Downhome and more

click to enlarge Downhome and more
Epsom (deluxe edition) entertains the crowd at 5:30 p.m. this Friday during the Downhome Music Festival, downtown at Seventh and Washington streets.

Welcome to our little neck of the woods, or should we say piece of the prairie, to include another prominent ecosystem formerly found in central Illinois. This week we continue to march forward with more and more live music available for your listening pleasure. So sit back and read, then get up and go, to enjoy all that awaits you and yours out there in our musical landscape.

And speaking of things musical, this is the final weekend to catch the spectacular production of one of the finest American-made musicals ever, as The Music Man completes a several-week run at the Legacy Theatre (on Lawrence Avenue near Second Street). The Legacy motto for the event says, "Let's go on with the show!" and while we're at it, let's apply that phrase to all our entertainment factions in town and indeed, go on with the show. Contact the theater office for more information and ticket availability, and remember to be like Harold Hill and "always think there's a band, kid," because in this music column, there always is one.

Every Thursday for most of the summer we've had bands playing on the Y-block area, sponsored by the Downtown Springfield Heritage Foundation, along with the participation of several other local businesses and organizations, through the generosity of the Levitt AMP folks as a concert series. Now if you haven't heard about it yet, please hurry out from beneath your rock and get down there, because only two concerts are remaining for 2021. Kapital Sound opens for Bassel and the Supernaturals on July 29, while Ratboys, along with Nectar, close out the season on Aug. 5. Thanks to all who worked so hard to make this dream a reality, especially with all the extras that needed to be done to deal with pandemic-related issues.

Another very good sign of things heading back to normal are the return of house concerts. I've seen several on the national level going again, and here locally we have the wonderful folks at the Paris-Belle House in Williamsville all set for Carol Montag this Saturday, July 31, along with Chris Vallillo on Aug. 28 and Rupert Wates on Oct. 16. There will be plenty of room to spread out and enjoy the sounds, so please contact your hosts through the Paris-Belle Facebook page or by email at to experience these intimate concerts in a lovely home setting.

Now for the big news, as the Downhome Music Festival lands downtown on Friday and Saturday this weekend on Seventh Street with stages at Washington and Adams, plus an acoustic set-up inside at Anvil and Forge. The lineup features local bands playing all-original music with 10 acts on Friday, starting at 5 p.m. (DJs from 10:45 to midnight) and 17 acts on Saturday, starting at 2 p.m., including the acoustic stage performances. All kinds of craft beers are available as well, emphasizing the creativity of beer brewers and music-makers alike, a good pairing by anyone's judgement.

Joshua Catalano, the driving force behind Downhome since its inception several years ago, keeps the wheels turning behind the scenes, while also bringing his own band, Wayward Motel, to the stage at 9:15 p.m. on Saturday night. Along with the emphasis on Springfield-scene, original bands, the event also uses all the gate money after expenses ($5 in advance or $6 day of show), to pay the bands, a unique feature in local festivals and one greatly appreciated by the musicians involved. Please look at the listings and make your choices, then go out to support the scene.