What’s going on in Central Illinois this weekend? Two music fests, PechaKucha (?!) & more

Good thing there isn’t another wilting heat wave on the forecast, because there’s plenty of reasons to stay outdoors this weekend.

Yes, we said music festivals

Downhome Music Festival (Springfield)

Downhome Music Festival

The 9th Annual Downhome Music Festival will feature all local, original live bands on four stages, plus local food vendors, 100 different craft beers, as well as a kids’ area with bouncy houses and more. At at the corner of 7th and Washington in Downtown Springfield.

Friday, July 26

  • 5:00 pm – Kyle M Gass Band
  • 5:30 pm – Tina Thornhill
  • 6 pm – Square Of The Roots
  • 6:30 pm – Offwhyte
  • 7:00 pm – Kate The Band
  • 7:45 pm – Rather Dashing
  • 8:15 pm – Josie Lowder
  • 9:00 pm – Micah Walk
  • 9:45 pm – Tom Irwin
  • 10:30 pm – The Mazed
  • 11:15 pm – Big Fur

Saturday, July 27

  • 2 pm – This is a Stick Up
  • 2:30 pm – Master Bastard
  • 3 pm – We Are Warm
  • 3:30 pm – The Complaint Line
  • 4 PM – Stick People
  • 4:00 pm – Iris Wake
  • 4:00 pm – Devin Williams
  • 4:45 pm Dexter Anodyne/Greenhouse Opera
  • 5:00 pm – Randy Erwin
  • 5:30 pm – Ben Bedford
  • 5:30 pm – Idle Oath
  • 6:15 pm – Wolf Crick Boys
  • 6:15 pm – Chris Sorenson
  • 7 pm – Mr. Opporknockity
  • 7 pm – Rhodes and Battles
  • 7:45 pm – Wayward Motel
  • 7:45 pm – LoneHollow
  • 8:30 pm – Park
  • 9:15 pm – NIL8
  • 10:15 pm – Torch Radio

Black Dirt Music Festival (Bloomington)

Black Dirt Music Festival

The Black Dirt Music Festival is a one-day music fest held in historic downtown Bloomington. The aim is to bring together diverse artists to celebrate music and community in the heart of the heartland. This inaugural event is family-friendly. Children 10 and under are free with paid adult. Acts include Chicago Farmer and Friends, Matthew Curry and Backyard Tire Fire.

Pecha-what now?!

PechaKucha is a storytelling format in which creators give short-form presentations about their work — and with all the creative energy in Champaign-Urbana, of course PechaKucha nights have to be a quarterly happening.

PechaKucha Night Champaign-Urbana Volume 30

PechaKucha Night Champaign-Urbana Volume 30

PechaKucha Night Champaign-Urbana is pleased to host its first outdoor session!

Presenters will be:

  • Nika Lucks on her new photo collection “Caution! M.I.A.”
  • Meghan Gentry on why foster care should be at the forefront of the CU community’s mind
  • Micaela Lennon (WEFT Community Radio DJ) on domestic violence
  • Darren Pascavage, head of school at Academy High, on the formation of this rsearch-based high school
  • Samantha Osborne on the impact of typography on written communication
  • Nikaiya Brandon on working in special recreation
  • Elizabeth Sotiropoulos (educator)
  • Dave Matthews will try to demistify artificial intelligence

Also check out the concurrent CUDO Post-It Show opening reception.


We have one new exhibition:

“CUDO Post-It Show” (Urbana)

CUDO Post-It Show

The Champaign-Urbana Design Organization brought together these CU-area artists and designers to cover the Analog Gallery in Post-It notes:

  • Carly Benny
  • Judiee Lee
  • Katie Khau
  • Kristy Lau
  • Marc-Anthony Macon
  • Matt Wiley
  • Maxx Gogski
  • Phil Strang
  • Ralph Roether
  • Scott Barber

Gallery Hours

Thursday-Saturday 5 pm – 9 pm

And last call for three others exhibits:

“Eastern Europe: Kindred Cultures” (Decatur)

Eastern Europe - Kindred Cultures

The Decatur Area Arts Council is presenting its annual International Arts Experience featuring the exhibition “Eastern Europe: Kindred Cultures” from June 7-July 29. The exhibit includes a wide array of authentic Eastern European folk art, fine art and artifacts on loan from private collectors as well as the Spurlock Museum and the Russian, East European, Eurasian Center at the University of Illinois and the Giertz Education Center at Krannert Art Museum.

Gallery Hours

  • Friday: 8:30 am – 4:30 pm
  • Saturday: 10 am – 2 pm

“Wabi-Sabi” (Decatur)


In Japanese, Wabi-Sabi means nothing lasts, nothing is finished, nothing is perfect – a concept artist Jen Watkins explores in this unique photography exhibition.

Gallery Hours

Friday: 9 am – 5 pm
Saturday: 10 am – 2 pm

“15, 16, 17, 18: BHS Selects from the International Collection of Child Art” (Normal)

15, 16, 17, 18: BHS Selects from the International Collection of Child Art

Curated by the Bloomington High School students participating in University Galleries’ inaugural Teen Arts group, the exhibition features a selection of 50 artworks from Milner Library’s International Collection of Child Art. See our coverage.

Community Festivals

In addition to these, there’s probably also a county fair near you.

Warrensburg Corn Festival

Warrensburg Corn Festival

Inflatables, local bands and musicians, dodgeball, tomahawk throwing and of course corn-shucking – this festival in Warrensburg (near Decatur) has a little something for everyone. Sweet corn is the main attraction, but don’t miss the kids’ activities (including pony rides and the mobile Scovill Zoo) and local arts and crafts vendors.

Urbana’s Downtown Get Down

Urbana's Downtown Get Down

The City of Urbana’s Arts and Culture Program, Urbana Park District, 40 North 88 West Champaign County Arts Council, The Urbana Free Library, and the Urbana Business Association are proud to present the Downtown Get Down, a downtown events series that will take place on the fourth Saturday of the month May-August on Main Street in the heart of Downtown Urbana!

  • 5:00 pm – 6:30 pm: IDEAL Dj Wesjile
  • 6:30 pm – 8 pm: Live music from live music from Ther.Up’Y

Some theater, of course

Three of these plays are part of the Illinois Shakespeare Festival, which is winding down.

Godspell (Bloomington)


The 2019 Miller Park Summer Theater production will be Godspell, the popular Stephen Schwartz/John-Michael Tebelak musical based on parables from the Gospels of Matthew and Luke, with a score that runs the gamut from pop and folk rock to gospel and vaudeville. Through July 28 at the Miller Park Bandstand.

The Addams Family Musical (Bloomington)

The Addams Family Musical

In this 2009 musical comedy with music and lyrics by Andrew Lippa and the book by Marshall Brickman and Rick Elice, Wednesday Addams is 18 and ready to have her own life – and she’s in love with Lucas Beineke, a perfectly normal boy from an Ohio family that’s coming to the Addams family’s mansion for dinner. Hilarity ensues, along with revelations that force everyone’s favorite spooky(ish) family to confront change.

Presented at Bloomington’s Community Players Theatre through July 28. Rated PG-13 – parental guidance suggested (adult innuendo, profanity, and scenes containing torture).

Pride and Prejudice (Bloomington)

Pride and Prejudice

The 42nd Illinois Shakespeare Festival presents a lively rendition of Jane Austen’s ever-popular novel about the complicated Regency era relationship between Elizabeth Bennett and Mr. Darcy. Through Aug. 8 at the Ewing Cultural Center.

As You Like It (Bloomington)

As You Like It

Amid much court intrigue in the Forest of Arden, Rosalind dresses up as a boy to teach her beloved, Orlando, how to properly woo a woman in this William Shakespeare pastoral comedy filled with gender reversals. Presented as part of the 42nd Illinois Shakespeare Festival through Aug. 8 at the Ewing Cultural Center.

Caesar (Normal)


The 42nd Illinois Shakespeare Festival presents a modern, media-saturated take on William Shakespeare’s classic tragedy about the downfall of Julius Caesar. Through Aug. 10 at the ISU Center for the Performing Arts.

Some quirky things that got our attention

Archaeology Day (Champaign)

Archaeology Day

The Orpheum Children’s Science Museum is celebrating the anniversary of its Archaeology Field Station and Excavation Unit on Saturday, July 27, at 2 pm. Families can learn about ancient people and places as they become amateur archaeologists with activities and displays provided by the Spurlock Museum and East Central Illinois Archaeological Society.

Kombucha with Flowers: A Home Brew Workshop (Champaign)

Kombucha with Flowers: A Home Brew Workshop

Farmer Holly (a long-time kombucha home brewer) will teach this class on how kombucha works, and how to make your own at home using simple ingredients and supplies at Delight Flower Farm on Sunday, July 28, at 4 pm. The class will take a short farm tour and will harvest herbal flowers from Delight Flower Farm to brew the tea. We will go through the entire process from start to finish, and participants will be able to sample home brew kombucha and herbs. Tickets ($25) and pre-registration are required.

Central Illinois Buzz

Written by Central Illinois Buzz

Covering the good life in central Illinois.

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Photos: 'CUDO Post-It Show' @ Analog

Photos: ‘CUDO Post-It Show’ @ Analog