The month-old Jambrella movement is quickly gaining steam, as Jambrella Productions is having a big jam event Friday night to raise

A poster for the March 26 Jambrella Jam at Kavanaugh’s Hilltop Bar.

money for local musicians. There are also plans to have a second major festival outdoors on Saturday, June 12 to coincide with the 17th anniversary of River Music Experience.

The first massive Jambrella music festival – aimed to give back to local musicians and bars – was a major success Feb. 26 at The Mound in the Village of East Davenport, raising $7,006.

Artists who performed that night included Molly Durnin, Far Out 283Angela MeyerFair Warning3 On The Tree, The Channel CatsProject X, and Michael Moncada and Whiskey High.

Twenty-nine total musicians participated and six bars that host live music were picked to benefit from the

Moncada announces how much was raised at Eleven17 on Feb. 28, as Durnin looks on.

fundraiser. Over 20 area artists are scheduled to play this Friday starting at 8 p.m. at Kavanaugh’s Hilltop Bar & Grill, 1228 30th St., Rock Island, for a Jambrella Jam.

There is free admission, but they encourage a free-will donation of $3 at the door to be split all with participating artists. A strong supporter of the first Feb. 26 Jambrella festival – the owner of Yabba Dabbas – on Wednesday made another sizable donation to the cause, said Jambrella founder Michael Moncada.

At the first fest, Heather donated a huge gift basket (Yabba Dabbas sells CBD, glass and hemp products), then hundreds more in cash, Moncada said. Donations for Jambrella are being accepted now on CashApp at$jambrella, and at Kavanaugh’s Friday there will be Jambrella tie-dyed T-shirts for sale as well, with a portion of proceeds going to Jambrella Jam as well.

Tonya Dwyer of Almost Home bar in Silvis is also donating to the Kavanaugh’s event, partly because Jambrella held an open mic there Monday night.


Moncada drove to Ames March 23 to support Q-C country artist Angela Meyer, who played at Stephens Auditorium.

“This only has been going four weeks,” a busy Moncada said Tuesday, before heading to Ames, Iowa to support Q-C artist Angela Meyer who performed a sold-out show at Stephens Auditorium. She’s raising money to produce her next album, “Legions and Legends.”

“I’m looking for help. We’re hoping to be staffed between two and four people in the next 30 days, part-time,” Moncada, a 39-year-old musician volunteering his time, said. “And then hopefully there will be by May for me to be able to have a small office that we can coordinate the headquarters.” He had another special experience last weekend, as he met young Antonio Martinez, an 8-year-old from East Moline, at last Saturday’s QC Battle of the Bands at the Mississippi Valley Fairgrounds. He was jamming along in front of the stage while the Cal R Stage was performing, but pieces on his guitar broke. Jambrella put a request out on Facebook Sunday, asking for donations, and that night Moncada was contacted by Chris Avey of the Avey Grouws Band and he wanted to help. Moncada met Avey at Guitar Center, and Avey bought Antonio a new Squire guitar. Antonio is a student at QC Rock Academy and he and his family were very grateful, Moncada said.

A scene from the Feb. 26 Jambrella music festival at The Mound.

He recently spoke with QC Rock Academy director Greg Hipskind and Jambrella is helping promote the QCRA big summer kickoff concert, Saturday, May 22, from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m., at Schwiebert Riverfront Park, Rock Island.

That day – also free admission – will feature seven student bands from the music school, plus “an all-star jam” to end the night. Performers will include Been There Done That, Strictly Business, Crushed Monkey, Made Ya Look, Daze Off, Tell Tale Heart, and Nonetheless.

The all-female band Been There Done That tied with Alborn at the March 20 QC Battle of the Bands and after a one-song playoff, Alborn was chosen winner.

Mike Moncada and Molly Durnin celebrate at the first Jambrella.

The selected bars and venues that benefitted from last month’s Jambrella were:

“Everybody came together, it was phenomenal,” Moncada – who started Jambrella Productions to organize and promote the event — said after that first one. He privately expected raising about

8-year-old Antonio Martinez is overjoyed to get a new electric guitar donated to him.

$4,500 at most, after sharing the event on Facebook for only 12 days.

“I figured after 12 days, that would be an achievement,” Moncada said. “I didn’t know who would be able to pull people out with the fear of Covid, things like that. People are hungry for music, but I know how much people were worried about that.”

“It was pretty incredible to be opening the tip jar every hour to count the tips, and I’d see 10s and 20s and 5s, and a couple 100s,” he said. The Mound even donated back 10 percent of their sales, after giving a free drink ticket for everyone who donated (the suggested amount was $5 per person).

“There were hundreds and hundreds of people through there over the night,” Moncada said. “It was wall to wall to wall. It was incredible.”

He’s been working on Jambrella 2 ever since and is waiting to get approval for an outdoor venue for the

Over $7,000 was raised from the first Jambrella, with the next major festival planned for June 12.

June 12 festival, to help recognize Davenport-based RME.

“We’re very supportive of Mike’s efforts,” RME executive director Tyson Danner said Wednesday. “Musicians need our community’s support, and we love to see grassroots efforts like this, that help strengthen our music scene. Especially after the year we’ve all had.

Members of the student band Been There Done That perform at the March 20 QC Battle of the Bands, and will return for the QC Rock Academy outdoor show May 22.

“We are acting as title sponsor of Mike’s event, but he is really the producer/brains behind it. We’re helping out with some funding and advice and general assistance” Danner said.

RME, at 2nd and Main streets, is not doing its (pre-pandemic) usual 2nd Street block party this year, but they’ll still celebrate the anniversary week with a Live@Five June 11 and sponsorship of the Jambrella event. The weekly Live@Five series will return to the RME courtyard on June 4 and run through September, Danner said.

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Jonathan Turner has been covering the Quad-Cities arts scene for 25 years, first as a reporter with the Dispatch and Rock Island Argus, and then as a reporter with the Quad City Times. Jonathan is also an accomplished actor and musician who has been seen frequently on local theater stages, including the Bucktown Revue and Black Box Theatre.