Design by Kim Miers

Jack Rabbit to the rescue!


Elmwood Village establishment teams with 42 North Brewing, CBW and Three Chord Bourbon to pay bands at Elmwood Village ArtFest

This is how a music community is supposed to work. 

When news broke that performers at this year’s maiden voyage of the Elmwood Village ArtFest would not be paid due to budget constraints, an understandable onslaught of teeth-gnashing in the local music community took over social media. But instead of contributing to what was rapidly becoming some serious divisiveness, the folks at Jack Rabbit – the earthy and awesome pub, eatery and live music establishment at 1010 Elmwood Avenue – decided to put their money where their hearts are. The Jack Rabbit team joined with Three Chord Bourbon, Community Beer Works and 42 North Brewery to fund the 16 bands performing at the festival. 

“We believe in compensating musicians any time they play,” Jack Rabbit owner and operator Josh Mullin said. “Because we’re part of this music community ourselves, the people in these bands are our friends. And honestly, we hated to see people fighting over this, and we really hate to see our community divided. Supporting the local music scene has always been priority number one for us. So when we saw the opportunity to help, we reached out the Elmwood village Association and offered to take care of the money for the musicians.”

Jake Monti, co-owner of Jack Rabbit, offered props to the Elmwood Village Association for stepping in to rescue a long-running festival that had essentially been cancelled. 

“We understand the Elmwood Village Association stepped up to continue the tradition of this wonderful festival and we just want to do our part to help them and ensure this great organization continues to put on this festival,” Monti said. 

Because the Jack Rabbit team is largely comprised of musicians and members of the local music scene, the controversy surrounding the lack of pay for bands performing at the festival hit particularly close to home. Kevin Sampson, a partner in the Jack rabbit enterprise and a member of the local music scene, found the divisiveness apparent in the social media firestorm particularly disturbing. 

“It’s always been our goal to unite the local music scene, “Sampson said. “And as local musicians ourselves, when we saw this turmoil, we had to do whatever we could to help.”

The Elmwood Village ArtFest takes over the 700 block of Elmwood Avenue this Saturday and Sunday. 

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