In 16 days Rock to the Rescue sold-out the 7,000-seat U.S. Cellular Coliseum in Bloomington for a benefit concert for the Washington tornado victims, raising more than $300,000.
A highlight of the show featured former REO Speedwagon guitarist Gary Richrath playing with the band for “Ridin’ the Storm Out.”
Richrath is formerly of East Peoria and still has family in town.
“(It was) an awesome concert, but the highlight was Gary Richrath joining REO for ‘Ridin’ the Storm Out,” last REO song of the night,” said concert goer Bob Brown of Washington.
From start to finish the bands and Coliseum staff had a little more than two weeks to plan and perform the concert.
The concert featured rock bands Styx, REO Speedwagon, Survivor, Head East and Brushville along with performances by Richard Marx, Ted Nugent and comedian Larry the Cable Guy.
The total attendence for the concert was 7,504, Andracke said.
“The final song was everyone on stage for Joe Cocker’s (version) of ‘With a Little Help From My Friends.’” Brown said.
Coliseum spokeswoman Traci Andracke said they were still adding the results of auction items to the donation total on Monday. A final donation could be determined this week.
“It will exceed the $300,000 announced on stage but we haven’t counted everything, yet,” Andracke said.
The morning of the concert several of the performers toured Washington. “It helped them solidify their reason for being here,” Andracke said.
Through several local groups, Coliseum manager’s Central Illinois Arena Management, got tickets for the concert to about 750 Washington tornado victims.
“We had them sitting in the same section of the Coliseum and they were recognized during the show,” Andracke said.
The bands did not receive any pay for the show as well as the sound and lighting crews and Coliseum managers waived all building rental fees, Andracke said. Concession proceeds were also donated, she added.
So far five charities have been identified as recipients of the concert proceeds.
Andracke said others also may be approved in the coming days.
“It was very important to the performers and Rock to the Rescue organizers that all the money goes to local charities that will directly benefit tornado victims.
Charities approved as of Monday are:
• The Midwest Food Bank gathers large food donations from nationwide corporations and distributes them to social service organizations, as well as at national disaster sites.
• The Peoria Citizens Committee for Economic Opportunity is a Community Action Agency and leadership organization that promotes self-sufficiency and economic security.
• Tazwood Community Services was organized for the purpose of reducing the causes and alleviating the effects of poverty in Tazwood and Woodford counties.
Page 2 of 2 - • The U. S. Marine Corps Reserve’s Toys for Tots Program is to collect new, unwrapped toys during and distribute those toys as Christmas gifts to the less fortunate — a Toys for Tots toy drive was held onsite at Rock To The Rescue.
• The Washington Rotary Club is a service organization located in Washington and an affiliate of Rotary International.