A small, but growing rock and roll music festival will be happening again this year in the rural area between Roland and McCallsburg.
RockStock is set to roll at the property of Rick and Sheila Erickson, at 63748 150th St., McCallsburg, on Saturday, Sept. 22. The event is hosted by the band, Hangfire.
Gavin Gross of Nevada, originally from Ames, is the lead singer, songwriter and guitar player for Hangfire. He is also involved in the organization of RockStock, which started a couple of years ago as a small gathering of friends and family.
That first year’s event, Gross said, “turned out pretty good.” So those involved thought it would be fun to expand on that and make it bigger. The second year, last year, they invited a few more groups out to play and people to listen.
This year Gross said they are hoping to grow the gathering even more. “We have six or seven bands already committed.”
RockStock, Gross said, “is for people who like to listen to music while sitting around a fire and having a beer. It’s a small music festival.”
Gross’ band, Hangfire, has performed a little over two years together. Gross is joined in the band by two other members, Alex Johnson, bass player, of Dallas Center and Denny Woods, drummer, of Beaver.
Gross said he’s been writing original songs for about 12 years and he’s performed with several bands during that time. The connection he, Johnson and Woods have, he said, is a good one. “I think I’ve finally found the band I want to continue to play with… We are one happy little music family.”
They’ve done some gigs in southern Iowa and around the Ames area, and they’ve been trying to get a few more shows. “We lack a good promoter,” he said.
A favorite for Hangfire to play is “Live On,” a song Gross wrote when one of his friends passed away a few years back. Another song they are known for is “Guardian Angel.” “I wrote that about my sister quite a few years back,” he said. “We’ve got those songs in our mix, and are also coming up with more of our own stuff as a group.” He defines Hangfire’s music as a southern rock style, saying while they don’t play a lot of cover songs, some of their favorites would be things by Lynyrd Skynyrd, Jimi Hendrix, Bob Seger and Tom Petty.
The beauty of a little, growing festival like RockStock, Gross said, is it can be good exposure for bands that play the kind of music this festival wants to attract — country and various kinds of rock and roll. “We’ve reached out to any bands that want to come out and play that night he said.”
At this time, Gross said the music is set to start around 4 p.m. that Saturday, but if more bands get signed up to play, they’d like to push the start back to a much earlier time and really make an afternoon and evening of it.
There is no admission fee to attend, at least not this year, but one thing organizers will do is take in donations from attendees. “We’d like for some of that donated money to go to Blank Children’s Hospital in Des Moines, and also some of it to be split up between the bands that perform,” Gross said
There will be no alcohol vendors coming to the event, so those who attend are welcome to bring their own alcoholic and other beverages. In fact, Gross emphasized, “We don’t want people drinking and driving,” so they have plenty of room for people to bring a small camper or tent along and just sleep there if they can’t drive home safely.
Gross said they are hoping to line up a food vendor or even a few food vendors that can make burgers and things like that.
One other thing they are doing this year is having backup plans in case of rain. Last year, a little rain dampened the event and the entertainment. This year, he said, “we’ll have a covered stage area and we’re rounding up a bunch of canopies to have on hand if it rains… Mother Nature is not getting in our way this year.”
Any band that would like to be considered to perform, or any food vendor that would like to set up at RockStock, may contact Gavin Gross at 515-291-0435.
For more information about RockStock, go Facebook and look on the Hangfire page or on the personal page of Gavin Gross.