No RISE Up ‘Splash into Country’ music festival for 2023, as volunteers need a break, organizer said

Work set to begin on beneficiary, Miller Point Park, Monday

Following two successful RISE Up Foundation “Splash into Country” music festivals in 2021 and 2022, the McHenry-based nonprofit group is taking this summer off, founder and city of McHenry Mayor Wayne Jett announced.

“We raised $450,000 in 2022 for (the) RISE Up Foundation,” Jett said in a text to the Northwest Herald.

The two city parks benefiting from the music festivals’ fundraising, Fort McHenry and Miller Point Park, are expected to see the fruit of that work this spring and summer.

The foundation, founded by Jett and his wife, Amber, planned its first music festival for June 19 and 20, 2020, at McHenry’s Petersen Park. But due to COVID-19 restrictions, that inaugural festival was postponed.

Rescheduled to September 2021, the event raised $200,000 for a splash pad water feature at the Fort McHenry playground in Whispering Oaks Park. Supply chain issues delayed that project to late September 2022, too late for the summer season. It is set to open this spring, Jett said.

The 2022 concerts, held Sept. 16 and 17, earmarked the funds raised for Miller Point Park. The McHenry City Council in December approved $2.27 million for the park renovations, including a water feature and a pavilion paid for by donation.

Of the total raised by RISE Up last year, $250,000 was donated by retired businessman Gary Lang “personally in December to allocate the funds towards the Pavilion at Miller Point (Park),” Jett wrote.

That work is set to start on Monday, March 20, said Parks and Recreation Director Bill Hobson. ”Construction fencing will be delivered to start the project,” he said.

The first portion will be to prepare the site for the new McHenry Riverwalk Shops. Plans are to have the tiny shops open by June 1, Hobson said, with the water feature and pavilion coming later this summer.

Jett said it was time for a break but plans to bring back the festival in 2024.

“In total we have raised $650,000 in the last two years. We will be taking a break so our volunteers can have a summer off and bring back a bigger and better show,” Jett said in a text.