Mike Brown of Wheaton was looking to provide a new entertainment option in the western suburbs.
And he decided he wanted to give back, not just to area residents but to local businesses, as well.
The result of this desire was Prize Posse, a cover band whose performances offer a twist on the traditional concert by combining live music with game shows, offering attendees the opportunity to win prizes for restaurants and stores in town.
“Not only do we get to play and have fun playing together since we’re all good friends, we’re giving back to the community, giving back to the patrons, giving back to the owners of the nightclubs and bars,” said Brown, the band’s founder and bassist. “It’s a win-win-win situation.”
Since Prize Posse’s inaugural show in May, the band has performed throughout the Glen Ellyn area, which Brown hopes will serve as the group’s home base. Most of the other members are from nearby communities, including West Chicago and Carol Stream.
At a Prize Posse show, audience members receive raffle tickets that are drawn throughout the performance, giving them the chance to compete in Bozo Buckets, Deal or No Deal, Press Your Luck, trivia and more.
Prizes include credits to the establishment where the band is playing. The credits come out of the band’s performance fee. Instead of accepting the full amount, band members ask for a portion to go to prizes for concertgoers.
Patrons also can win gift cards to nearby businesses that sponsor Prize Posse by offering prize donations.
Brown hopes the gift cards encourage people to visit local businesses and potentially become regular customers.
So far, Prize Posse has nearly 20 sponsors from communities that include Carol Stream, Glen Ellyn, Warrenville, Wheaton and more.
One sponsor is Glen Ellyn’s Santa Fe Restaurant, which has provided gift cards twice for Prize Posse shows, General Manager Olga Jimenez said.
Jimenez hopes the sponsorship will help to spread the word about the restaurant wherever the group performs and that it will encourage new – and lasting – business.
“We really hope they like it and come back,” Jimenez said.
Prize Posse has other ties to the Glen Ellyn community as well, having played two shows at North Side Sports Bar and Grill, with plans to continue regular performances in the future.
The band has taken its show to West Chicago also, playing at Hawthorne’s Backyard, where owner Lou Kopinski is eager for them to them perform again.
“They’re just a very fun, energetic band,” Kopinski said. “They wake up your guests. They keep your guests going.”