(Copyright 2005 by the Chicago Tribune)
Putting on a charity music festival is hard work.
Just ask Ron Prokaski, a lead organizer for Friday and Saturday's Riverview Music Festival, which benefits the Neighborhood Boys and Girls Clubs of Chicago.
“There's been a lot of tension, a lot of screaming back and forth, a lot of frustration,” said Prokaski, who had never organized a music festival before. “We work through it. Overall, it's been a lot of fun.”
The show features performances by local favorites including Poi Dog Pondering, Mr. Blotto and a reunited Freddy Jones Band, along with Louisiana's Subdudes. Prokaski was enthusiastic about the lineup, saying the event took nearly a year of constant effort to pull together.
“Early on we were talking to the BoDeans, Big Head Todd, Train,” he said. “You go in there and you plead a good cause, and you realize there's 20,000 people calling everyday with the same causes. You realize you don't really matter.”
Well, maybe not to everyone--but some bands seemed to have more heart than others.
Prokaski singled out The Freddy Jones Band as being particularly gung-ho about the event. In fact, he said, one of the biggest difficulties in signing the band--which hasn't played together for about five years--was getting them to accept a paycheck for the group's set.
Freddy Jones guitarist Wayne Healey said the group cut its fee “tremendously,” and will use the money to cover travel and living expenses.
“To help out under-priveleged kids, it's a greater cause than just ourselves,” Healey said. “We would have been happy playing a bar for 50 of our friends, but this gig made sense.”
Only time will tell if more shows will come out of this brief, Pink Floyd-esque reunion, according to Healey.
“We haven't even seen each other in such a long time,” Healey said, noting that the band's members live everywhere from Georgia to California now. “We're just taking it one show at a time.”
The festival will also include children's activities earlier in the day. “We're going to have inflatable jumping jacks, an inflatable obstacle course,” Prokaski said. “At four, we start to taper that off and let the grownups have more fun.”
Four o'clock, you say? Huh. That's funny: That's when the Cathy Richardson Band takes the stage.
It's fitting Richardson would play between the kids' activities and the adult sets. Her career, rooted in pub rockers such as the alcohol-soaked song “Drink, Drink, Drink,” has recently dipped into children's entertainment with her vocals and narration appearing on the “Curious Buddies” DVD series for Nick Jr.
Despite this genre straddling, her Saturday set will eschew the kids' material. Asked what fans should expect, Richardson said, "Just rocking. Just rocking the adults."
The festival will have to vie for attention Saturday with the Feeling Better Than Everfine Festival at Charter One Pavilion on Northerly Island, featuring O.A.R.
Granted, there's no contest as to which show will attract a bigger crowd. Prokaski just hopes to raise some money for the club with the scrappy music festival.
“We just pulled together what we could and went with a handshake on the rest,” Prokaski said.----------
The Riverview Music Festival
When: 5-11 p.m. Friday, noon-11 p.m. Saturday
Where: DeVry University Campus, Western Avenue and Roscoe Street
Price: $15 in advance, $20 day of show. For tickets visit www.riverviewmusicfest.com or ticketweb.com
© Cash Rich Records