The Blue Village teen club was a popular teen hang-out at 1 N. Cass Avenue in Westmont, Il. which featured The Cryan' Shames as their house band. It was formerly a grocery store before being renovated, and was owned and operated by Robert Chappelow. In teen clubs, the walls were routinely painted black, and graffiti was encouraged to a point. The lighting was a black light system which according to Jim Pilster " made it so hard to see, we literally had to feel our way down the hall to the stage". The black light system added to the gloss, which we now remember as the "Sixties" teen club scene.
The Blue Village attracted teens from as far away as Oak Park,and had a capacity of 1700 (and was knowned to have 3400!). Jim Pilster once said "We used to joke it was so crowded in there, if someone did pass out,at least they wouldn't hit the floor". In spite of the large crowds, there were initially very few disturbances, even though there was a mix of Hippies, motor cycle types, straight types, and greasers.
The Blue Village (Westmont), which opened in March,1967,had a members only policy. It's events were seldom announced on the radio by the Chicago DJ's who emceed the performances. This was the reason for the clubs longevity, by helping keep out the undesired elements which showed up with open memberships.
The clubs 300 original members were from York Community High School, which through referals resulted in more than 20,000 members. Their admission price being $2.00 a night.
The Blue Village first opened in March ,1966 in Lombard, Il., and was known to move each week, with it's new location being announced well in advance. It moved to the Westmont VFW hall in September, 1966 before it's final move to 1 N.Cass Avenue in March 1967.
Teenagers donated over $25,000 in the three year period it was open, and in one night $10,000 was raised for The Community Chest. The Cryan' Shames performed, and they had to run short shifts to get more people in.
Some of the local bands featured at The Blue Village were: The Flock, The Mauds, The Ides of March, Saturdays Children, The New Colony Six, H.P.Lovecraft, The Shadows of Knight, and of course their house band The Cryan' Shames, from Hinsdale,Il.
The majority of the teens in a typical week-end were from Hinsdale, Clarendon Hills, Westmont, Elmhurst, Lombard, and LaGrange. The Blue Village's popularity was due to their audience prefering bands that played music you could dance to, and they used The Cryan' Shames so often because of this .
The Cryan' Shames, featuring Tom Doody as lead vocalist, was the first band to perform at the club, and The Blue Village was also the first club The Cryan' Shames performed in.
By late 1969 the Blue Village's name was changed to The Library. The kids kept calling it The Village, so they changed the name back to The Blue Village. Towards the end band prices proved prohibitive, and The Blue Village's license renewal request was denied due to the club attracting outside of area teens.
Numerous police problems proved to be the club's undoing, which resulted in The Blue Village's closing on February 28, 1970. The Cryan' Shames was the final band to perform there.
By the early 1970's most teen clubs were gone due to the higher costs to hire bands, and legal questions involving liability, but "The images live on, locked away in the collective memory banks of those who remember...."
"When the 'burbs rocked",
Laura Hill, Chicago Tribune,
"Westmont Blue Village to close shop Saturday",
James Quinn, Chicago Tribune,
Blue Village was a legendary teen club in Westmont with its heyday during the late 1960's. When the equally legendary record shop Record Utopia became available, we decided to rename it in honor of Blue Village. It is a family business run by Rick, Merikay and Andy. Andy had worked at Utopia and its predecessor Remember When. Rick had been a customer at both starting in 1983.
Blue Village Vinyl