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Thursday, July 28, 2016 12:03 am

Downhome and doings

Ayo Abitogun and HISO music groups play Wet Bar in downtown Springfield on Friday night.


Ready or not, here comes the last weekend in July 2016, jam-packed with all kinds of cool music events to make the time fly by even faster.

The sixth annual Downhome Music, Beer and Art Festival held at Seventh and Washington Streets takes the cake as the big event this weekend, starting on Friday at 5 p.m. and again on Saturday at 2 p.m., going into the wee hours of both nights. The music stays constant with several stages, indoors and out. The music is all local, all original, all the time in an effort to showcase a good percentage of the Springfield scene’s musicians playing their own tunes. Unique in design, the festival divides the gate proceeds evenly with the performers, and whatever money acts raise from selling tickets before the event is theirs to keep. Volunteers help keep the show going and a good time is had by all, bringing the local scene together through a community of music and music fans, ably helped by lots of good craft beer and plenty of art vendors. Thanks goes to Josh Catalano and the many other folks who volunteered for long hours and devoted so much to make this festival a special one for all, keeping it fun and exciting while strongly boosting interest in this area of the local music scene. The full lineup with bands and schedules is on the event’s Facebook page.

On Saturday, from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., experience the East Side Summer Arts Festival sponsored by the Garvey-Tubman Cultural Arts and Research Center at Ms. D’s Kitchen, Bar and Grill (1031 S. 11th St.). The festival features music by stellar Springfield musicians Crisp, Roberts, Carey and Parker, Charhm with Ada Lou and The Bruce Clark Band along with delicious soul food from Ms. D’s, spoken word, art, vendors, dancing and a whole bunch of down-home fun. Bring your own lawn chairs and come spend some time on the east side.

On Friday night at Wet Bar downtown, Ayo Abitogun, founder of HISO Music, hosts a night of music with the SOHI House Band backing Ayo, Sammy Flores, Matt Wingo and Blackesther. Ayo, who plays music while providing services for other artists through his entertainment company, is also a DJ on WQNA 88.3FM every Wednesday. He will announce the opening date for his HISO Studio complex in Springfield at the Friday event.

On Sunday take a break from the rock ‘n’ roll world and enjoy some non-original music as the Springfield Municipal Band performs at Southwind Park under the Selvaggio Arches from 7 to 8 p.m. The SMB is celebrating 80 years of being sponsored by the city of Springfield, making our band one of the longest running around. I can be proud of that accomplishment. By the way, it’s “Hawaiian Shirt Night” for you and the band as the Springfield Park District presents the Elvis Presley film Blue Hawaii for your viewing pleasure around dusk. I am also proud of that accomplishment.

You can round out the week with a show on Monday at The Alamo by Australian native, singer-songwriter, bassist and happening, colorful blues artist Anni Piper. She’s out in support of a new record, More Guitars than Friends, and also plays the Walnut Street Winery on Wednesday for an encore show. I spoke with her last week as she prepared to get the band out on the road. Her plans include several shorter tours in 2016, making the rounds to new places, old hangouts and always keeping the crowd going with her special charm of blues and fun.

Pack up your bags and head for August; the state fair is a-coming.

Contact Tom Irwin at


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Wednesday June 26th