Get ready to dance, eat at Blues, Brews & BBQ festival

  • Jimmy Nick performs during the 2018 Blues, Brews & BBQ at Petersen Park in McHenry. The fest returns this weekend, Aug. 20-22.

    Jimmy Nick performs during the 2018 Blues, Brews & BBQ at Petersen Park in McHenry. The fest returns this weekend, Aug. 20-22. Courtesy of Cynthia Wolf, Wolf Wordsmithing

Submitted by Cynthia Wolf
Posted8/16/2021 12:06 PM

The stage is set for fun Friday through Sunday, Aug. 20-22, as top-tier musicians prepare to perform at the 10th annual Blues, Brews & BBQ festival at Petersen Park, 4300 Petersen Road, McHenry.

The McHenry Area Rotary coordinates the fest to raise money for local and global causes, including Advanced Placement testing grants for area high school students, Rotary Secret Santa, food assistance to those in need, grants to veterans' groups, and funds for ShelterBox USA, ImaBridge Africa and PolioPlus. The latter is Rotary International's ongoing effort to eradicate polio from the planet.


This year's special anniversary event boasts an all-star musical reunion of fan favorites from throughout the fest's history, said Diana Mark, lineup chairwoman.

Kicking things off at 5 p.m. Friday, Aug. 20, will be the John Todd Band, a local group that has launched the fest for each of its 10 years. Headlining on Friday night will be Kevin Purcell and the Nightburners at 7:15 p.m.

Saturday's lineup includes Howard and the White Boys starting at 4 p.m., Jimmy Nick at 6:30 p.m. and The Blooze Brothers at 9 p.m. Ivy Ford kicks things off at 1 p.m. Sunday, with Toronzo Cannon taking the stage at 3 p.m.

Gates open at 4:30 p.m. Friday, 3:30 p.m. Saturday and noon Sunday. The fest closes at 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 5 p.m. Sunday.

"These bands are all tried, tested and enthusiastically approved by our fest fans," said Mark. "I cannot wait to welcome them back."

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Also returning this year will be longtime emcee Greg Easterling, a radio air personality and member of the Chicago Blues Hall of Fame.

As its name implies, there's more than great music to be had at Blues, Brews & BBQ. Craft and domestic beers will be available, along with food choices from a half dozen barbecue vendors, along with purveyors of burgers, sandwiches, tacos, ice cream, churros and more.

A complete list of vendors and other event details can be found at

"We are grateful to all involved with our fest this year," said Don Tonyan, event co-chairman since the fest's inception. "From the sponsors to the volunteers, the bands, vendors and on down to the businesses that donated raffle items, we have been blessed. Our fest just would not be what it is without them, and we look forward to seeing a great turnout of appreciative fans."

"Giving back to the community is what it's all about," added Denis Buch, also co-chairing. "The more people who attend, the more we'll be able to achieve with the proceeds raised."

Tickets are $12 for single-day admissions at the gate; free for those 12 and younger. Other ticket options include a three-day pass for $20 or a VIP pass for $50. The latter includes four beer or wine tickets, a barbecue dinner ticket, run-of-fest admission, and entry to the VIP tent, open Friday and Saturday only.


Blues, Brews & BBQ also will feature raffles, including a 50/50; an Out on the Town package with gift cards from Grinders Ale House, Jexal's, Uprooted, Miller's Diner, Kim & Patty's, Plum Garden, Antioch Pizza, McHenry Downtown Theater and Volo Museum; a Duffers' Delight package featuring foursomes from Chapel Hill, Hawk's View, McHenry Country Club and Boone Creek, plus a social membership at Bull Valley Golf Club; and one to two booze cart raffles.

For all except the booze cart raffle, tickets will be $1 apiece or six for $5. Booze cart raffle entries are $10 each. Most winning entries will be drawn at 3 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 22. Raffle ticket buyers need not be present to win.

The booze cart raffle sales are set to continue through mid-September, with winners' names to be drawn Sept. 17. All winners will be notified with a phone call.

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