Smooth Groove

Longtime Quad-City band Smooth Groove is among the acts at the first QC Blockstock River Jam, one of two music festivals taking place Saturday in downtown Moline.


There's an expected slew of music festivals in the Quad-City region this summer, kicking off this weekend with two of them, both in downtown Moline:

QC Blockstock River Jam

In 2009, Jake Pirmann began working as a firefighter for the Silvis Fire Department and also started a nonprofit organization called In God's Service, or IGS.

"I wanted to give back, really," the 28-year-old said. "I didn't have direction or an area of focus. But we did small events, trying to do what we had to do."

His job made him notice there was a lack of equipment for first responders and hospital burn units, and he found a way to put his charity to use.

To that end, the first QC Blockstock River Jam debuts Saturday at Bass Street Landing in downtown Moline.

"We thought it'd be fun to have a block party, get the community involved, make it free for all the first responders for all the work that they do," Pirmann said.

Madison, Wis., reggae band Natty Nation closes the night, with performances earlier in the day and evening from Quad-City funk-pop band Smooth Groove, rock-swing act Old 57s, country band Dirt Road Rockers and classic rockers Flat Top Band.

"It has every different genre, something for everybody, and that's what we were going for," Pirmann said of the festival lineup.

Besides a variety of music, he said, all of the bands have songs with positive messages.

Pianist Kevin Carton and Gray Wolf band member Jim Ryan will perform between sets.

The Plaza at Bass Street Landing holds about 2,500 people, Pirmann said, and his goal is to have 1,000 attend any or all of the 10-hour festival.

Pirmann also said he is in talks with a national sponsor about coming on board. Firehouse Subs has a foundation that provides funds to firefighter-related moneymakers. Even though the sub sandwich chain doesn't have a shop closer than suburban Chicago, it may be able to help the Quad-City cause, Pirmann said.

"If we combined our efforts, we could do a lot of good," he added.

IGS has plans for a commemorative Sept. 11 skydive, he said, as well as other events. But if this weekend's event is successful, the QC Blockstock River Jam would be its big activity.

"This is gonna be our signature thing for the Quad-Cities, if we can continue it," he said.

No Coast Summer Fest

As a musician and a music fan, Zach Potter said he was growing frustrated.

He'd go to a show at Rozz-Tox in Rock Island, he said, and see a certain crowd. Or a metal show at the Bier Stube's Blackhawk Room in Moline and see yet another crowd. And he'd never seen the same people in more than one crowd.

"I wanted to put on one big show with all those bands and bring all those crowds together," said Potter, who plays with the band Kings and works at the Bier Stube's Moline location. "That way the bands can get the recognition that I think they deserve."

So the first No Coast Summerfest will debut at the Bier Stube, 415 15th St., Moline, beginning at 3 p.m. Saturday. Admission is $5.

Acts will alternate between the beer garden outside and the Blackhawk Room in the building behind the Bier Stube — "like one of the giant festivals, only smaller," Potter says.

Although the schedule wasn't finalized as of Tuesday afternoon, acts scheduled to perform are Kings, Remiss, Calliko, Ice Hockey, Comfort, The Easy Mark, Two Peace, Outsiders, As You Were, The Suites, Peer Pressure, Centaur Naur, Heavyweights, Fifty Shades of Rock, Sept of Memnon and Doppleganger.

Potter held a smaller, six-band festival in December that was successful enough to have an expanded event.

"My overall goal is that it goes smoothly and we can go at least once a year," he said.