CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — Allerton Park and Retreat Center will kick off its concert series Friday, May 6.
The “Kick Off Concert” for this year’s Allerton Park Concert Series will feature Paul Cebar Tomorrow Sound, playing roots, rhythm and blues, soul, and Brazilian, Cuban and African music. Starting off the evening is West of Staley, a local jazz combo of high school and college students playing jazz standards and original compositions.
The “Kick Off Concert” usually features Americana music – blues, bluegrass or roots – as well as younger acts such as West of Staley, said Derek Peterson, the associate director of park operations and organizer of the concert series. The “Kick Off Concert” is from 6-9 p.m. on the Gate House Lawn.
This year’s concert series will include a new event: “Allerton Festival,” a mid-September music festival that is still in the planning stages. It will be a one-night festival with a nationally known band, Peterson said, and he hopes it will evolve into a festival that spans multiple acts and days. The performers will be announced in June.
Peterson said Allerton is moving toward more festivals featuring national acts.
The other concert series events are:
- “Irish Fest,” June 3, 6-9 p.m., Gate House Lawn. Irish Fest will feature The Shanties, Amasong (the local award-winning lesbian/feminist chorus) and The Chicago Rovers. It will also include a Celtic Kids play area with activities.
- “Reds, Whites & the Blues,” July 1, 6-9 p.m., Gate House Lawn. This concert will pair the blues music of The Laurie Morvan Band with vendors offering a variety of wines.
- “Bluegrass on the Prairie,” Aug. 5, 6-9 p.m., the Meadow. The performers are the Henhouse Prowlers and Ben Miller Band, a progressive bluegrass band. “There’s a little more blues than grass. They’re interesting to listen to, and I think they’ll be a lot of fun,” Peterson said.
- “Allerton Barn Music Festival,” Sept. 22-23, 7-9 p.m., Allerton Music Barn. Advance ticket purchase required. This festival returns after a year off, now being organized by Allerton Park and Retreat Center rather than the U. of I. School of Music. It retains close ties with the School of Music, though, and Jupiter String Quartet will perform on the first night of the festival. Viktor Krauss – a Champaign native, composer and bassist who records and tours with Lyle Lovett and is the brother of Grammy award-winner Alison Krauss – will headline the second night.
Other than the “Allerton Festival” and the “Allerton Barn Music Festival,” all of the events cost $5 per person or $10 per family. Food vendors will be on-site for each of the concerts, and wine and beer will be sold. Audience members are encouraged to bring picnics, but no outside alcohol is allowed.
Rooms are available at the Allerton Mansion, Gate House and the House in the Woods for guests who want to stay overnight.