Rock Around the Block makes its return
And no carp.
From 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 24, North Main Street will be filled with the sounds of Rock Around the Block, the annual festival that's a celebration of music, community and the burgeoning energy of Janesville's downtown.
This year's event is a kind of victory celebration for downtown businesses that had to deal with record flooding that shut down North Main Street and sent carp swimming past their front doors.
Businesses were forced to close, some for more than a month. Flooding caused tens of thousands of dollars of damage, ruined equipment and stock and basically gave everyone the blues.
But even with all of those challenges, business owners are still ready to throw what has become downtown Janesville's biggest party.
"They're bouncing back," said Matt Schreier, owner of the Looking Glass, 18 N. Main St. This year, organizers have two unofficial goals: First, to bring flood tourists back into downtown for something other than carp. Second, to make sure people know that Rock Around the Block is a family event.
Why are the tots important?
"We don't want it to become just another music and beer fest," Schreier said.
Firehouse Park will serve as a children's area and will feature an inflatable jumping tent, clowns and a variety of activities for kids.
The Janesville Fire Department is bringing down equipment for kids to see up close. Other kid-friendly events include appearances by the Milwaukee Brewers racing sausages and McGruff the Crime Dog.
More than 18 food and drink vendors will set up along the street, providing a kind of "Taste of Janesville." Restaurants include the Speakeasy, Famous Dave's, Helgesen's Harpos on Eleven .
Of course, it's the music that will lure most people.
The lineup includes bluegrass, country, cover bands, jazz, blues, funk and, of course, polka.
Some of the local favorites include the Blue Olives, the Cash Box Kings, Jefferson County Bluegrass Band, the Pipe Circus, the Zweifel Brothers, Pat McCurdy, Rainbow Bridge and Junkmale.
All that energy, food and fun should showcase downtown's treasures—and its potential, said Sarah Kopp, co-owner of Perfectly Plus, a consignment clothing store that opened in August 2007.
Although Kopp's store isn't an official part of the event, she's helping out anyway.
"No matter what, we all need to work together," Kopp said.
Kopp's shop was closed for almost a month because of the flooding. During that time, she was at the shop almost every day, trying to limit the damage.
"While I was down there, I heard so many people say, ‘This is so neat, I haven't been downtown in a long time,'" Kopp said.
She hopes people retain that feeling and return to downtown to support the businesses—and to simply have fun.
Rock Around the Block music schedule, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 24.
Main Street Saloon, 117 N. Main St.
-- 12:30 p.m.: Cash Box Kings, blues band dedicated to carrying on the spirit of the 1940s and 1950s post-war blues sound mixing in some Mississippi delta style blues.
-- 6 p.m.: 2RED, song-writing team with pop/rock/ alternative style.
-- 8:30 p.m.: Garrett Ramquist Band, singer-song writer. Rock-pop-alternative originals.
Jazz Stage, corner of Milwaukee and Main streets
-- 12:30 p.m.: Cool Jazz.
-- 1:30 p.m.: Lucky Dog.
-- 4 p.m.: Pipe Circus, five-piece band that describes itself as a hybrid of the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Police/Sting, Sublime, and Sly and the Family Stone. Add some punk, funk, reggae, rock and original song writing and you've got the Pipe Circus.
-- 6:45 p.m.: Bop Ritual, jazz, blues and funk.
Main Stage, Wall Street
-- 11 a.m.: Bel-Cats, classic hits.
-- 1 p.m.: PINE, original rock. The group describe itself has having "high energy performances, driving guitar riffs and unmatched vocal harmonies."
-- 3:30 p.m. Rainbow Bridge, popular and energetic local cover band.
-- 6:30 p.m. Blue Olives. One of Wisconsin's best jam bands. A seven-piece band that plays a mix of blues, rock, funk with a hint of jazz.
Quotes Bar & Grill, 24 N. Main St.
-- 12:30 p.m.: Thank You Charlie Brown, originals and covers in its own style.
-- 2:15 p.m.: Club Bud, cover band that plays oldies, classic rock, surf tunes and the best of new songs.
-- 5:30 p.m.: Junkmale, original rock.
-- 8:30 p.m.: Population 4, originals in a mix of rock, pop and funk.
Wiggy's Saloon, 9 N. Parker Drive.
-- 12:30 p.m.: Rockin' Horse.
-- 3:15 p.m.: Stoned Pony.
-- 6 p.m.: Frank & Co.
Americana Stage, Main Street Saloon parking lot.
-- 11 a.m.: Zweifel Brothers, polkas, waltzes and fox trots.
-- 1:30 p.m.: Jefferson County Bluegrass Band. Group includes some of the most experienced bluegrass veterans in Southern Wisconsin.
-- 4 p.m.: Gary McAdams Band. Bills itself as a "cover band, not a copy band." Plays everything from "Haggard to Hendrix."
-- 6:45 p.m.: Mountain Lions International, reggae, mon.
The Looking Glass, 18 N. Main St.
-- 12:30 p.m.: Prairie Smoke Bluegrass Band, traditional bluegrass with some originals.
-- 3:15 p.m.: J.R. Jammers.
-- 6 p.m.: Manberries, cover band with humor and an attitude.
-- 8:30 p.m.: Pat McCurdy. Now legendary funny guy and singer-songwriter.
Legends Tavern, 11 N. Main St.
-- 12:30 p.m.: Shawn Sharp, Elvis tribute artist.
-- 3:30 p.m. Scrapyard Daddys, plays Johnny Cash, Carl Perkins, Beatles, Elvis, Stray Cats, "but with a sharp twist."
-- 6:45 p.m.: Short Leash, rock, classic rock and country.