Splash Into Country to bring big name acts to McHenry’s Petersen Park

Miller Park, Riverwalk to benefit from funds raised by nonprofit concert event

Lines form at the RISE Up music festival on Saturday, Sept. 25, 2021 at Petersen Park in McHenry.  Funds raised from the Friday and Saturday music festival, which included artists such as Sugar Ray, Smash Mouth, Brantley Gilbert, and more, are going toward a new splashpad at Fort McHenry, according to the RISE Up foundation's website.

The second RISE Up Foundation music festival is bringing big-name country music acts to McHenry, with funds raised by the event going to the city’s expansion of Miller Point and the Riverwalk project, organizers said.

If tickets for both nights sell out, the concert could raise more than $300,000 for city projects, said McHenry’s Mayor Wayne Jett, who established the RISE Up Foundation with his wife, Amber Jett, in 2019.

Splash Into Country is set for Friday and Saturday, Sept. 16 and 17, at Petersen Park, 4300 Petersen Park Road. Gates open at 5 p.m. both nights with the first act taking then stage at 6:30 p.m.

The Friday line-up includes Dustin Lynch, Dylan Scott and Zach Miller. Saturday night’s headliners are Brad Paisley, Chris Lane and Ernest. Tickets can be purchased at the RISE Up Foundation website at riseupfoundationmchenry.org.

In total, production costs for the two-day event will run nearly $1 million, Jett said.

“It is not just, ‘Hey, let’s have concert in the park,’ ” Jett said. “This is like Country Thunder or better,” he said, referring to the annual summer country music festival near Twin Lakes, Wisconsin.

The 2021 RISE Up festival, delayed a year because of COVID-19, raised $197,700 for the city’s splash pad. Another $400,000 was raised through in-kind and cash donations to improve the adjacent parking lot, Jett said.

The splash pad was set to open earlier this summer, but supply chain delays pushed that project back, Jett said.

“We just got the right part in, and we hope to have it done by next week,” Jett said.

A rendering shows a design of a splash pad that could be built in Petersen Park in McHenry in part with funding raised through concerts put on Sept. 24 and Sept. 25, 2021, by the nonprofit RISE Up led by McHenry Mayor Wayne Jett and his wife Amber.

The splash pad is the “perfect example of a community need that brings people together and provides fun for all families,” Jett said.

Founded in 2019 by the Jetts, the RISE – short for Revitalize, Invest, Succeed & Encourage – Up Foundation is a nonprofit charity.

“The sole purpose of this charity was to provide funding for city projects specifically focused on enhancing the quality of life for children and their families in McHenry,” according to a news release from the city.

“These are projects that on one hand fall to the bottom of the list because of lack of funding but on the other hand are so important in bringing a community together,” Jett said in the prepared release.

In total, Jett said, the $650,000 splash pad project will be completed without using any taxpayer money.

“It was all donations or in-kind contributions,” he said.