rockford illinois entertainment guide
Date: 07/23/2005
Bling Bling at The Getaway - Hip Hop Night For Kids
by Lisa Palmeno

Rockford has approximately 28,000 students in its school system. Outside of school-year programs, kids complain that there's not a lot of places for youths under 21 year of age to hang out. Rockford Park District's The Getaway has just the thing for youngsters who like to get their groove on without getting a headache.

Sunday nights, from 7-10 p.m., 400 kids assemble at The Getaway on Christina Street for an evening of hip-hop, rap, basketball, and hanging out with their friends. Four hundred is the maximum number of kids allowed in, and the gates are closed when the event reaches capacity. Heavily chaperoned by park district police and the adults who coordinate the event, young people are free to mill about, hang out, and have fun without hassles and worry.

When I arrived on the scene on July 10, kids had found their places on the multi-tiered wooden structure that resembles a giant treehouse. All were peering down on the performers who were at ground level in front of the main stage. Groups assembled throughout the evening, rehearsing and preparing for their turns on stage. With microphones, electronic background tracks, and something to say, the groups each performed for the crowd.


After checking out the stage area, I moved on to check out the rest of the scene. I bumped into NaTeya Barbary, Brianne Unger (junior high students) and Jalese Kidd, who will attend Auburn in the fall. Kidd said it was her first time at the Getaway's Hip Hop Night, commenting, "It's cool I don't like to dance in front of people, but the music makes me wanna dance in front of somebody."


Barbary said it was her first visit also, and that she came to the event with Brianne's cousin. When asked about what she thought of the event, Barbary told, "It's krump. We can dance. It's like a little kids' club for us."

"They don't have the martinis, though," added Kidd.


Marcus Felton said it's  his second year at The Getaway and says that, "We get live."


P.J. Butler explained his reasons for attending hip-hop night: "We rap, dance, get girls' numbers, everything. It's fun!"

Adam Croft, age 12, said he showed up to help his mom sell snacks at the concession stand and shoot hoops, but says his favorite part it that "Nobody's on us."

Back at the performance area, things were getting tight. They were getting down to the last four acts of the night, and I barely got a photo shot of the  young lady in pink (right) whose dance routine was up next. Her shirt said simply "Bling Bling."

Entry to the event is $2. For information, call (815) 987-8845.

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