Bands, Brews & BBQ brings music, food, fun to Petersen Park Aug. 18-20

  • Emcee Greg Easterling introduces Jimmy Nick during Blues, Brews & BBQ 2022. Now called Bands, Brews & BBQ, the McHenry Area Rotary fundraising fest returns to Petersen Park Aug. 18-20.

    Emcee Greg Easterling introduces Jimmy Nick during Blues, Brews & BBQ 2022. Now called Bands, Brews & BBQ, the McHenry Area Rotary fundraising fest returns to Petersen Park Aug. 18-20. Courtesy of Cynthia Wolf | Wolf Wordsmithing

Updated 8/14/2023 6:31 PM

With nine amazing bands, 11 food vendors and libation choices galore, this year's Bands, Brews & BBQ is set to wow crowds venturing to Petersen Park Aug. 18-20.

Gates will open at 4:30 p.m. Friday, Aug. 18, 3:30 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 19, and 11:30 a.m. Sunday, Aug. 20. Closing will be 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 6 p.m. Sunday. The park is located at 4300 Peterson Park Road, McHenry.


"We're excited to be back up to three bands each day versus seven total last year, and to offer a wider variety of music," said Diana Mark, music lineup chairwoman for the McHenry Area Rotary fundraising event. "Our hours are extended a bit on Sunday, too. It's going to be a fantastic three days."

Cost to attend is $10 daily for tickets purchased by Aug. 17, or $15 at the gate. A three-day pass is available for $20 by Thursday, Aug. 17, or $25 at the gate.

VIP passes are available for $75 each, and include entry to the VIP tent where light fare will be served and beverages offered. Visit by Aug. 17 to take advantage of discounts.

The fest formerly known as Blues, Brews & BBQ still maintains a strong blues foundation with acts like Ivy Ford, Jimmy Nick, Cadillac Groove, Wall of Denial, Kevin Purcell & the Nightburners and John Todd in the mix.

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Fans of alternative rock and Nashville sounds also will find music to love with the addition of Too Fighters Chicago, a Foo Fighters tribute band, The Simple Remedy, which plays Americana and soul, and Two Beer Tommy, a country and rock band.

Full lineup details are available at

Food choices will include mouthwatering barbecue offered by Big E BBQ, Little Rock Stock Café, Rolling Smoke BBQ and Trainwreck Smoking Co. Also at the park will be Churros Y Chocolate, K & M Concessions/Dr. Vegetable, My Funnel Truck, Perk 'n' Pickle, Riverside Chocolate Factory, Smash'd and Your Sister's Tomato offering everything from delectable desserts to gourmet sandwiches, crafted smash burgers and wood-fired pizza.

Adding to the fun, barbecue fans will be invited to vote for their favorite vendor in three categories: Best Pulled Pork, Best Ribs and Best Sauce. Visitors' choice awards will be distributed at the end of the fest.

Thirsty fest-goers may choose from among many soft drinks as well as three domestic beers, nine craft brews, red or white wine, Twisted Tea, White Claw Black Cherry, Dogfish Head strawberry lemonade vodka, or any of three Carbliss canned cocktail options.


The fest also will include barbecue and golf, sports and car lovers' raffles. Home Depot of McHenry has donated a Gravity Series 560 digital charcoal grill and smoker valued at $500, which will be raffled along with about $100 worth of rubs and sauces donated by 3-zero-1 Boys BBQ Supply of Johnsburg, as well as a $50 gift card from Hub Market.

Laskowski Ace Hardware and B & B Auto donated a gas grill, which will be raffled along with a $50 Hub Market gift card.

Another lucky raffle winner will receive a Bears jersey signed by McHenry native Robert Tonyan, a tight end who joined the Bears roster this spring. That same raffle winner also will get a Blackhawks package worth $800 donated by Elgin Recycling. The package includes four lower level seats for the Jan. 9, 2024, match against the Edmonton Oilers at the United Center, plus two parking passes and entry to the Ketel One Club.

Also in the offing: foursomes at McHenry and Chapel Hill country clubs as well as Boone Creek Golf Club, plus a social membership at Bull Valley Golf Club; and an auto detailing package from Castle Autoplex, Buss Ford, Sunnyside Co. and Ride 'n' Shine Car Wash.

Raffle tickets will be $5 each or five for $20, available on the fest grounds. The winner will be notified at the end of Bands, Brews & BBQ.

Event co-chairman and McHenry Area Rotary President Don Tonyan said that due to generous sponsors covering fest overhead, 100% of Bands, Brews & BBQ proceeds will go to Rotary charities. Kids in Need of McHenry County, the McHenry Riverwalk Shoppes, Rotary Secret Santa, the Family Health Partnership Clinic and Rotary Youth Leadership Awards are among recent grant recipients, he and event co-chairman Denis Buch said.

"Not only is this fest a blast, but it has seriously great outcomes," Tonyan said. "Attendance is key, so we hope everyone will make plans to spend one or more days out at Petersen Park with us this Aug. 18-20."

Members of the McHenry Area Rotary Club meet regularly at noon Thursdays at Buddyz Pizzeria on Green Street, McHenry.

Anyone interested is welcome to attend, but please note that due to fest preparations, there will be no meeting Aug. 17. For general club information, email to

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