Our History and Mission

To help the public build an understanding that Down syndrome is UP, to promote Down syndrome awareness and open the world to the inspirational journeys of individuals with Down syndrome and their families and to break down barriers that still exist in today’s society towards anything or anyone who is different.

In 2007 Cholly Kenney, one of ROCK FOR CHOP’s founders, approached Mike Slachta, owner and G.M. of Duffer’s Tavern in Glen Mills, Pennsylvania, for permission to host a beef and beer fundraiser. The goal of this event was to benefit the Trisomy 21 program at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. Cholly, father to daughter Kara who was born with Down syndrome, was determined to raise awareness and much needed funds for the Children’s hospital’s Down syndrome clinic.

When Kenney told the Duffer’s owner his initial plan for the event Slachta was immediately interested in helping the cause, but his response was, “Let’s make it bigger.” The event was transformed from a simple beef and beer to a full scale indoor/outdoor music festival featuring 15 local bands, great food, games and fun activities for families, known as DufferFest.

DufferFest helped raise over $85,000.00 in just three years. All of which would not have been possible without the efforts of the staff, patrons of Duffer’s and generosity of The Slachta family.

After taking a year away from planning to concentrate on family and daughter Kara’s transition into a new school, Cholly Kenney teamed up with Brendon Murphy and Geoff Lyman to create a new festival. One that would continue the Dufferfest mission to raise awareness and funds for CHOP. Driven to create more than just a yearly event the 3 founders quickly mapped out the guidelines for the charity foundation now known as ROCK FOR CHOP. Of course, a family friendly festival would remain at the heart of our fund raising efforts. Enter the UP Festival.

Many people that were instrumental in making DufferFest a success are still with us as ROCK FOR CHOP volunteers. The ROCK FOR CHOP “road crew” as we call them, is a huge part of the preparation and production of the UP Festival.

DufferFest provided a solid foundation for ROCK FOR CHOP to build on. Which we will do here on out with the UP Fest. However, we would like to acknowledge that we would not be here today without Duffer’s Tavern, the incredible volunteers and the willingness of Mike Slachta and family to put business second and give back to the community.

We would like to extend our gratitude towards Duffers Tavern for helping individuals with Down syndrome and the Trisomy 21 program at CHOP. To Duffer’s Tavern and the Sachta family… YOU ROCK!.

Brendon MurphyCholly KenneyGeoffrey Lyman

Our Logo:
The T21 in our logo stands for Trisomy 21, the medical term for what occurs to the 21st chromosome in individuals with Down syndrome. It is when a 3rd #21 chromosome develops, rather than a typical #21 pair. CHOP is the acronym for the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. ROCK is what we all do when promoting Down syndrome awareness. Thanks to everyone who is helping to support our cause, YOU ROCK!


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