click to enlarge Skibbereen plays the Old Capitol Farmers Market on Saturday morning at Fourth and Adams.
Skibbereen plays the Old Capitol Farmers Market on Saturday morning at Fourth and Adams.
Skibbereen plays the Old Capitol Farmers Market on Saturday morning at Fourth and Adams.

As we roll into the end-of-summertime weekend anchored by Labor Day on Monday, this seems like a good spot to reflect on an eventful summer of great music and incredible events. Sorry, though, we just don’t have time to look back, as the upcoming and incoming takes over from the done-did doings.

Skibbereen, our Celtic-based, world music-influenced band headed by longtime, hometown guitarist-songwriter-vocalist Hank Helton plays the Old Capitol Farmers Market on Saturday morning. The days of the market are waning so get down there for good music, fine eats and a wonderful atmosphere. That’s my kind of market share.

This weekend the Edinburg Labor Day Picnic comes to the small but active village a few miles down the road from Rochester on Route 29. Lots of fun is to be had including a good run of diverse live music with Ryan Ideus and the Feudin’ Hillbillies on Friday, The Brat Pack on Saturday plus 90s Daughter and Tennessee Borderline on Sunday.

You son-of-a-guns should make it to the ever delightful SOB festival held on Saturday, Sept. 5, from noon to 5 on the grounds of the Inn at 835 on Second street. Properly titled the Sixth Annual Springfield Oyster & Beer Festival, the rain-or-shine event hosted by the Conn family with help from a big bunch of good-willed townspeople and businesses sports a stupendous collection of craft beers and plenty of food (oysters plus other tasty choices) along with live music by The Deep Hollow and The MojoCats. Always a good time for a good cause, proceeds go to the MDA Central Illinois Chapter. To help ease the parking issue, use the shuttle service from Obed & Isaac’s. Then, when you’re done with the O and B, go to O and I’s for more fun in the sun and catch Matt Wingo playing from 6 to 9.

At Douglas Park on Saturday, check out the Fourth Annual Healing Arts Festival running from noon to 10 p.m. Wildwood Strings, Black Queen, Paddy’s Circus, Cody Wright and several others provide live music from the band shell stage, while vendors and speakers combine forces to offer folks the opportunity to find a healthy, healing lifestyle. Most definitely a family fun time, this is a special event of caring and kind people getting together to promote what’s good for you and all of us, so go for goodness sake.

Our old friends and talented musicians in Off the Wall are making a righteous run this weekend with four shows in three days. Friday finds the boys at the delightful grounds of the Long Bridge Golf Course by 6:30, then doing the fabulous set up (thanks Skip) at the Curve Inn at 6 on Saturday. On Sunday they make the pleasant jaunt to the bucolic beauty of the Prairie Hill Winery near Oakford to play 2 to 5, then saunter south for a Jacksonville Routt Dream House party at 8. Rock on, and on, and on, and on, my friends.

Speaking of rockin’ on, Crows Mill Pub hosts an all-star lineup on Sunday from 5 to 10 with Young Luck and The Groove Daddies, followed by Brooke Thomas and The Blue Suns. Now that’s a hot ticket.

Here’s a cool magazine interview with Springfield native and longtime Santa Cruz, Calif. resident Bill Laymon. Just look up “Bill Laymon/Ragazine” on your favorite online search engine and enjoy reading about our friend’s interesting trip of a life playing bass with some of rock ‘n’ roll’s most iconic characters.     

Don’t labor too hard this weekend, but do take the time to recognize the good our labor unions have done and do, and how hard we labored for the right to work well.

Contact Tom Irwin at

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