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Thursday, July 7, 2005 01:20 pm

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Any Rooftop Roots Festival fans remember last year’s soggy bottom show?

About a song-and-a-half into the event, a raging tempest helped us all decide the best way to enjoy a rooftop in this festival was over our heads. All turned out dry and well though, thanks to the helpful hands of volunteers hauling gear and non prima donna artists happily moving into various venues of the Hilton and performing near to their originally scheduled times and playing beyond them.

Here’s hoping this year’s show is dry with a beautiful not-too-hot July sky shining down upon it. The concert held on top of the Hilton parking garage features national headlining acts on a main stage and local groups playing off to the side in between the big boy sets. Curiously enough all the major artists have been in the national media lately. Last Train Home was scheduled to perform on CBS’s Late, Late Show last Friday, but taped a show for broadcast in August instead. Southern Culture on the Skids appears July 7 on Chicago’s WGN television. Paul Burch, who played the Underground City Tavern last year, recently helped produce the soundtrack for the PBS series The Appalachians. And internationally famous blues man Corey Harris made it into Martin Scorsese’s PBS series on the blues. Now they all come together to play on a parking garage roof in Springfield? Yepper, that’s right.

The locals all have some interesting tidbits as well. Mr. Opporknockity, voted by readers of Illinois Times as Best of Springfield rock band in 1999 and 2000, opens the roots music show with an acoustic set. Whinebox, recently seen on the cover of the SJ-R while performing at the Sojourner Truth Music Festival in downtown Springfield, is up next. Yours truly follows with fellow Springfield High Jazz Band members Nick Teeter and Dylan Burns in our first performance or second practice, depending how you look at it. Jill Manning fresh from her spring showcase at the esteemed Bluebird Café in Nashville, Tenn., finishes the area stage shows.

It’s quite an interesting collection of music and even more interesting that it’s happening in Springfield, the place where nothing ever happens. Or have you noticed a tad bit more excitement seeping into our entertainment world in the last few years?

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