Smile Politely

Krannert Center hosting Opening Night Party on September 9th

The students are back; the students are back. While this almost certainly means an additional five minutes on whatever commute you may have, it also means that Krannert Center, perhaps Champaign-Urbana’s largest cultural asset, is back at it again with a full schedule of events.

They’ll be kicking off those events next Friday, September 9th, throughout their beautiful lobby, and accompanied by Pedrito Martinez, Davina & The Vagabonds and Red Baraat. For more info, check out the press release below:


Featuring The Pedrito Martinez Group, Davina and The Vagabonds, and Red Baraat

Fr Sep 9 at 6pm (food sales begin and doors open at 6pm)
The Pedrito Martinez Group, 6:30pm, Lobby (Stage 6)
Davina and The Vagabonds, 7:45pm, Lobby (Stage 5)
Red Baraat, 8:45pm, Lobby (Stage 6)
Lobby and Terraces

Urbana, IL—Summer might be at its end, but at Krannert Center things are just beginning to heat up! The 2016-17 season is bursting forth on opening night with all-ages energy, a fresh mix of revelers, lively activities (including large-scale community coloring, craft projects, and temporary tattoos), the wafting invitation from fabulous outdoor food vendors (including Rick’s Bakery, Caribbean Grill, Piato, Siam Terrace, KoFusion, and El Oasis), and a triple lineup of musical masters.

Grammy-nominated Cuban percussionist Pedrito Martinez brings to life the sophisticated and high-energy Afro-Cuban rhythms of his homeland. Seamlessly blending pop and folk music, Martinez is a first-rate, charismatic entertainer, prized in collaborations with Paul Simon, Bruce Springsteen, Lady Gaga, and Krannert Center favorite Wynton Marsalis, who says “Pedrito is a genius.”

Those who attended OUTSIDE at the Research Park 2014 will be eager for the rollicking return of the smoky-voiced Davina Sowers with the solid backing of her Memphis-meets-Chicago blues band, The Vagabonds. With dazzling keyboard skills, sultry soul swagger, and a dash of wit, Davina infuses the American Songbook with appealing panache and just the right amount of nostalgia.

Rounding out the night is the crew NPR called “the best party band in years.” The pioneering eight-piece force of nature known as Red Baraat was founded in New York by dhol player Sunny Jain and merges the sounds of hard-driving North Indian Bhangra with a twist of rock, jazz, and go-go. A raucous horn section, three master percussionists, and don’t forget the guitarist and sousaphone players, make it their mission to manifest joy and unity through scorching sets of unstoppable rhythmic fun.

General admission tickets are just $5 (kids 5 and under are free but need a ticket) and are available at or by calling 217.333.6280.

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