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Wednesday, May 21, 2008 09:13 am

Hot time in the city

Springfield announces lineup of summer music festivals

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Southern California folk rockers Venice play the Hoogland Center for the Arts on June 28

Music fans don’t want to hear this reporter wax ecstatic about Loretta Lynn’s classic coo (she’s scheduled to play Sangamon Auditorium on June 28) or the return to the summer stage of Springfield favorite the Micah Walk Band (performing at the SOHO Music Festival on June 7).
No, capital-city rockers, Illinois Times knows what you want: a laundry list of bands performing within driving distance that could rock you like a hurricane.

Seeing music has never been so easy. This summer, just step out your front door for your festival fix. The SOHO Music Festival (June 6-7) kicks off the summer with the annual showcase of local music to benefit the Mini O’Beirne Crisis Nursery. The schedule features 20 smokin’ performances by such acts as the Perfunctory This Band, the Sugar Free Allstars, 56 Hope Road, and the Damwell Betters. On June 28, music fans will have three — yes, three! — options: The Coal Miner’s Daughter herself, Loretta Lynn, performs at Sangamon Auditorium; across town, sentimental Southern California folk-rockers Venice present their Eagles-style music at the Hoogland Center for the Arts; and the Washington Street Jazz Festival, a local favorite, sets up shop downtown, with sets by local groups the Beatniks, the Pauline York Band, Bob Katt and the Missing Links, and Pleasure Chest. Delta Highway, a Memphis-based blues band, and saxophonist Glenn Wilson round out the long day of music. The lineup for the American Music Stage at Taste of Downtown (July 12) has been set, and history repeats itself: The caliber of music booked for this year’s event is just as good as that in years past. Bands scheduled to take the stage include local chanteuse Eva Hunter and her band, followed by New York-based ’60s throwbacks the Hi-Risers. Marti Brom, backed by Rocky Velvet, blends rockabilly with a twist of retro. This year’s headliner is Dale Watson, a true-blue country musician whose work is reminiscent of that of Waylon Jennings and Merle Haggard. The Deadstring Brothers, country-rockers, close out the evening. In August, downtown hosts the Old Capitol Blues and BBQs (Aug. 23) festival, featuring a meaty lineup of popular blues musicians and delicious barbecue. Although the schedule has yet to be released, if last year’s lineup, featuring Cajun slide guitarist Sonny Landreth and harmonica man Bill Lupkin, is any indication, the barbecue isn’t the only thing that will be hot. The Illinois State Fair (Aug. 8-17) brings to town a parade of nationally known performers, including Fergie, Weird Al Yankovic, Huey Lewis and the News, ZZ Top, Brooks and Dunn, Vanessa Hudgens, and Trace Adkins.

The Central Illinois Metalfest (July 18-20), featuring 35 in-your-face metal bands, is held at the Canopy Club in Champaign. The 2008 Decatur Celebration (Aug.1-3), dubbed “Dancing in the Streets,” features a parade of nationally recognized performers, which in years past has included Boyz II Men and the BoDeans.


Luckily, Springfield is within range of St. Louis and its music, including the annual Live on the Levee series (July 11-Aug 2) and Fair Saint Louis (July 4 and 5). The Pageant’s summer schedule includes Robert Earl Keen with the North Mississippi All-Stars (May 24), Del tha Funky Homosapien (June 7), Modest Mouse (July 1), and Ted Nugent (July 31).

If gas prices haven’t topped, say $100 a gallon, be sure to get on the road and head north for great music. Chicago hosts festivals galore, including Lollapalooza at Grant Park (Aug. 1-3), featuring diverse headliners Kanye West, Radiohead, and Rage Against the Machine. If your tastes run a little further underground, visit the Pitchfork Music Festival (July 18-20) for a dose of music at Union Park from rap pioneers Public Enemy, Wu-Tang’s Ghostface and Raekwon, avant-garde rockers Animal Collective, and Spiritualized. Other festivals of note: the Chicago Blues Festival (June 5-8) and Chicago Jazz Festival (Aug. 28-31).
Contact Marissa Monson at mmonson@illinoistimes.com.


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