Kevin Pollack is a guy who clearly loves music. He’s all over the place, performing as half of the Blooze Brothers in Chicago, singing with progressive rock bands, booking tours and shows for acts, and so many other things. Kevin Pollack is also the organizer of Progtoberfest, Chicago’s very own progressive rock music festival. Kevin took a few moments to tell about the history of Progtoberfest, the incredible lineup this year, and the future of this amazing event!
Tell us about the history of Progtoberfest!
Well Progtoberfest started in 2014 with 22 bands originally. We wanted to try a progressive rock festival in Chicago and see if it would work, and surprisingly it did. We took 2015 off to re-examine things. Came back in 2016, and it did so well we continued into 2017. Now, in 2018, Progtoberfest IV has more bands than ever at a total of 45. It may be a lot, but people will get more than they bargained for with the music and we will have some very cool surprises as well.
Each year the festival has grown and transformed. What is different about 2018?
This year, we have a total of 45 bands. We also have a lot more diversity this year blending in psychedelic/fusion/jazz other than just progressive rock. Our headliners this year include the legendary Soft Machine, FM playing Black Noise in its entirety, Neal Morse, Dinosaur Exhibit featuring the legendary Jerry Goodman, Screaming Headless Torsos, The Nick D’Virgilio Project and the one I’m most excited for, The Ultimate Queen Celebration featuring Marc Martel, in my opinion, the best Freddie Mercury since Freddie Mercury.
Tell us about the venue, Reggies.
Reggies brings a music fan’s ultimate dream to reality with 2 stages, a terrific bar and grill, kickin’ rock club, and a rockin’ roof top deck! On September 8, 2007, Reggies opened its doors, transformed from a once run-down autobumper repair shop. Now home to one of Chicago’s hottest music scenes, Reggies has hosted
Victor Wooten, King’s X, Savoy Brown, Pat Travers, Drive By Truckers, Dick Dale, Brand X, PFM,
Robby Krieger, Magma, and many more.
People have referred to Progtoberfest as “Cruise to the Edge” on land. Why would you say that is the case?
I’ve actually told that to people as well when describing this fest. I think because we have so many bands playing the festival, like Cruise to the Edge, and music is overlapping on both stages in both rooms, guests have the option of what band they’d like to choose to see, so they’re both very similar……except we’re not sailing. But, yes, that’s what I’m trying to do. For people that can’t afford to go on Cruise to the Edge, Progtoberfest is a cheaper option and you’ll feel like like you’re on the cruise.
How is the lineup for Progtoberfest selected?
The lineup is selected very carefully. We only go after the best headliners we can get. We also ask bands to submit their music to us for consideration as well. I like to give smaller, unknown prog bands the exposure they deserve. I search all over the internet trying to find old/new bands.
If I am in a band and would like to play next year, what is the best way to “audition”?