Fair time folks
It’s time for the Illinois State Fair, and that means it’s fairly crazy in Springfield for about 10 days. I promise no puns every year, but that just wouldn’t be fair, would it? And I couldn’t be fairly reporting the music news if I only did the fair without relating some of the other fantastic happenings that would be fair to talk about during this time of year.
And one of the first in that category would be a free public event entitled, “The Country and the City: Christine Brewer and Noam Pikelny in Performance,” presented by Illinois Humanities this Friday evening at the Old State Capitol. There will be panelists from around the state to discuss issues “about rural and urban divisions and connections” and then to add entertainment to your education, a free concert by operatic soprano Christine Brewer (acclaimed as one of the top 20 sopranos of all time) and banjoist Noam Pikelny (of Punch Brothers fame and more). Both of these superb musicians, outstanding in their respective fields, are natives of the prairie state. The discussion begins at 5:30 with a performance by the musicians at 7 p.m.. A conversation with Matt Meacham follows, as the performers discuss their careers and how they got to where they are from where they were raised. Sounds more than fairly interesting to me.
Now to be fair, we should list a fair-related event, so how about the Kevin Lucas Experience at the Ethnic Village stage, this week on Friday and Tuesday at 1:30 p.m. and then a final performance on Sunday, August 18, at 4:30 p.m. Kevin is beyond brilliant on the marimba and percussion instruments, receiving accolades from Huffington Post and other press outlets, plus winning major songwriting kudos from Billboard magazine and the American Songwriting Awards. In July of 2019 he released one of his most ambitious pieces yet, a remake of and retake on the Genesis song, Land of Confusion. Take a look at the video on YouTube so you’ll be prepared for the full effect of this enlivened version if you see it live on stage at the fair.
Now off we go to what folks call the Southside Fair, held at the Curve Inn annually to coexist with the ISF doings. Ami and crew create a fair-like atmosphere with corn dogs and spiked lemon shake-ups (yum!) along with a slate of nightly live music to make you feel like you’re in a beer tent, without all that’s normally associated with doing so. Always a highlight is David Lumsden’s Hues of Blues, a gathering of the top guitarists in the area for the occasion. This, the third year, happens on Sunday night from 6 to 9:30 and features Dave’s band with Charles Tiner and includes guest guitarists Andon Davis (Ted), Greg Pasenko (BlueJazz) and Bill Evans (Machine Gun) to make it a fairly decent list of fantabulous guitarists who all started out in Springfield before conquering worlds beyond in fine and fair fashion through musical ways.
Back to the fair, which gives us so much to choose from I don’t know where to begin other than to say, with a lowering of the fair fares and our new director adding back some tried-and-true notions, it looks like fun is in the air for the fair. And to return to outside-the-fair activities, remember that bars and clubs are allowed to stay open until 3 in the morning, if they follow proper municipal protocol, so woo-hoo.
Well, I hope I have covered fair and non-fair music activities in a fair fashion for you.