Brantley Gilbert to headline 'Splash into Country' fundraiser this summer in McHenry

Jett’s foundation aims to raise funds for new splash pad

Some of the biggest country music acts McHenry County has ever seen are coming to McHenry this summer for the RISE Up Foundation’s inaugural Rise Up Music Fest.

The two-day event is slated for June 19 and 20 at Petersen Park.

The “Splash into Country” concert June 20, which will be headlined by Brantley Gilbert and include the multiplatinum Grammy-winning Eli Young Band, will raise funds for a new splash pad in the city.

Headliners for the “Rock the Lake” show June 19 will be announced March 24, said McHenry Mayor Wayne Jett, who serves as the director of the RISE Up Foundation.

“We wanted to try to find an artist that would fit McHenry,” he said. “We want to get someone that has a little bit more edge to them. McHenry does like rock, as well.

“So this country artist, Brantley Gilbert, his show is one of the highest production shows in the industry. ... There’s never been a big act like this in McHenry.”

Jett said attendees can expect lights, lasers, action and more from Gilbert’s performance.

“I’ve always wanted to do a concert,” he said. “It’s been probably six, seven years. I’ve always wanted to put on a big show, have a huge artist and just raise money for certain parks. And I think this was our opportunity.”

Retired Bears player Zach Miller, one of Jett’s artist clients, will be opening the show.

“Now that he’s out of the football arena and he’s ... using his fingers on another set of strings and playing a guitar, and opening up for these major artists on Saturday I think is just another opportunity for him,” Jett said.

For Jett, the event is more about a fundraiser than a concert. He said he expects about 5,000 attendees June 19 and 8,000 June 20 who will help raise $200,000 for a splash pad in McHenry.

Jett said as he met door to door with community members since his election, he realized that there aren’t many activities for kids in the city.

He began RISE Up in 2019 along with his wife, Amber Jett, to provide funding for projects specifically focused on enhancing the quality of life for children and their families in the city.

“Something that was always brought up is why every town has a splash pad but McHenry doesn’t,” Jett said. “So I wanted to put something together to raise funds for it and not use taxpayer money.”

Jett said the splash pad can be an opportunity for economic development in the city.

“This not only will put McHenry on the map ... but it brings people from other communities to our community,” he said. “When you’re bringing people to our town, you’re getting people to fill up gas, you’re getting people to eat, you’re getting people to just visit McHenry, and I think that’s important.”

Jett said the music festival is a vision for where McHenry is headed as a community.

“If we could show who we are as a community, raising funds and doing an event like this in our town, it just shows what McHenry is all about,” he said.

Tickets go on sale at 10 a.m. Wednesday, will prices increasing shortly after the presale. General admission tickets will be $40, VIP reserved seating will be $100 to $175, and VIP pit tickets will be $150 to $200. General admission attendees may bring their own chairs. Tickets can be bought online at riseupfoundationmchenry.org.

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