Music Fights Back Festival battles childhood cancer

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Jeremy Cuff

By Ted Pennekamp


Soon, people will be able to enjoy the Music Fights Back Festival in Prairie du Chien while also fighting childhood cancer. 

“This will be our fourth fundraiser, but our first actual music festival,” said Music Fights Back founder Jeremy Cuff, who noted that a smaller music fundraiser was held previously but this year’s festival will feature several local, regional and nationally famous bands over two days, June 23 and June 24, on St. Feriole Island. 

“We will use the music to raise the money to fight cancer,” said Cuff. “We want to bring it to the community.”

The Music Fights Back Festival will begin at 1 p.m. on Friday, June 23. The opening band will be Mike Droho starting at 2 p.m. Old Soul Society will be next, followed by local favorite 88 MPH and then Burnin Whiskey. Friday night’s headliner is Tugg. 

The festival will continue at 12:45 p.m. on Saturday with Prairie du Chien band Twist, of which Jeremy Cuff is a member. Next is Never Say Die, Elwood and the Eccentrics, The El Caminos, Vyces, Shallow Side, and Saturday night's headliner Bobaflex.

Cuff said the festival will showcase different forms of rock music and all of the bands have their own sound. He noted that Saturday's headliner, Bobaflex, is from West Virginia and two of the members are brothers who are descendents of the McCoys from the famous Hatfields and McCoys feud. Bobaflex is nationally famous and has several hits currently playing on hard rock radio stations, said Cuff. 

Friday night’s headliner, Tugg, is a regional regae rock band from La Crosse who are on the rise. 

Shallow Side, who will play on Saturday night, is another nationally known band from Alabama whose hit “Can You Hear Me” is number 22 on the Billboard rock chart.

The Music Fights Back Festival also has an international flavor with the Toronto based band Never Say Die. 

“All of the bands are very supportive of the fight against cancer and want to be a part of it,” said Cuff, who had his own battle against the dreaded disease. “Everybody has been touched by cancer in some way, and that’s why we’re getting all the support we’re getting.” 

Cuff said that there are now more than 30 sponsors of the Music Fights Back Foundation of which he is founder and president. Julie Simon of Prairie du Chien is vice president and there are about 70 hard working volunteers. 

Radio station sponsors of the Music Fights Back Festival include 95.7 The Rock of La Crosse, 97.3 of Dubuque and WPRE of Prairie du Chien.

“Hopefully, the Music Fights Back Festival will continue to get bigger and better every year,” said Cuff, who noted that about 40 iPods have been purchased and given to children with cancer throughout the country so far through the various Music Fights Back Foundation fundraisers. Cuff said this year iPads rather than iPods will be given because iPads are becoming the more popular item. 

Cuff said he got the idea of giving iPods, and now iPads, because listening to the music on the devices helped him get through the tough times when he was going through radiation treatments. “The music made me forget what I was going through,” he said. “IPods help to keep your mind off of it.” He said children can listen to music on the iPods as well as play games and do a number of other things to keep their minds off of their cancer for awhile and, hopefully, not let depression in.

Money will be raised at the Music Fights Back Festival through the entry fee and the sale of food and beverages, as well as donations. 

Camping is available next to the festival grounds which are at the Prairie du Chien Jaycee Pavilion on St. Feriole Island. Festival goers can donate at the entry to the festival, said Cuff.

Those wishing to donate, get tickets or get more information about the Music Fights Back Festival can visit their website

“We will be using our music to do good for other people,” said Cuff.

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