Celebrate Fourth in Rockford
By Molly Fleming, Staff Writer
This year, the Fourth of July Committee has spent long hours figuring out what would make the Independence Day celebration in Rockford enjoyable for all. Besides the usual stuff like the WXRX synchronized fireworks, the committee came up with an array of bands and entertainment to complement the days events.
Sponsored by Lorden Distributing/Miller Lite, Rockford Health Plans, Hammertime Sports, Rock Valley College, Kelley-Williamson Mobil, The Power Connection and Continental Coupons/Power Pac, the SkyConcert SkyBox show will feature all the bands that collaborated on the Gathering of the Tribes compilation CD that was released recently. This Rockford collection includes The Heavils, Mulligan Stu, Harmony Riley, Ernie Hendrickson, and 420, all of which are well-known and popular for different reasons in the area.
Recently, The Heavils signed to Metal Blade Records and has established a name in the community as the leading heavy rock n roll group. Headlining most local festivals in the past and future, the group will perform following the fireworks display. Ernie Hendrickson is a respected musician/singer/songwriter and all-around great guy, who is best known for heading The Seed Band in the past years. His guitar work is held on a pedestal by many other musicians, and he never fails to impress new audience members. Mulligan Stu has been around for a long timethat is, a long time for the punky-rock genre that they seem to fit into. I remember checking them out back in high school when hordes of young girls used to crowd around the meager stage and scream their little heads off. It was a good time then, and its a good time now. 420, the band with the dangerous name, has gotten the reputation for being the main jam-rock n roll group in the area over the years, and will complement the eclectic sound of risen stars, Harmony Riley.
All performers have survived through the changes and rotations that occur so often in the local music scene. They have persevered through the altering attitudes toward what is hip and continue to perform, record and support Rockford by offering their services to events like the Fourth of July celebration. All groups at one time have performed at least one of the following venues: On The Waterfront, Groove Walk, Block 5 Party and First Night.
The concert at Davis Park will begin at 5 p.m. and run until midnight, with a 30-minute intermission for the synchronized fireworks and WXRX music. Its only $5 to get into Davis Park for the show, but make sure to go downtown earlier in the day to catch the regatta.
This will be the second annual Rock River boat race, and will include Hydroplane boat races, wakeboard demonstrations and displays. The race begins at 11 a.m. and runs until 4:30 p.m., along the river near the Riverview Ice House. Immediately following this event, the B103 Duck Derby will begin at 5 p.m. at the same location. To benefit Family Counseling Services, attendees can adopt little plastic duckies (like the kind you played in the bubble bath with a kid) for $5 each or $25 for six. The grand prize winner will receive $5,000, and other prizes will be awarded.
Music, ducks for charity and boats along the Rock River make for a truly Rockfordian Independence Day in the downtown area. For more information, visit www.y95.com, http://www.july4duckderby.com, and www.wxrx.com.