Smile Politely

Preview: Illinites Music Festival

Anyone who was around when the Courtyard was still doing regular shows probably remembers that there were some issues, usually having to do with nobody showing up. That’s not to say the space hasn’t hosted some amazing shows (Man Man, Silversun Pickups and Jose Gonzalez come to mind), but I’d imagine hearing “music” and “Illini Union” in the same sentence probably brings up some trepidation for some people. But with the full promotional muscle of the Illinites banner behind tonight’s show, I’m not too worried about it. Granted, I don’t think your typical Illinites patron is going to be big on local music, but the staff at IUB have assembled an excellent lineup with very broad appeal, and you really can’t beat free. While the impending rain has forced the planned outdoor stage to move inside, thus bumping the “B” stage to the downstairs food court, the show goes on.

According to James Castillo and Molly Fremgren, two of the main people behind the event, the idea was born out of a desire to something different for the year’s last Illinites, and a realization that there wasn’t a whole lot of music happening on campus in the spring. As Castillo put it, “You look at the University of Iowa, and they’ve got the Decemberists and New Pornographers in their student union…and that’s just like next week.” Booking began in February, with Gold Motel being the first confirmed band, and Elsinore soon followed (this will be their first show back since Dave Pride’s injury in December. The rest of the lineup followed, with the last band (the Sexmoans) being added just this Wednesday. With the typical draw for a non-musical Illinites hovering around 1000 people — I’m guessing a few hundred more show up for the bands — things will hopefully get pretty packed. Fortunately, someone decided to stagger the schedule, which simplifies things bigtime.

Stage I (Second Floor Ballroom):

8:30 – Jay Moses

9:30 – Elsinore

11:00 – Gold Motel

Stage U (Courtyard Cafe):

9:00 – Grandkids

10:00 – Dave Coresh

11:00 – The Sexmoans

12:00 – Santah

Stage B (Food Court):

9:15 – Arkansas Dogjaw

10:30 – Great Life

11:45 – Zach May and the Maps

I can only imagine how daunting putting something like this together is. With ten bands on three simultaneous stages, each on a different floor, and a large crowd expected, this is shaping up to be one of the bigger shows in Union history. I got the overwhelming impression that James and Molly are on top of things, and there’s no way this goes down as anything but a success.

The Illinites Music Festival runs from 8:30 p.m. 1:00 a.m. tonight at the Illini Union. Admission is FREE. While the music is obviously the main attraction, there will also be free food, including pancakes (!!), cheap bowling, temporary tattoos, and a photo booth.

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