The celebration takes place on November 7.
Do you recall 1970? Short pause…. Woodstock took place the previous year. Richie Havens, Bert Sommer, Tim Hardin, John Sebastian, Melanie, Arlo Guthrie, Joan Baez and Country Joe took the stage with their acoustic guitars. Folk music had a strong presence in the American culture. One year later, the Two Way Street Coffeehouse opened their door in the basement of the First Congregational Church in Downers Grove, IL.
“The late 1960s and early 1970s were periods of some turmoil and a lot of mistrust between kids and adults, and church members felt that there was a need for a place that would promote intergenerational dialogue,” founder Dave Humphreys explained. “It was also a time when three kids hanging out on a street corner made people nervous, and the coffeehouse gave teens and young adults some place to go.
“We never tried to hide the fact that we were in a church. But we never tried to evangelize either.”
Launched with the help of Downers Grove community leaders and juvenile officers, the club initially provided legal and medical referrals and drug counseling assistance in addition to live entertainment.
Fashions have changed, folk music artists have struggled, but Two Way Street has endured, providing a venue for artists to share their voices with the audiences, every Friday evening.
While it is one of the best listening rooms in the country, Dave Humphreys is an active advocate of keeping the music alive. There are “sing arounds” almost every Saturday where local folks bring their voices, guitars, fiddles, harmonicas and more to gather together to play the songs of our heritage.
In a similar fashion, during the afternoon, the 45th anniversary will feature several rooms for folks to come together to share their love for and participate in music and dance. In the evening, there will be a concert featuring Red Tail Ring, Lambert and Walz, Sons of the Never Wrong and Mark Dvorak.