Maywood's Brown to host first music fest

Basketball was Phoenix Suns guard Shannon Brown's ticket out of the streets.

Brown, a six-year NBA veteran, is now hoping to provide others their ticket out. He will be raising money for The Shannon Brown Foundation, which provides college scholarships to high school students, while hosting the inaugural Wood-Star Music Festival at Union Park in Chicago from Friday to Sunday.

The fest will include an R&B music lineup of Robin Thicke, Monica, Estelle, Dawn Richard and Fantasia, a celebrity basketball game and an old-school hip-hop lineup with Doug E. Fresh, Slick Rick, Rakim, MC Lyte and Naughty By Nature.

“It hurts me every time I hear about (the shootings in Chicago),” said Brown, who is from Maywood, Ill., and attended Proviso East High School. “That’s one of the reasons I want to bring something positive to the city. It affects me. It’s the same thing I’m from. Same streets I walked. Same people I come connected with. It definitely needs to stop. The scholarships are a way of getting out.”

Brown assembled the music lineup with his wife and R&B artist Monica, and their hope is to have the fest become an annual one and grow with time.

“If you’re going to do it, make it the biggest thing possible,” Brown said. “That’s what we’re trying to do. A whole bunch of great artists like my wife, old-school rap, everybody loves that. Coming where I’m from, sports and music are the two things that everyone wants to do in life. Hopefully, it gets to a Lollapalooza status.

“I’m definitely excited. It’s definitely surreal. It’s probably going to hit me real big when I see it.”

More information about the festival can be found at www.woodstarmusicalfestival.com.