Copernicus Center to host series of outdoor rock tribute concerts this summer, as Taste of Polonia Festival to return in 2022
by BRIAN NADIG
For the second year in a row the Taste of Polonia Festival in Jefferson Park has been canceled due to the pandemic, but the festival’s organizer, the Copernicus Foundation, is planning a 2021 summer outdoor concert series on Saturday evenings in the Copernicus Center parking lot, 5216 W. Lawrence Ave.
“Our foundation prides itself in hosting the biggest and oldest Polish festival in the U.S. that brings fans and community members the best entertainment and experience. Being that our festival hosts over 35,000-40,000 people each year the board of directors made the decision to cancel this year’s festival based on the uncertainty of the city of Chicago regulations and for the safety of our patrons.
“We are truly disheartened that we will be unable to host you all this year (at the Taste), but we are looking forward to seeing you back Labor Day weekend for the Taste of Polonia Festival in 2022! We apologize for any inconveniences this may cause and appreciate your patience, understanding and ongoing support for both the Taste of Polonia Festival as well as the Copernicus Foundation,” foundation officials said in a statement. The foundation was founded in 1971.
The concerts will be held on Saturdays, starting July 10, when rock cover band Modern Day Romeos is scheduled to take the stage at 6 p.m. and the Queen Explosion tribute band at 8 p.m.
Businesses in Illinois will be allowed to operate at full capacity as of Friday, June 11. However, the Taste takes at least six months of planning, and there was no way to know last winter — when COVID-19 cases were surging — whether social distancing requirements and other restrictions would have been in place over the Labor Day weekend, when the cultural festival normally takes place, foundation officials said.
In addition, the festival includes bands from Europe, and there were concerns about obtaining travel visas for any groups from Poland given that the issuance of visas in Poland is still on hold, said Kamila Sumelka, executive director of the Copernicus. Center.
The Saturday concert series will have a capacity of 2,000 each evening, and only the center’s parking lot will be utilized, unlike street closures which are implemented for the larger Taste, Sumelka said. The last outdoor concert is scheduled for Saturday, Aug. 28, but the foundation is looking at the possibility of also hosting some sort of entertainment for two days in its lot during the Labor Day weekend, but details have not been finalized, she said.
Tickets for each outdoor concert day are $10, and a bar and food will be available. Gates will open at 5 p.m., and performances are scheduled to end by 10 p.m.
Tickets can be purchased at www.copernicuscenter.org. In the event of severe storms, the concerts will be relocated to the center’s auditorium.
There will be no concert the weekend of July 30 due to the scheduled “Jeff Fest” arts and music festival at Jefferson Memorial Park, 4822 N. Long Ave., that weekend, Sumelka said.
The following is the full schedule:
July 10: Modern Day Romeos at 6 p.m., Queen Explosion at 8 p.m.; July 17: Wedding Banned at 6 p.m., Think Floyd at 8 p.m.; July 24: Bandoleros at 6 p.m., 7th Heaven at 8 p.m.; Aug. 7: Rok Brigades at 6 p.m.. The Atomic Punks at 8 p.m; Aug. 14: Breakfast Club at 6 p.m., Tributosaurus becomes Rolling Stones at 8 p.m.; Aug. 21: Semple at 6 p.m., Heroes Davis Bowie Tribute at 8 p.m.; and Aug. 28: Lance Lipinsky and the Lovers (tribute to birth of rock in 1950s and 1960s) at 6 p.m., Trippin Billies (Dave Matthews tribute) at 8 p.m.
“The Copernicus Foundation is looking forward to seeing its festival goers back next year to celebrate the 40th Taste of Polonia Festival but hopes to see you at our outdoor summer concert series this year,” officials said.