Festival of the Lakes is seeing strong ticket sales this year from its first-ever DJ headliner, a popular rock band and one of the most streamed Mexican groups.

The popular summer festival at the Pavilion at Wolf Lake in Hammond has a lineup that includes the DJ Marshmello, the rock act Shinedown, the rapper DaBaby, the R&B group Blackstreet and the Mexican band Calibre 50.

Hammond plans to reconfigure parking to prevent the traffic jams that typically snarl Calumet Avenue after the concerts let up. People will park along 129th Street by Lost Marsh Golf Course so that there won’t be a crush of traffic along Calumet, Mayor Thomas McDermott said.

Hammond is expecting big crowds for the five-day festival celebrating Lake Michigan, Wolf Lake and Lake George. Previously known as August Fest, Festival of the Lakes will take place from July 17 through July 21 at Wolf Lake Pavilion at 2324 Calumet Ave. in Hammond. 

“It’s the first EDM music night we’ve ever done,” McDermott said. “We’ve been talking about it for years. You know, it’s sort of a perfect storm this year. We were thinking about doing country but we were competing against Country Thunder in Milwaukee and George Strait in Chicago, so we made a decision to go with EDM. It’s something we were talking about. We went with Marshmello. We wanted to get the biggest name in the business.”

Marshmello, known for wearing a white marshmallow helmet, is one of the highest paid DJs in the world and has played some of the biggest stages in the world.

“It’s going to be a great night,” McDermott said. “We’re already off to a strong start with ticket sales. It’s going to be a young crowd. I plan to be the oldest person in the entire audience.”

Marshmello will be playing at the Major League Soccer All-Star Game in Columbus, Ohio, the Sunday after playing Festival of the Lakes.

“That’s how we got him,” he said. “He was perfectly routed. We felt like we had a real good chance to get him because of where he was playing the next night, so we made the offer on Saturday. He put the math together and said this is a good offer. So he’s playing the fest. It’s awesome. It’s a real big name. It’s a real big name for us.”

Marshmello will play a ticketed show at 9 p.m. Saturday, July 20. The other four concerts are free but people can buy VIP tickets to get closer to the stage.

“We’re trying to stick to that format where Saturday would be a bigger concert than you would expect,” McDermott said. “We started last year with Lil Wayne, which was wildly successful and we expect Marshmello to be similar.”

Shinedown’s VIP ticket sales also have been strong, exceeding Hammond’s expectations.

“We track our sales year-to-year,” he said. “The one really surprising thing this year is Shinedown. Wow, wow. They are blowing it away. They are setting records for us. Shinedown is doing really well. Marshmello’s off to a very strong start. We’ve only been selling Marshmello for a couple weeks while we’ve been selling Shinedown for two or three months. I have a feeling a few weeks from now they’ll be in the same ballpark.”

Hammond considers bringing back such popular acts. The Festival of the Lakes for instance has hosted Limp Bizkit twice.

“They’ve experienced a resurgence,” he said. “They’re playing for huge audiences around the world now. They played Hammond five, six, seven years ago. We’re doing good with the festival. It’s a good tradition.”

Festival of the Lakes features a carnival midway, local food trucks, a beer garden, free boat rides, a fishing derby, fireworks and concerts from musicians from a variety of genres. Concerts typically include rock, rap, country, Latin and R&B music to offer something for everyone.

“It’s a balanced lineup,” McDermott said. “We expect Sunday to be really big on Latin night. It’s a really big act. A lot of people locally don’t know who Calibre 50 is but they’re a Mexican act and they’re going to be huge. We’re getting big ticket sales on that night as well. We don’t always get big ticket sales on Latin night but we are this year. They’re a big act.”

The former Clark High School parking lot is being redeveloped into housing and won’t be available for parking this year. So Hammond will have parking on 129th Street and run shuttles to the Pavilion at Wolf Lake.

“We’re closing 129th Street to through traffic and making 129th east of Calumet into a parking lot,” he said. “We’re going to shut it all down. It’s actually way bigger than Clark High School. We’ll have 10 shuttles going to the festival. It’s going to be something we’re pushing hard so people realize it’s different this year.”

It will be a one-way street where people will come in to park on Calumet Avenue on the Hammond side and leave on Indianapolis Boulevard on the Whiting side.

“The way we’re doing it this year is going to make it way easier to get out,” he said. “I got stuck in traffic last year for about 45 minutes leaving the Lil Wayne show and I vowed to change that. So after the show it’s going to be one-way streets leaving. You won’t be able to go two ways on Calumet anymore. You’ll leave the parking lot, go one way on Calumet and you’ll have to reorient yourself when you get away from the park. You’ll have to figure out how you’ll get around. We were letting people go both ways on Calumet after a show and it was total gridlock. So we’re avoiding that this show.”

All traffic will have to follow one-way directions.

“Even if you’re going up to Chicago, you’ll have to go south and then figure it out,” he said. “We just want to get people away from the venue. Then they can reorient their car. That way, there won’t be traffic jams.”

Parking is $35 and VIP tickets are $75.

For more information, visit festivalofthelakes.com.

Beer Geeks, one of the Region’s first, most beloved and most influential craft beer bars, closed after more than a decade and is being reimagined as a new concept.

The landmark 88-year-old castle-shaped White Castle in Whiting is coming down to be replaced with a newer, larger, more modern White Castle restaurant. 

A longtime staple in downtown Crown Point poured its last drink.

The longtime Westforth Sports gun shop is closing.

The Silver Line Building Products plant at 16801 Exchange Ave. will be shuttered permanently.

Brewfest in Highland will close in what’s been called “an end of an era.”

David’s Bridal filed for bankruptcy and could close all stores if no buyer emerges to save it.

The 88-year-old Whiting White Castle will be remembered with displays at museums in two different states.

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For years, the “millionaire’s club” met every morning in the corner booth of the historic 88-year-old White Castle at Indianapolis Boulevard and 119th Street in downtown Whiting. The landmark restaurant served its final slider Tuesday. 

One of Northwest Indiana’s most popular and enduring hobby shops is looking for a buyer after the longtime owner died.

J&L This N That Consignment Shop, a popular thrift store, closed in downtown Whiting after a run of several years.

A Calumet Region institution, Calumet Fisheries on the far South Side of Chicago, is temporarily closed after failing a city health inspection.

Just days after reopening after city health inspectors shut it down, Calumet Fisheries suffered a major fire.

Pepe’s Mexican Restaurant is no mas in Valparaiso.

Beer Geeks in Highland rebranded as B-Side Bar & Lounge and then closed within a few months.

Troubled retailer Bed Bath and Beyond will permanently close its Valparaiso location as it shutters more stores nationwide as it looks to restructure and shrink its footprint to save the struggling business.

Peoples Bank has shuttered its branch in downtown Hammond. 

Viking Artisan Ales will soon pour its last craft beer at its Merrillville taproom.

Old Chicago Pizza & Taproom is closing after 15 years at one of Northwest Indiana’s most prominent highway interchanges.

Walmart is closing its big-box store in Homewood.

The Chicago Auto Show, the nation’s largest auto show, returns to McCormick Place Saturday, running through Feb. 19.

Munster-based Land O’Frost, the packaged lunchmeat giant, is laying off 215 workers in Chicago and shuttering a plant it acquired two years ago.

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