Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Nelarusky pre-Lollapalooza benefit back for seventh year

By Frank Krolicki

Imagine Dragons
Since 2007, Lauren McClusky has been organizing an annual show before Lollapalooza to benefit the Special Olympics. Originally called McFest and now called Nelarusky, the event became an official pre-show for the festival in 2010, and by now has raised over $130,000 for the charity. This year's event--the seventh one--is set for Wednesday, July 31st at Metro with Imagine Dragons, Icona Pop, Brick + Mortar , and Kellen & Me. Tickets sold out quickly back in June, but there are still VIP passes available through the Nelarusky Pledge Music Page. WCR talked to Lauren before last year's Nelarusky, and she answered a few questions for us again in advance of the July 31st concert:

WCR: You answered a few questions for WCR before last year's show...a year later, what do you remember most about the 2012 event?

LM: I would have to say that watching Alabama Shakes perform "Hold On" from the balcony was pretty memorable, since the entire crowd knew every word! I also loved when Special Olympics global messengers, Barbie and Christine, held the check we presented high over the heads in excitement!

Besides the bands, is there anything new about this year's event, or the experience of putting it together?

We always have new and exciting sponsors each year, and just the press surrounding the bands in this year's lineup is incredible.

How did the music lineup come together this year?

I work with C3 to secure the lineup, so it was a combination of artists that we love and artists that are playing Lollapalooza. In addition, we were so grateful that the bands on the lineup are equally excited about playing and supporting the cause.

To date, the concerts have raised nearly $100,000 for Special Olympics. Have you had the opportunity to witness any of the benefit to the organization first-hand? Any particular experiences to share?

We've actually raised over $135,000 to date! The two global messengers that share their story at Nelarusky each year are very close to me and both of them have been largely affected by the support of Special Olympics--both have community jobs and great friends. In addition, there were so many happy athletes at the Chicago Summer Games Opening Ceremonies at Soldier Field!

If you could line up any bands you wanted for future events, who would they be?

I'd love to have Delta Spirit on the bill!

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