Elk Grove concert series partnership could boost Rotary Fest attendance
Elk Grove Rotary Fest, traditionally held over Father's Day weekend, has been the unofficial kickoff to summer festival season in the Northwest suburbs.
But timing of the mid-June, five-day festival has also sometimes meant bad weather, resulting in sparse crowds and revenue.
"I remember sitting out there with a winter coat on, shivering," said Mayor Craig Johnson.
So, starting next year, Rotary Fest will move to the fourth weekend in July, and is set to get a major boost from the popular Elk Grove Village Mid-Summer Classics Concert Series, which will help kick off the festival Thursday, July 21.
The village similarly holds its first summer concert during the Lions Club's annual Fourth of July festival on the same grounds, next to Elk Grove High School.
"We've lost our civic groups over time," Johnson said. "We don't have the Jaycees anymore. We used to have Kiwanis. Rotary Club and Lions Club are the last we have left. We're still trying to keep them viable because they do so much for Elk Grove."
As one of the first festivals during Phase 5 of Illinois' reopening plan, Rotary Fest this past June had large crowds and was lauded by organizers and the mayor as a success. But discussions among club members and the village board about making the festival sustainable had been taking place before then.
Last year, the fest was canceled amid the pandemic, and the year before it was hampered by cold and rainy weather.
Under the tentative 2022 schedule set by Elk Grove, the first summer concert will be held Monday, July 4, at the Lions Club fest. The second will be Tuesday, July 12, at the traditional town center location next to the village hall and the library. That's followed by the Thursday, July 21, concert at Rotary Fest, before the final show at the town center Tuesday, July 26.
Five shows are scheduled in 2023, 2024 and 2025.
After the big concert to start Rotary Fest, the fest will have local bands on stage throughout the weekend, Johnson added.