The second rendition of Rockford’s fall concert is set to blow its first counterpart out of the water this Saturday, Oct. 8.
A product of local Rockford organizations like the Fire Auxiliary, City Council, Chamber of Commerce, and the Area Historical Society, Rocktoberfest II will feature food, music from high-caliber artists, and plenty of beer.
Similar to last year, the event will take place at Riverside Park, 8220 Elm Street. The event will be free and open to all area residents. City staff has been working through the week to prepare the park for the one-day only festival.
Attendees are welcome to take advantage of the free parking at the Rockford City Center Mall. Two busses will shuttle concert-goers from the Rockford Mall to the venue and back at no cost. The event will start at 4 p.m. and go until midnight.
Burgers, brats, and pizza will be for sale courtesy of the Fire Auxiliary. They also will be selling tickets for two 50/50 raffles and hosting a s’more bar.
As last year, the Rockford Historical Society is hosting the beer garden. Zany beertenders (yes, they will be in costume again) will be serving up beer and wine from 4 to 10 p.m. On the menu this year is white wine, red wine, Michelob Golden, Excelsior Big Island Blonde, and (of course) an Oktoberfest brew courtesy of Odell. Wristbands to get into the beer garden will cost $2 and will benefit the Fire Auxiliary.
Set times for the musical acts have also been listed.
The Shane Martin Band, a country-rock outfit whose band leader is also an Albertville native, is set to take the stage at 4 until about 5:30 p.m.
Kat Perkins, Rocktoberfest alum and top 5 finisher on NBC’s The Voice Season 6, will be on from 5:30 to 7.
Jesse Larson, fourth place finisher on last spring’s season of The Voice, Minneapolis native and guitarist of #MPLS, will perform from 7 to 8:30.
Chris Hawkey, the popular Twin Cities country performer and radio co-host of KFAN’s Powertrip Morning Show, will close out the evening from 8:30 to 10.
Neil Freeman of BobFM will emcee the concert.
These times are estimated. Unique to this year is a dual stage set-up, to speed up the change-out between artists, which Rockford City Administrator Dan Madsen said was “too long” last year.
Madsen saw additional benefits to the space: it book-ended the concert vicinity, giving the fest grounds a clear perimeter, and also created an opportunity for competitiveness between the artists.
“I know the artists are good and they’re competitive by nature,” said Madsen, “but I think that it heightens the level of interest, because you’ve got two bands going on both sides of you.”
While artists aren’t scheduled to play directly on top of the other, the stages allow the possibility for the artists to get creative with the beginnings and ends of their sets.
As of press time, the weather looks to be cooperative. Rocktoberfest is a rain or shine event, so attendees are strongly encouraged to dress for the weather. There will heaters under the park shelter and a bonfire area on-site for guests to warm up should the weather be unsavory.
Regardless of the weather, all organizations involved are excited for the Crow River community to experience this event.
“What started in 2015 as a small celebration of the 160th anniversary of the founding of Rockford has now grown to a day full of music and fun for Rockford residents and visitors alike,” said the Rockford Area Historical Society in a statement.
Proceeds from the entire event will benefit both the Rockford Area Historical Society and the Fire Department.