Bloomington-Normal rocks the block for a good cause


Emily Bauman

Mike and Joe perform under the purple lights as they sing their cover of the Killer’s “Mr. Brightside”.

Emily Bauman, Staff Reporter

On Saturday April 21st, Uptown Normal was filled with, music, food, drinking and dancing for the third annual rock the rock festival for the united way. Headlining bad, Mike and Joe, brought in crowds ranging from high school students and students to adults.

Rock the Block was started by the United Way as a way to collect money for their organization that acts as an umbrella for many other smaller organizations. Those attending the event could choose to pay a dollar entrance donation. Although it was not required, those who participated in the donation received a free commemorative cup.

Chicago and Midwestern band Mike and Joe played their versions of modern rock classics. The popular cover band performed covers of popular songs from a wide variety of artist including Green Day, Ed Sheeran, the Dave Matthews band and Blink 182.

“I believe that it was Pat Grosso who first contacted up about performing in the event about three years ago. We’re based up in Chicago and we came back for the great cause and the great audience,” said Mike Notaro who is one of the two singers in the group.

Mike and Joe play venues in the Chicago area and frequent college campuses. Their music and more information about their schedules can be found on their website MIKEANDJOEE.COM

Booths from the Uptown restaurants lined the street selling alcohol, drinks, and food, while stores kept their doors open for the wondering shopper.

For the younger crowd, DP Dough was a busy and popular booth. Their marketing director Rick Potocki said, “just being around Uptown Normal we get approached by the people who run these events. We judge the event and decide if it is going to be good for us, it usually it. We’re a relatively new business, 10-years-old, and it’s a good opportunity to appeal to new customers. ”

The Garlic Press’s new candy store that recently opened sold popcorn from a cart in addition to candy inside for the younger audience.

For the older crowd bars such as Stave and Medici sold varieties of booze from booths lining the streets. “It opens us up to a wide variety of people, united way brings in a lot of people, that wouldn’t normally come to Uptown,” said Stave employee Chris Pettit.

All booths were checking IDs and placing bands on the wrists of those old enough to buy and consume the alcoholic beverages.

As 7 pm approached, the crowd gathered around for the hour and a half long set, which featured changing lights, electric, and acoustic guitars. Fans were seen dancing to the music, drinking, and talking to others attending the event. At the end of the night, the well-run event brought together lots of people to fundraise for the United Way.