Hot Fest highlights Rockford’s hottest music

Concerts for Charities was founded by Doug Furze and Mike Coulahan because they had a friend with throat cancer. It was friends responding to the frightening reality of their friend, Rick Lakin, facing a deadly disease without insurance.

The group developed a fund at the Community Foundation of Northern Illinois to manage the funds raised. There have been several benefit concerts, including Lonnie Brooks at Lyran Park two years ago. Now, a very small group of amazing volunteers are bringing some of Rockford’s hottest bands to the stage Aug. 11-12 to raise money for Hospice.

Doug Furze shared his personal affinity for Hospice, which developed while Furze was losing his mother to cancer in 1999. Furze has enlisted the help of many friends to make this event happen.

One of the friends is Kathy Ryan, who has worked tirelessly to secure sponsors, solicit donations and procure salsa-making competitors.

The Hot Fest committee has also been grateful for the opportunity to work with the many collaboratively-spirited friends made along the way, including Cyndie Hall, director of Tourism, Culture and Special Events for the City of Rockford, and Carol Wright with On the Waterfront.

Acoustic and “red hot” sets are scheduled on two stages, including: Blunatics, (Furze’s band), Dan Voll’s Combo Loco International, Holland Zander with Sara Abramowitz, The Stevee Nix, Ryan Swanson Quartet and many more. Saturday night concludes with the Blooze Brothers.

Hot Fest runs 5-11 p.m., Friday, Aug. 11, and 10 a.m.-11 p.m., Saturday, Aug. 12. “I want a big crowd so we made sure it’s affordable for families to come on down and enjoy music and the salsa competition,” Furze said. Two-day admission is $5; kids younger than 12 are free. For more info, visit

From the Aug. 9-15, 2006, issue

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