COTTAGE HILLS - On May 14 and 15, more than 25 local/regional bands will take the stage for Trinity River Festival at VFW Post 7678 in Cottage Hills, Ill. to help raise funds for the local nonprofit Trinity’s Way. Tickets are $10 per day at the gate, cash only. Festivalgoers can purchase advance tickets with debit or credit card on the Trinity’s Way website or by using the link.

Trinity’s Way formed in 2018 after 17-year-old Trinity Buel was killed in a tragic car accident. The nonprofit was started by her mother, April Gray, and her godfather, Chris Unthank, to carry on Trinity’s kindness and compassion for animals and the environment. That same year, the group hosted its first annual Trinity River Festival. The organization uses funds raised from the festival to provide support for area animal-related and environmental organizations.

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But, Trinity River Festival is about more than just raising funds. It’s also about remembering Trinity’s spirit through her love of music. “When she was growing up, her dad and I always had a deep appreciation for all kinds of music and made sure our kiddos got a little taste of everything,” Gray said. And that is exactly what Trinity did. She listened to the Grateful Dead, Lorde, Phish, Of Monsters and Men and much more. She had quite a diverse taste in music, which is exactly what Trinity River Festival strives to offer.

Gates open at 3 p.m. on Friday with music starting at 4 p.m. Friday’s lineup includes HOOKiE, Agents of the Free, Everhart & Light, Accidentally on Purpose, The Set Break Sarahs, The Synapses, Noble Band, NiKo, Darian Roe, and Jay Sabo.

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Gates open at 11 a.m. on Saturday with music starting at noon. Saturday’s lineup includes Spillie Nelson, Dean Justus, Krickett & the Grilled Avocados, Roaming Home, Fireside, POWJr72, Little Known Fact, The Riverbend Classics Band, Birds of Squalor, Bastard and The Crows, Liver Jones & The Flatworms, The Graham Band, Hive Mind, Sandwich Bros. Band, Abigail Tate, and Autumn Konkol.

There will also be food vendors on-site, as well as handmade and direct-sales vendors. The event is kid-friendly and children 12 and under are free. “While raising funds to keep our mission going is important, the sense of community and love that surrounds those two days of TRF is really what touches my soul,” Gray said. “None of this would be possible without the bands, volunteers, and community members who continue to support us.”

This year, the funds from TRF will be used to sponsor one or more animals through the Guardian Program at Treehouse Wildlife Center. Trinity’s Way is also working towards establishing a memorial scholarship in Trinity’s name for a high school senior pursuing a degree in environmental science or animal biology.

For more information about the Trinity River Festival, visit the Facebook page for the event.

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