Blues, Brews & BBQ goes livestream Aug. 29

Rotarians on the Blues, Brews & BBQ Committee were as disappointed as fans after announcing in April their pandemic-prompted decision to cancel this summer's three-day fest in McHenry, which would have been the ninth annual.

But today they're hoping those fans will click in for some virtual music, fun and camaraderie as Blues, Brews & BBQ goes livestream from 6 to 10 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 29.

Viewers will be able to catch the livestream on the Blues, Brews & BBQ Facebook page, the McHenry Area Rotary Facebook page or on via YouTube.

Concert videographer Kevin Schwartz of Milwaukee-based Instrumental Motion will film and coordinate the livestream, featuring performances by the John Todd Band and Matt Hines and the Midnight Howlers.

There will be no charge to click in, although organizers will encourage viewers to bid on auction items, buy 50-50 raffle tickets or make a donation at, said Don Tonyan, event chairman.

"Blues, Brews & BBQ has been Rotary of McHenry's chief fundraiser since 2012," he said. "It's raised hundreds of thousands of dollars that have gone toward scholarships, food pantry needs, veterans' organizations, health care nonprofits and much more."

The year of doing things differently also prompted conversations with managers at premier event sponsor D.C. Cobb's-McHenry - which will be a livestream watch location featuring special barbecue items and craft brew pairings - and with Scott Dehn of the McHenry Outdoor Theater.

What at first was envisioned as encouraging fans to come watch the livestream projected onto the theater's giant screen later morphed into a separate but intertwined event.

In conjunction with members of the Blues, Brews & BBQ Committee, Dehn has planned a Blooze/Blues Brothers Bash to benefit Rotary.

Gates will open at 4:30 p.m. Food will be available to purchase from a BBQ'd Productions trailer beginning about 5 p.m.

The Blooze Brothers will perform at 7:15 p.m. A segment of the livestream will be projected onto the big screen about 8:30 p.m. And the Blues Brothers movie, celebrating its 40th anniversary this year, will start about 9 p.m. Cost to attend will be $40 a carload, with tickets available at the gate on a first-come, first-served basis.

Due to social distancing requirements, the property currently accommodates 420 cars, Dehn said, so arriving early is advised.

"Aug. 29 is going to be a lot of fun," said Mike Lehman, president of the newly formed McHenry Area Rotary, a merger of the Rotary Club of McHenry and the McHenry Sunrise Rotary. "Whether folks watch from home, stop by D.C. Cobb's or are lucky enough to claim a spot at the Outdoor, we hope everyone has a great time and continues to support Rotary in our endeavors."

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