The History of the Bolingbrook JOYFEST

The Bolingbrook JOYFEST was founded by local residents, Leroy Brown, Christen Parker and Pastor Brown. Prior to its inception in 1998, the Bolingbrook Christian community sponsored an event called Gospel Fest. The Gospel Fest began as a small indoor concert that was held at Jane Addams Middle School, located in Bolingbrook. The event leaders reached beyond the Bolingbrook community, pulling in Ministries from Chicago, Joliet and other towns.

The event allowed Christians within the Bolingbrook area to unite under one banner. Support across the community increased as well. Over the next several years the decision to expand the festival evolved into what we know today as JOYFEST.

In 2000 the committee consisting of Leroy Brown, Delorise Ivy, Christen Parker and others, began planning for the first JOYFEST and the decision to take the festival outdoors was birthed. For the committee, timing to launch JOYFEST could not have been better. The decision to build an outdoor Performance Arts Stage was approved. The Bolingbrook Performance Arts Center became the new home for the annual JOYFEST celebration.

Each year the event has grown and continues to attract people from all over Bolingbrook, the Chicagoland area, and Indiana. Participation and support from local businesses, food vendors, and media have partnered with the event organizers, and continue to be steadfast with their support. Most important, Bolingbrook Mayor, the Honorable Roger Claar, the Village Trustees, and Village of Bolingbrook have and continue to play a vital role. Their Commitment to the overall success of JOYFEST affirms and acknowledges the role of the Church and the Christian Community within Bolingbrook.

Sheldon Watts

Chairman & Performer Coordinator

Kimberly Owens

Kids Zone Coordinator


Tom Fink

Security Coordinator & Treasurer

Pastor Dave Ludwig

Event Emcee

Jeremy White

Vendor Coordinator

Pastor Bernard Kendrick

Event Emcee

Pastor Chris Hudson

Event Performer Coordinator

James Farrell


Rev. Ruth Newell

Clergy Liaison & Stage Coordinator


Marilyn Webster

Give-A-Way Prize Coordinator

Raquel Mitchell

Volunteer Coordinator


Nate Garofalo

Fundraising Coordinator & Social Media Coordinator