Smile Politely

Las Cafeteras: Bringing people OUTSIDE at Research Park

On Friday, July 8th, Krannert Center for the Performing Arts brought two unique flavors of music to Research Park in order to both entertain concert goers and raise awareness of monarch butterflies. In addition to the plethora of food and snack trucks available, plenty of booths were set up to display information related to these fancy-winged critters and engage children and adults alike about the importance of helping the monarchs flourish after their population declined by over 90% just a short time ago. From craft stations to free flowers to actual beetles and grasshoppers, there was plenty to do while waiting for the concert to kick off.

When the music did start, hometown heroes Bones Jugs brought their crazy fun style of ragtime music to get the crowd warmed up. Xylophone, upright bass, horns, kazoos, and even (you got it) jugs helped people envision that they were back in the countryside during the early 1900’s. A very family-friendly band, their lighthearted songs covered the gamut of pure carnival sound to tunes about coffee and local barbeque house Black Dog. If you haven’t had the chance to see this troupe perform, you should definitely check their schedule and make the time to go.

After a short intermission, in came Las Cafeteras with a show that was equal parts latin music, americana, oldies, dance performance, political poetry, and comedy. From fast tunes that included some stomp dancing to slower melodies that made the heart ache with the beauty of their harmonies, the group never once turned down their energy as they played to the gigantic crowd over the next two hours- including an encore!

Mixed throughout the performance was poetic commentary about racial, social, and economic equality and the need to treat everyone with love- a very poignant message given recent events around the nation. Taking to the crowd, the band even asked a few concert-goers what they would do if they were president, with answers ranging from raising the minimum wage to spreading essential oils in order to bring peace and love to the world. The end of the night saw a group of young local dancers brought to the front of the crowd, showing off their moves in fanciful outfits much to the delight of both the adults and the band.

Once the night was over, both Bones Jugs and Las Cafeteras spent time chatting up individuals and small groups- of which there were plenty, given that the concert lawn had been packed to almost overflowing. While you may be out of luck if you missed this show, you can check out Krannert Center’s calendar of events for more information on upcoming shows and activities. Make sure to take a look and don’t miss out on the fun!

About the author: Stephen N. Kemp

Stephen is an IT manager at the University of Illinois and has been a photographer with Smile Politely since 2015. Find his photography on Facebook, the web, or contact him directly via email.

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