Skip to content
July 6, 2015 / jeffnward

I love Grand Victoria concerts!

I was done! Finshed! Kaput! It was over! I’d had enough! In the inimitable words of the almighty Eagles, I was “already gone.”

Oh sure! We did bear wonderful witness to the late, great B.B. King at the Paramount in Aurora and there was no way I was gonna miss 12-string guitar virtuoso Leo Kottke at the ECC Arts Center, but as far as outdoor concerts went, the only way you could get me there was to drag me kicking and screaming the entire way.

The venues weren’t that great, general admission is essentially an adult game of cutthroat musical chairs, the sound systems frequently sucked, the younger crowds didn’t know how to behave, and getting in and out if ‘em made Theseus’ ordeal in Crete look like child’s play.

So, without a second thought, I gave it all up cold turkey. Sure! That choice limited my performer choices, but it was something I could most certainly live with.

But then a funny thing happened on my way to seeking more solitude! The Grand Victora Casino started hosting concerts at the adjoining Festival Park in Elgin. So last summer I decided to break my self-sworn vow and go see Marshall Tucker and Deep Purple.

And those two events were so good that my lovely wife and I have already gone to this summer’s GVC concert series a number of time. George Thorogood, Heart, and Boston concerts with Huey Lewis and the News coming up to be exact!

So what brought about this change of heart and shifted concert consciousness? The GVC managed to eliminate everything I’d grown to hate about outdoor concerts. And in doing so, they proved it really isn’t that hard to get it right. So let’s go through what I love about these show point by point!

1. Parking

There’s nothing like paying $2,724 for a ticket only to be hit with a $30 parking fee the second you arrive at the show. Then all that gets you is the far end of the farm field which offers no real hope of getting home before January.

Ah! But at the GVC concerts, parking is always free and there’s plenty of it. If you can’t find a spot at the Casino lots, there are plenty of municipal parking lots and garages well within walking distance. And because all that parking is reasonably spread out, there aren’t the kind of bottlenecks the plague so many other outdoor venues.

2. Ticket Prices

Did I mention paying $2,724 to get into some of these summer concerts with subpar sound systems? In a strange, but welcome twist, when it comes to the GVC, you can forget about filling out that second mortgage application. All of the reserved seats (only the lawn is general admission) are under a hundred bucks and there ain’t a bad one in the house.

For those bottom line budget kind of folks, lawn seats are a mere thirty bucks and, unlike other venues, you can actually  see the stage from those cheaper seats.

3. Concession Prices

The same thing goes for concession prices. There’s no need to stop at a payday loan store before the show. From food to drinks, it’s all reasonably priced and the lines move like lightning.

4. Older Audiences Behave Better

Don’t get me wrong! I’m not sayin’ folks shouldn’t have a good time. But I can do without the fights, the various and sundry alcohol induced hijinks, and the generally inconsiderate behavior that plagues so many other outdoor concert venues. Call me crazy, but I firmly believe these shows be a bit more enjoyable than your average military survival training.

GVC crowds “get it” to the point where even this solitary soul enjoys being at Festival Park.

5. Security

These fine folks seem to have a firm grasp on the notion that it ain’t the Stones at Altamont. As a result, they’re actually quite friendly and helpful, and when it comes to keeping the aisles clear and ensuing that no one’s view is unduly blocked, I don’t think I’ve seen a more efficient group of people.

6. The EPD

Even if you exit with the herd at the most crowded GVC concert, the efficiency experts at the Elgin Police Department get you out of the parking lots and on your way home in no time. No sitting around and swearing in traffic necessary!

After the sold out Boston show, my wife and I were back in Geneva in a scant 20 minutes. What more could you ask for?

7. The Show Times

I don’t know about you, but I ‘m getting up there and staying up late is pretty much off the table. Thankfully, the GVC concerts start at 7 and 7:30 which means you’re back home by 10:30. Even I can handle that. As for the more adventurous souls, those reasonable show times leave plenty of time to enjoy some of Elgin’s finer dining and drinking establishments.

So suddenly, thanks to the Grand Victoria, instead of dreading them, I’m actually looking forward to outdoor concerts again. Who’d a thunk it?

I hope to see you there soon!

July 6, 2015 / jeffnward

This is the July 6, 2015 edition of Left, Right and You!

The Smiling Conservative and I want to thank State Senator  and 8th District Congressional contender Tom Cullerton for coming into the studio today. Larry may disagree, but why is it that only the Democrats seem to have any political common sense these days?

Tom CullertonWe covered a lot of ground today so please listen to the show. When you consider Tom’s ascent from Villa Park Board Member to State Senate to a Congressional run, all you 8th District listeners should give him some serious consideration.

Thursday! State Rep and Aurora Mayoral Candidate Linda Chapa Lavia! Until then…

July 6, 2015 / jeffnward

Start the 2016 political season with Left, Right and You!

Is it that time already? Yes it is folks! The candidates are warming up for those all-important 2016 races and we got one of ’em on Left, Right and You this morning! Illinois 23rd District State Senator and 8th District Congressional contender Tom Cullerton joins us in the studio.

cullertonWe’ll talk about why he’s running, what he hopes to accomplish, and whether anyone willing to run for Congress should have to endure a full mental evaluation.

That’s Left, Right and You, Mondays from 9 to 10 a.m. and Thursdays from 3 to 4 p.m. with the Smiling Conservative, Larry Jones, and me, the Surly Liberal, on WRMN AM1410. Don’t miss it!

July 2, 2015 / jeffnward

This is the July 2, 2015 edition of Left, Right and You!

And the Smiling Conservative and I covered it all!

We agreed on the South Elgin Confederate flag kerfuffle. We disagreed on various aspect of the looming Illinois government shutdown. And we had mixed but similar feelings on the former Cook County prosecutor who suggested bringing the National Guard into the south and west sides of Chicago.

But why listen to me when you can listen for yourself!

Monday! State Senator and Congressional candidate Tom Cullerton will join us for the entire hour. Until then…


July 2, 2015 / jeffnward

It’s always 82 degrees and sunny on Left, Right and You!

Today! The Smiling Conservative and I will tackle a number of things, including, but possibly not limited to:

  1. The South Elgin Confederate flag flying kerfuffle. You might be surprised what this Curmudgeonly Liberal thinks about it.
  2. Why do addle-minded Republicans always think that a temper tantrum is good governance? Bruce Rauner going for a government shutdown less than 200 days in office will not work out well for him or the Illinois GOP.
  3. Time permitting, in today’s Tribune, former Cook County First Assistant State’s Attorney Robert Milan called for the National Guard to occupy the South and West sides of Chicago. After all, it worked so well in Baghdad. I actually thought his column was satire at first!

rebel-flagThat’s Left, Right and You, Mondays from 9 to 10 a.m. and Thursdays from 3 to 4 p.m. with the Smiling Conservative, Larry Jones, and me, the Surly Liberal, on WRMN AM1410. Don’t forget to call in at 847-931-1410.

June 29, 2015 / jeffnward

This is the June 29, 2015 edition of Left, Right and You!

Both the Smiling Conservative and I want to thank George Rawlinson for coming up with a great show idea! So today we did our independently hand-craft Top Ten Most Effective Local-ish Politician list. And there were some fascinating surprises.

Top tenBut you’ll have to listen to the show to find out just who we picked!

Oh! And by the way, we love it when listeners come up with interesting show ideas so feel free to contact us here, on facebook, or at

Until Thursday…

June 29, 2015 / jeffnward

Let Left, Right and You be your Monday morning sunshine!

Today! Spurred on by friend of the show George Rawlinson, Larry and I will be listing our top ten effective local(ish) active Illinois politicians. And we want you to call in at 847-931-1410 with your nominations too.

EffectiveWe’re talking about leadership, the ability to get things done, the capacity to play well with others, and an implicit understanding of the political process and the patience to use it wisely. And our independently crafted lists have been hermetically sealed in a number 2 mayonnaise jar on Funk and Wagnall’s back porch since noon yesterday.

That’s Left, Right and You, Mondays from 9 to 10 a.m. and Thursdays from 3 to 4 p.m. with the Smiling Conservative, Larry Jones, and me, the Surly Liberal, on WRMN AM1410. For all of you list lovers like me, this is the show for you! See you there!


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 38 other followers