Summer is coming, and that can only mean one thing. The fifth annual Chill on the Hill is just around the corner. Pleasant Hill residents, age 21 and older, are invited to join friends and neighbors at Copper Creek Lake Park for some after-hours fun courtesy of the Chamber of Commerce.
At the events, local bands take the stage and play a variety of music genres while residents get to kick back, relax and network on the scenic lake. For residents who haven’t attended, Cathy Jensen, executive director of the chamber, encourages them to take the time this year join in the fun.
Jensen says to expect much of the same fun from the last few events.
Residents are still encouraged to bring chairs or blankets to sit on, but outside food and beverages are not allowed as both will be provided by local vendors. Two drink tickets are given with each $8 admission fee to the event with alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages available. This year, along with water and sodas, patrons can choose from beer, wine and the newly added margarita wine coolers.
Elder Corporation and Rock Star Satellite are the platinum sponsors, offering much-needed support for the event. Iowa Beverage Systems is also a sponsor, providing beverages, fliers and numerous other supplies for Chill. Other sponsors include Okoboji Bar and Grill, Pleasant Hill Living magazine, Eastern Polk Networking Group, Communication Innovators and many more.
The first event is May 31 and with a different band playing every Friday until June 28, from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Local bands expected to play the event this year include: Standing Hampton, Psycho Circus, Abby Normal, Cold Filtered and Gimikk.
“They all bring something different. It’s the music that people like to dance to and reminisce,” Jensen says of the bands.
Standing Hampton kicks it off on May 31. The band, which has played Chill on the Hill several times in the past, will offer a variety of covers from the ’70s and ’80s. Band member, Doug Dickson, says the band enjoys playing outdoors and bringing a festive feel to their shows. Attendees to their concert can expect to hear covers of classics from bands such as Fleetwood Mac, Boston, Meatloaf and Kansas.
“Everybody knows these songs,” Dickson says.
On June 7, Psycho Circus, a local Kiss tribute band, will play. This will actually be the third year they will play Chill. Band member Kevin Harvey says he was so impressed with the event the first year they played, he decided to become a chamber member and volunteer his time with the event on the nights when the band isn’t playing.
“They (chamber members) all stick together and support each other,” he says of his decision to join. “It was just seeing people coming together and being a part of something.”
Harvey says the band always looks forward to playing Chill on the Hill because it’s a “big deal” with Pleasant Hill residents, and it is a great opportunity to meet people. He says the chamber has been supportive of the band when they are performing at the Chill, and that keeps them coming back.
Attendees of the Psycho Circus show are invited to join the band at Okoboji Bar and Grill after the concert for a meet and greet. The after-show party at Okoboji will go on even if the concert is rained out, so those planning to attend are welcome to meet at the bar and grill regardless of the weather.
“We prefer if people want pictures, they go to Okoboji,” Jensen says. This will give the band a break after the performance, as well as keep the event running smoothly.”
The band Abby Normal will perform on June 14. With their powerhouse female vocalist, the band covers music from rock classics such as Pretenders, Joan Jett and Pat Benatar. This will be the first time Abby Normal has played Chill on the Hill, but band member Tim West says some members of the band have played the venue before in the group Out of the Blue.
He says, as a band member, playing outdoors is a great experience because the sound is so different than playing in a bar, and Abby Normal takes just about any chance they can to do an outdoor performance. But it isn’t just playing outside that keeps West coming back; he says he really enjoys the event itself.
“We have actually gone just to see other bands,” he says. “It’s fun.”
Cold Filtered, who first played the Chill two years ago, will take the stage June 21.
The band first signed on for Chill on the Hill after band member Brian Burgett attended a chamber luncheon and signed his band up to play. Attendees to Cold Filtered’s show can expect to hear covers of ’70s and ’80s hard rock. The band has a strong following and has opened for ’80s groups such as Cinderella and Poison.
Gimikk will return for its third summer and close out the season on June 28. The band’s catalog of music ranges from Jimi Hendrix to Nickelback, as well as a variety of original music.
Jensen is one of the driving forces behind the event, and with a few years experience planning and executing Chill, she has a much better idea of who and what to expect for the event, which has continued to grow since officially beginning in May 2009.
Jensen is anticipating as many as 300 attendees at each Chill event. She says it varies depending on the band, which is asked to advertise its appearance on its websites and with its fans.
While events are usually cancelled if there is rain, Jensen says one of the events last year took place after a storm cleared, out despite most Pleasant Hill residents being without power.
One of the volunteers got a generator and hooked up everything they could so Chill on the Hill could go on.
“We partied on,” Jensen laughs. “We had sound, beer, we had some popcorn, and we had a great time.”
The event usually requires about 10 volunteers per week to set up and tear down, which takes about an hour and a half to two hours. Jensen says anyone who wants to help out is welcome to contact her at the chamber.
Extended parking and lighted walkways are available for people who park further away on East 42nd Street. While some of the waterfront businesses are also sponsors, Jensen stresses the importance of not parking in front of any open businesses. The one exception is the building formerly owned by Lakeside Fitness. The new owners, Reilly Resource Group, have offered to open their lot for event parking.
Because this is an event where alcohol is present, Iowa Beverage Services offers free cab rides from Chill to anyone who may overindulge and shouldn’t drive.
Another June event being held by the chamber is The Annual Golf Outing on the 14th at Toad Valley Golf Course. The outing is in the afternoon, and then prizes are given away at Chill on the Hill later that evening.
“They get a drink ticket with their golf outing package,” Jensen says.
The chamber has added New Member Appreciation Night on May 31. All new members will get tickets to attend the event.
Tri-athletes taking part in the triathlon the weekend of June 21 will receive a free ticket for Chill.
With each year, the chamber becomes more and more aware of what makes this event successful and how best to accommodate the residents and businesses, ensuring that the event is a success.
“If you want to have fun and meet new people, it’s a fantastic networking opportunity,” Jensen says.