Rock The Badges to go virtual in 2020 & to feature Lake Effect’s ‘First Responder Brew’
by BRIAN NADIG
The eighth annual “Rock The Badges” fundraiser, usually held in the Jefferson-Portage Park area, is going virtual in 2020.
Plans had called for the music festival to be held in the 4000 block of North Milwaukee Avenue, but due to social distancing guidelines during to pandemic, it will be held virtually on Saturday, June 13, starting at noon or 1 p.m. and running through 10 p.m.
“It gives us something for people to be entertained a little bit, and it also helps raise funds … for the Chicago Police Memorial Foundation and Ignite the Spirit,” event organizer John Garrido said of the decision to hold an online festival instead of canceling or postponing it.
Since its first year, the festival has raised close to $80,000 for police and firefighter charities, Garrido said. He added that another goal of this year’s festival is to help local businesses which have been struggling due to the pandemic.
Lake Effect Brewing, 4727 W. Montrose Ave., has created “First Responder Brew” for the event, and local restaurants will be encouraged to have carryout specials which could include a six-pack of the special brew which Lake Effect’s owner Clint Bautz is making for the festival, Garrido said.
The festival will have about eight bands, including Northside, Southern Draw, Night Train, Vinyl Destination and Todd and the Ten Pins. There also will be some guest appearances, Garrido said.
The bands will be performing at Fort Knox Studios, 4255 N. Knox Ave., with the sound engineering being provided by Ayre Productions. There will be two performance rooms and one broadcasting room, with no more than 10 people in a room at a time — and significantly fewer than 10 at most times, Garrido said.
The festival will be raising funds through online donations and sponsorships, Garrido said.
“To play it on the safe side,” Garrido said, clearance for the festival was obtained from the city -with the support and help of aldermen Nicholas Sposato (38th), Gilbert Villegas (36th), Samantha Nugent (39th), James Gardiner (45th), Anthony Napolitano (41st) and Chris Taliaferro (29th) and Ariel Reboyras (30th).