Aug 11, 2012

Scenes from the 2012 Downhome Music Festival

Well, I’m back to full blogging capacity, which means I have my computer fully operational again and Internet in my new place, so I can post from home.  And with the Downhome Music Festival already a week behind us, I figured I’d better post about it before it was too late. 

In its second year, the event was expanded to the Downhome Music, Beer & Arts Festival for 2012, with all the action taking place between the two sponsor bard – Brewhaus and Celtic Mist.  And while they’re still working some of the kinks out from an organizational standpoint (as a volunteer this year, I experienced some of this first-hand), the music and beer really provide a full day and night of fun. 

Since I was working a gate the first half of the festival, I decided to devote much of this blog post to what’s really at the heart of the festival – the bands.  That’s because the proceeds from the event go to the local musicians who play in it. 

We start with the fashionably late-starting Murder of Crows (blues rock and bluegrass) …

… followed by Telegraph 3 A.M.  An article in the Illinois Times once described their type of rock as Radiohead meets Drive-By Truckers.  That seems pretty close to me.

At 3:45 p.m., one of my personal favorites, Dooley & Owen Present Keith Voegele & Reggie Britton (but they really have to do something about shortening that name up a bit). If you know anything about the music scene in Springfield, this is like the Traveling Wilburys of local talent getting together to play.    

From left to right, Keith, Dooley, Reggie and Owen.

This, I believe is the increasingly popular Red Letter Merchant (alt/rock) getting ready to play the main stage after Dooley, Owen, etc.  I had to hurry back to my post as the crowds were increasing …

Back on the small stage, a lot of musicians as Black Magic Johnson featured several guest performers.  A little blues, a rock and a little jazz throw in as well.  One of my personal philosophies toward music is that it’s always better with horns. 

At 6:45 p.m., on the main stage, audiences were entertained by the hard-driving roots rock of Josh Catalano & the Dirty Thoughts.  Josh, by the way, is among the several driving forces behind Downhome and seemed to be everywhere throughout the day and night checking on things. 

And another Keith Voegele (left) sighting as well.  Josh, center, is on lead vocals. 

Moving on, it wouldn’t be a Springfield music festival without Tom Irwin, whose Sunday night appearances at Brewhaus have been a tradition since the place opened up in the mid-90s. 

Tom Irwin
And Owen Irwin ... this one's for you, ladies.
The Station brought their popular progressive rock to the main stage around 8:45 p.m. 

And Nil8 closed the festival. I thought this was kind of a coup, since they don’t play that often anymore.  But when they do play, they bring the heavy punk rock with a vengeance!  

Oh, I should also mention something about the beer, although to be honest, I preferred to wet my whistle at the Brewhaus.  The festival organizers did a really nice job bringing in a wide variety of distributors from throughout the area, and having them all centrally located under one large tent created a nice, large gathering place for people.  Most drinks were reasonable, given they’re not your average beer, at $4 or $5.  So, hopefully, they can continue to build on that concept for next year.   

The art portion … ehhh … not so much.  Unless they plan on expanding further and can get more artists there, maybe the focus should just be on the music and beer. 

Finally, there were several food vendors there.  But honestly, when I saw this, my mind was quickly made up. 

If you ever run across this guy at a festival and like your barbecue, get it!

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