The building that currently houses Pollyanna Brewing Company in downtown St. Charles has a rich musical history, most notably being the home to Chord on Blues and River Rockhouse.
The owners of Pollyanna seek to reconnect to that musical history through the launch of a new indoor concert series next month. Pollyanna has teamed up with music company Tunes for a Minute, which is comprised of musicians Colin Ryan and Jason Perez.
Pollyanna has worked with Tunes for a Minute in the past year on different charity events for those impacted financially by the pandemic.
“They’re going to work with us to enhance the music program as a whole,” said Pollyanna co-founder, president and CEO Ryan Weidner. “We’ll have music every Friday and Saturday night, full bands, inside. And those shows will be without a cover charge. And then every two to three months, we will create a larger event where we potentially have a cover charge.”
The first show will take place from 7:30 to 10:30 p.m. June 4 and will feature Chicago jazz band Guru Tonic, whose members have toured and played with the likes of music legends like Buddy Guy and Ramsey Lewis.
“The concept when we moved into that space was definitely to bring a music program back,” Weidner said. “Yeah, we’re a brewery and yeah we’re a distillery, but a branded music program was always part of the plan. We needed to find the right partners to be able to help us run it and help us find talent.”
Pollyanna opened in the space at 106 S. Riverside Ave. in November 2019.
“All of us remember Chord on Blues,” Weidner said. “I’ve lived in town since 2008 and it was still open when I moved here. Everybody remembers the music scene that Chord on Blues built. If we could build it back to half of that, that would be a huge accomplishment.”
The pandemic threw the local music scene in disarray last year. Perez and Ryan knew they had to step in and help.
“With COVID hitting and realizing that our industry was in trouble, we decided to put our revenue and goals on hold to give back,” Perez said. “And the best way we know how to give back is to provide high quality entertainment. That led us to Pollyanna, because they were open to working with us. They were open to hosting our fundraising events, and it turned into, ‘Hey, how can we make a big deal out of local talent throughout the year.’ ’'
Ryan said they hope Pollyanna’s concerts will only add to the area’s vibrant music scene.
“We’re very focused on creating something special in the downtown St. Charles area,” he said. “Arcada did a good job of letting people know that there was music in this area. What we want to do is let people know that there is a lot of good music in this area.”
Pollyanna’s new music series will feature local, regional and national acts.
“The problem across the board is upward mobility,” Ryan said. “There’s a lot of places where really good, solid local acts never have an opportunity to play in front of or play with really good national and larger regional acts. As we grow our network of venues, we could create opportunities for local artists to play fun shows at good places and also give them an opportunity to play with bigger acts and at fair market value too. We’re respecting what a musician should make when they go in and play.”
For a schedule of upcoming shows, go to Pollyanna’s website at pollyannabrewing.com/pages/st-charles.