a night out with friends. He said, “This is my third time coming to an Out of Space concert, and my first one this year.”

Buddy Guy, the legend

But for others, it was the Grammy-winning man himself – George Guy, best known as Buddy – who brought them to the park. The singer and guitarist is not only a Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee but a multiple Grammy Award winner and a recipient of the Presidential National Medal of the Arts.

Guy’s guitar playing has influenced generations of artists, including Jimmy Page, Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton, Keith Richards, Stevie Ray Vaughan and John Mayer. On Sunday, Guy was accompanied on stage by bluesman Bobby Rush.

Headliner Buddy Guy performs at Canal Shores Golf Course. Credit: Heidi Randhava

“We wanted to come for Buddy Guy. I’ve been a fan from way back,” said Judy Killheffer, a fourth generation Evanstonian.

Killheffer was there with her husband as well as her brother and sister-in-law, Terri Williams, who drove more than 70 miles from Harvard, Ill. “When I found out about the concert, I said, ‘We’re going!’” And she said, she called the Killheffers.

Bill Sieck and his wife attended Out of Space for the first time. Credit: Heidi Randhava

Out of Space first-timer Bill Sieck said, “This is a great venue, and it’s nice out.” But he came for the blues, saying, “[It’s] not my first time seeing Buddy Guy, but that’s who I’m here to see.”

Still others had a different reason for being at the beautiful venue. Evanston resident Bill Traynor has been to Out of Space before. “Two nights ago, I [went] to see Elvis Costello,” he said, but added, “I love Buddy Guy – I’ve seen him three or four times. But Todd Park Mohr is who we came to see.”

Out of Space organizers – the same people who run the SPACE music venue at 1245 Chicago Ave. – will be programming another four-day outdoor event Sept 1-4 in the parking lot of the Temperance Beer Co., 2000 Dempster St., which will feature indie, hip-hop, Americana and world music.

Heidi Randhava is an award winning reporter who has a deep commitment to community engagement and service. She has written for the Evanston RoundTable since 2016.

Najiah Osborne is an intern with the Evanston RoundTable. Currently a student at Augustana College, she graduated from ETHS in 2021.