Rock The Badges Fest coming to Milwaukee Ave at 6 Corners
by BRIAN NADIG
For the first time this summer, the seventh annual “Rock the Badges” music festival, whose proceeds go to first-responder charities, is relocating to Milwaukee Avenue in the Six Corners business district.
Plans call for Milwaukee to be closed between Irving Park Road on the south and Cuyler Avenue on the north on Saturday and Sunday, July 20 and 21. In the past 6 years the festival, which was previously held at the Copernicus Center, 5216 W. Lawrence Ave., had raised close to $50,000 for the Chicago Police Memorial Foundation and the Ignite the Spirit Fund.
“We are bringing a street festival back to Six Corners and will be introducing new people to Six Corners,” said City Newsstand owner Joe Angelastri, a founding member of the Six Corners Chamber of Commerce, which is co-sponsoring the event. From 2011 to 2017, a barbeque festival was held on Milwaukee, which required main street closures.
Chicago police lieutenant John Garrido, the festival’s organizer, said that the chamber approached him about holding “Rock the Badges” on Milwaukee and that it appeared to be a win-win situation for the festival and for the chamber.
“It is really something for the community, … and we want to make it more of something for the neighborhood. We’ll be bringing the 500 people (from past festivals) and reintroducing them to Six Corners,” Garrido said. He added that having the festival on the street should significantly increase attendance and that there will be easy access for fest-goers to visit the storefronts on the affected stretch of Milwaukee.
The music lineup for the festival has not been set but will include bands that have “ties” to first responders, he said. That association could include a band member who is a police officer or firefighter or the son or daughter of a first responder or a musical group who has a history of supporting police and fire organizations, he said.
The lineup also will include “bigger draw” bands that are popular at street festivals, Garrido said.
In the past, the festival featured bands such as 97Nine, Todd and the Ten Pins and Northside.