More than corn at Urbana festival

This weekend heralds the return of my favorite annual event this side of Kankakee, the Urbana Sweetcorn Festival. As if the plentiful corn weren’t enough to draw me and the rest of East Central Illinois, there is a fantastic musical line-up to accompany the edibles. The Urbana Business Association, with booking agent Ian Goldberg, has scheduled a variety of local and nation-wide known acts on three stages over two days.
The Miller Main Stage will no doubt be the draw this weekend, with a number of impressive acts. Friday night will most certainly be a celebration suited to Urbana, as it is an evening focused on progressive rock and jam band mentality. The night opens with local act Zmick, who has performed this year at both Summercamp Music Festival and Universal Rhythm Assembly Festival. To follow Zmick is Cornmeal, a popular bluegrass band from Chicago. The main stage closes up with ZoSo, a California grown Led Zeppelin tribute band. ZoSo has hit Urbana stages a number of times, and their commitment to recreating the sound and image of Led Zeppelin is always impressive and well received.
Saturday the stage opens early, with CUperstars, a local teen pop band, kicking things off at 1 p.m. The afternoon features more blues with Kilbourn Alley and the Delta Kings. Kilbourn Alley describes themselves as “filthy Chicago blues,” while the Delta Kings feature a more rock inspired blues. Indianapolis’ Orquesta Bravo! will be shaking up the stage in the evening with their salsa music. U of I group iSalsa2 is to offer lessons and a salsa exhibition immediately before the performance.
The night rounds out with two very well known acts, starting at 7 with the smooth R & B sounds of Pauli Carmen and Champaign. The night ends with the much anticipated Foghat — yes — THE Foghat of “Slow Ride” fame, sure to please old fans and Guitar Hero converts alike.
Though the main stage houses much of the musical action, events at the Busey Sponsored Stage are not to be looked over either. The Boat Drunks, who play “Trop Rock” will be holding down the stage all evening Friday with their tropical-country-rock sounds. Saturday the Busey stage will feature music to bring back the essence of the 1920s and beyond, with big band music from the Gene Trimble Orchestra in the afternoon, and jazz from original CU composer Jacob Hertzog at night.
The WBGL/Provena Family Friendly Stage will feature music for all ages all weekend. Friday night, Aiyesha Woods holds the stage with her Christian pop music, accented and given body by its soul influence. Saturday features numerous musical acts such as Christian rocker Mark Roach from St. Louis, and Atlana’s Echoing Angels Christian rock band. Rounding out the evening is Champaign’s own Lady Bugs.
This year’s Sweetcorn Festival truly has something for everyone in town. Though the progressive rock, blues, bluegrass and country rock seem most suited to enjoying some beer and corn, Urbana has made efforts to please fans of all ages and musical tastes.

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