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Thursday, June 7, 2012 03:06 pm

Musical donations


A view from the stage as the crowd enjoys live music at the SOHO Fest last weekend.

Now that the SOHO Fest in lovely downtown Springfield is in the books for 2012, the controversy about the early closing of small festivals downtown will subside, but other events are approaching and the issue needs to be addressed.

According to SOHO organizer Eric Welch, this “was the most successful event by far we’ve ever had.” The success, always tied to the weather, reached higher numbers this year thanks to clear skies and the amount of folks who came to support the festival in concept as well as to enjoy, proving a popular belief in the event.

“At this point I can’t give totally accurate numbers but we had around 6,000 attending this year,” said Welch. “With over 250 people helping out, counting the 80 SOHO volunteer workers, plus the bands that donated time to play, we had a great turnout. I’m hopeful this makes an impression of the good things we do for Springfield, so they’ll let us stay open next year.”

Another reason to consider the “good things” is the sizable donation going to the Mini O’Beirne Crisis Nursery in a time of great need. Welch has yet to count all the pennies and pay all the bills (more money to local businesses by the way) before figuring the exact amount, but he believes the donation will be around $10,000. That’s a good thing.  Aldermen Cory Jobe, Sam Cahnman and Frank Edwards were in appearance at the fest with no other alderperson or city official sightings reported.

After Welch and volunteers cleaned up the streets on Sunday – “I went back three times to be sure we got everything” – the only complaint the city could muster concerned children’s chalk drawings on the sidewalks near the Old Capitol. Perhaps this entire incident will prompt those involved in the decision making process to use more thoughtfulness and research, improve the communication process within our city and to remember that involving those touched by decisions is the best way to discover needs and uncover facts.

Be sure to attend the Pre-Girl-A-Thon Fundraiser this Sunday at the Curve Inn from 1 to 6 p.m. to help cancer research by supporting Girl-A-Thon on Oct. 7. They’ll have food, an auction, and draw the lucky ticket for the Jorja-Raine acoustic Dean guitar autographed by Bret Michaels that’s been raffled off for months. Live music comes from  Hipbone Sam, The Yippies, 808, Bustin’ Loose and Powerhouse with a special guest appearance by the fabulous Girl-A-Thon Band. You go girls… and boys too.

Another not to miss Sunday fundraiser is the Rock ’n Bowl at Strike-n-Spare West starting at 2 for a young friend, Zach Bouland, diagnosed last August with stage III colon cancer and fighting it all the way. There’ll be kids’ activities with prizes, bowling for $5, cool raffles for Umphrey’s McGee items and an autographed Phil Lesh poster, plus DJ Mark. Live music starts at 4 with Micah Walk, Joe Frew and Ryan Jugan, Sarah Schneider, Deep Lunar Blue, Murder of Crowes and Ted Keylon. More info is at  

I’m doing a fundraiser at the Clayville Historic Site on Saturday night from 8 to 10. The Pleasant Plains Historical Society and the local community have done a tremendous job of rescuing the old place from near extinction, but can always use more help. The music selections include a live performance of Sangamon Songs with help from Theresa O’Hare, John Irwin and Samuel Irwin. Admission is free but donations are accepted. Proceeds are split between the Clayville site and the O.W. Young/A. Clyde Irwin, Jr. (my dad) Masonic Memorial Fund at Pleasant Plains High. Bring lawn chairs and bug spray and come on out.

Isn’t that nice to see all the good music made to support charitable functions? Bravo, my friends, bravo!

Contact Tom Irwin at

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