Best of Springfield®

October finale

October finale
The Shenanigans, along with The Deep Hollow, perform at the BOS Center, Thursday, Oct. 25, for Illinois Times' Best of Springfield party.

Welcome, everyone, to the last weekend in October, one that brings us the annual Halloween functions, a few birthdays and the big bash of the “Best of Springfield” hoopla brought to you by us at Illinois Times.


By now the anticipation must be overwhelming about “Best of Springfield” as we affectionately term the whole “Best of Springfield” process of deciding categories, setting up the voting mechanisms, tallying the votes and writing the blurbs that describe the winners. Or perhaps it’s been so long since the whole shebang began that you forgot all about our annual contest where IT readers choose a few of their favorite things. Fear not, friends, for here we are.           


Of course, this is “Now Playing,” a column about live music performances, so we only care about the music-related categories (so sorry, best horseshoe and hair stylist; don’t take it personal) and, as usual, the competition was tough and the voting fierce. Congratulations to all who participated on all levels, from vote deliverers to vote recipients. The best way to celebrate the complete BoS package is by visiting the BOS (that’s Bank of Springfield) Center (a BoS winner, BTW) tonight (Oct. 25), from 5 to 9 p.m. for the second annual “Best of Springfield” party. For a reasonable entrance fee, you get to sample tons of food and gallons of drinks while listening to the music of The Deep Hollow and The Shenanigans. TDH didn’t win as a group, but individual members Micah, Elizabeth and Dave won several categories and The Shenanigans came up short in band winnings, but all of TDH is in the band, so it’s loaded with victorious BoS musicians, plus the entire group is number one in my books. Come join the fun so everything will become clear as a ring in a bell.


This whole weekend is packed with a wonderful assortment of music making, including the nearly legendary annual run of the Rocky Horror Picture Show at the Hoogland (Thursday, Friday and Saturday) complete with a live band and the usual ridiculously delightful audience participation. Also a familiar favorite, check out the final Farmer’s Market of 2018 on Saturday morning, as the whole couple blocks on Adams (between Fifth and Third streets) becomes a family-friendly spooky time with entertainment by Eldon and Troy Roark. On Sunday from 4 to 8 p.m. the Phoenix Center (near Second on Lawrence) hosts an October Pride Patio Halloween Party with a food truck, music by the amazing band Thornhill and a costume contest.


On Saturday night most of the bars will be filled with folks dressed in whatever crazy costumes are contrived to celebrate the Halloween holiday, held a few days before the real ghouls dance on All Hallow’s Eve in an attempt to capture those lost souls who are working for the weekend. Some will be hosting with live bands and several are doing cash contests for costumes, so check the “Pub Crawl” for spooktacular specifics or ask at your favorite haunted house of brews.


I’ve got a birthday on Friday, and you’re all cordially invited to help me celebrate at George Ranks on Friday (8-11) with a sordid assortment of fellow musicians and at Brookhills on Sunday (3-6) with Bad Bill Robinson and Tom Thady, plus a few more surprises. On Sunday (2-6) at the Curve Inn, Kristi Hawkins celebrates 50 years on earth with help from hubby Hipbone Sam leading Jack Flash in Stones songs and with RockHouse doing what they do best, which is rockin’ the house, plus a “sprinkling of special guests” also available for your listening pleasure.


Enjoy your Halloweening as responsibly as allowed, and see you in November!

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