Brooke Reams & The Nice Things have been performing at Navy Pier for five years. We asked Brooke to reflect on her time performing at the Pier, and what the People’s Pier means to her.
What does the reopening of Navy Pier mean to you?
The re-opening of Navy Pier means the return to one of my absolute favorite performance venues where I get to connect with people from all over the world. I am so excited to be on stage performing with an audience. The energy and response from the audience is what live performance is all about!
As an artist/performer how has Navy Pier made a positive impact on your life/performance career? How many years have you performed at Navy Pier?
This will be my fifth year at Navy Pier. Performing at Navy Pier has made a huge impact on me. I meet new people every time I play here. And playing at an outdoor venue with such a large and diverse audience has been a learning experience for me as a performer.
How has Navy Pier provided you with the platform to succeed and achieve your dreams? What does that feel like? or How does that make you feel?
You NEVER know who is going to be in the audience at Navy Pier. I have been asked to play weddings and many different venues after performing at Navy Pier. It has been an extremely helpful platform for my band and me to get in front of so many different folks!
How would you describe Navy Pier to someone who has never been to the PIer before? What is your favorite experience at the Pier?
The Pier has everything, plus the lake! The view is always my favorite part of the pier. I have not performed anywhere else where I was able to look out at Lake Michigan while performing. Its spectacular!!!
My absolute favorite experience was when our band was playing, and the folks dancing on dance floor in front of us cleared an area for a very spontaneous breakdancing “dance-off” between a little boy who must have been 8 or 9 years old, and a man who was in his 30s. We have some of this on video and it makes me smile every time I see it.
As one of Chicago’s iconic cultural institutions – what does Navy Pier mean to you?
Navy Pier to me is art and entertainment. Whether it’s going to the theatre, the beer garden, or just people watching, there is always something to keep you entertained at the pier.
What do you enjoy most about performing at the Pier? How has it changed you as a performer?
The view! …and the diversity of the folks in the audience. Performing at Navy Pier reminds me to just have fun when I am performing. So many people are passing by or just hanging out and having a beer while we are playing that it is hard to be concerned about impressing one person or another. There are so many different types of people to entertain – literally from all over the world — and they are all there to just have a good time.
What is the best part of the experience you provide at the Pier?
Brooke and the Nice Things is all about making people want to dance or sing along. When we have a crowd standing, singing and dancing out on the pier, it’s such an amazing and rewarding experience for me and the rest of my band.
What is your hope for Navy Pier over the next 10 years?
That it keeps doing what it’s doing! — that Navy Pier continues to draw people from all over the world to experience the arts, amazing food, camaraderie and just plain fun!
Most people who visit Navy Pier do not realize the Pier operates as a nonprofit and depends on fundraising from donors, what would you say to encourage someone to make a small contribution to Navy Pier ?
Navy Pier has everything and is there solely for the guests. You can go to Navy Pier and spend a lot of money… or not spend a dime. Either way you will be entertained and have a great time. While many of the businesses and restaurants on Navy Pier are for-profit, most folks do not know that so much of the programming and the rest of what it takes to make Navy Pier available to everybody is funded through donations and fundraising.
I guess that I would tell them, “If you had a good time today, please make a small donation to keep it going…”