Apart from some rain that interfered with the start of Schaumburg's Septemberfest on Aug. 31 and then forced cancellation of the final musical performance on Sept. 1, the three-day event was considered a success by village officials.
In fact, the weather was so good on Monday that crowds exceeded those normally anticipated during and after the accompanying Labor Day parade, Special Events Coordinator Roxane Benvenuti said.
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One of the most successful changes during this year's event was the attempt to prevent long gaps in the parade by steps such as having the village board start early on its march to hand out candy to spectators, she said.
For the most part, festival attendance was on target with an estimated 80,000 visitors a day, but a total of about three hours of sales were lost due to the rain on Saturday and Sunday, she said.
Saturday's performance by Steve Augeri, the one-time replacement singer for Journey, was canceled by the rain, but the impact was mitigated by the new idea of booking a double act that night, Benvenuti said. Fran Cosmo, former replacement lead singer for Boston, performed before the rain arrived.
While neither Augeri nor Cosmo are the kind of original artists Septemberfest has boasted in the past such as Pat Benatar or Eddie Money, neither are they cover artists. Benvenuti pointed out that original Journey singer Steve Perry is retired and not available, while original Boston lead singer Brad Delp is deceased. Booking their actual replacements in their respective bands is seen as the next best thing.
"We've found over the years people want to hear music they know and have a good time," Benvenuti said.
Indeed, the size of the crowd that showed up in anticipation of hearing both singers Sunday indicated that it was the songs themselves they wanted to hear, she said.
The weather-related cancellation of Augeri's performance makes him a prime candidate for consideration for next year's Septemberfest if the availability and finances can be worked out again, she said.
For the third year in a row, local fan favorite 7th heaven closed Septemberfest with a Monday night performance. Longtime followers of the band got an unexpected treat when its former lead singer Keith Semple agreed to fill in for his replacement, who had left 7th heaven just a week before, Benvenuti said.
"They draw so well," she said of the band's ongoing appeal. "They pack the audience on Monday night so well, and they're agreeable with our budget."
Nevertheless, the Septemberfest Committee does like to keep the event fresh and intends to find a different Monday night act next year, Benvenuti said.
The committee reconvenes in November for a final critique of the event just before the financial report is presented to the village board. The intention is always to break even.
After another break in December, the work for the following Septemberfest begins in earnest in early January and carries on all the way through Labor Day itself.