Inaugural B.A.M. Fest in Holiday Hills to feature 40 bands, camping

An inaugural outdoor festival designed to give area bands the chance to showcase original musical will feature more than 40 rock bands in three days in Holiday Hills.

B.A.M. Fest 2016 – named in honor of bands, artists and musicians – will take place June 17-19 at McHenry Extreme Sports and Event Park in Holiday Hills. Along with the music, food and drink vendors, those who attend are invited to camp on the park’s 100 or so acres of rolling hills, ponds and lakes. No electricity or water hookups will be available.

“This has been a dream of mine for many, many years,” said Bob Cozza, founder and event organizer. “The original bands don’t really have a place to play outdoors on a nice stage in front of a lot of people.”

Cozza, who will perform with his own band, BoneShaker, at the event, wanted to keep it as affordable as possible without losing money.

Advance tickets at cost $10 for three days worth of music. Tickets bought at the event will cost $15 a day. Those who want to camp must pay $20 a person, which covers all three days of camping.

“Literally, you could spend $30 and camp and watch shows for three straight days,” Cozza said.

The festival’s gates open at noon June 17, with bands starting to play 30-minute sets at about 3:15 p.m. The headliners each night, including 3 Years Hollow (a five-piece band from the Quad Cities that charted on the Billboard Mainstream Rock Top 40 chart), Lillian Axe (a rock quartet from Michigan with hard-edged pop tune hits) and VIA (a Minneapolis-based rock band), will perform longer sets.

Some other bands include Shallow Side, UnderFire, Silent Redemption, A.D.D., Emperors and Elephants, Romantic Rebel, Captain Coopersmith, When Night Falls, Gabriel and the Apocalypse, Shallow State, Kills Again, Rabidus, DROP, DayRollers, Enlive, Old Style Raskals, Foreign Sunsets and Gray Sikes Above.

On Sunday, Cozza said most of the bands feature younger musicians. “I wanted to emphasize, ‘Hey, there’s another crop of talent coming up,’ ” he said.

All of the music falls into the rock category – hard rock, soft rock, pop, some forms of metal – but nothing too heavy, Cozza said. “Since this is our first year, we had to tread water a little bit lightly and not go with hardcore metal,” he said. “We didn’t want to tick off the neighbors.”

Cozza said the event is open to all ages, although those ages 16 and older must be accompanied by an adult. Wristbands will be given to those 21 and older for alcohol sales, and security will be on site.

“We just want this to be a fun, good time for bands and musicians to strut their stuff in front of people,” he said.

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