There’s not much better than the serenity of the woods, unless of course it’s that peace being gently broken by the efforts of talented singers and gifted musicians.
That’s the description of “Fresh from the Midwest,” the third annual music festival which will be held on Saturday, Sept. 9 at Illini State Park in Marseilles.
The first two versions of the outdoor music show went from late morning to 5 p.m., but this year the schedule has been extended after dark, with the final performer going on at 9:15 p.m. and features an all-star lineup of performers from all over the state.
“The reason we’re going later this year is last year, many of us just were just hanging around under the stars coming out and we played together, passing songs around,” said local performer and Fresh from the Midwest Production Company Founder Christina Eltrevoog. “We felt it would be great if the people could share that with us.”
The schedule of performers begins with Steve Sharp and Darrell Data at 11 a.m. They will be followed by several groups: KevinRoyK and Friends at 12:15 p.m., The Morning Larks at 1:30 p.m., BEYOND the STARS at 2:45 p.m. and the Aaron Kelly Band at 4 p.m.
The event will continues with individual performers starting with Demi Clara at 5:15 p.m., followed by Machino Carrino at 5:45 p.m., The PACKRAT MACHINe at 6:15 p.m., Robin Bienemann at 6:45 p.m., Jenny Bienemann at 7:15 p.m., Josh Reinhart at 7:45 p.m., Jesse in Gray at 8:15 p.m., DPCD at 8:45 p.m. and Matthew Pittman at 9:15 p.m.
The master of ceremonies will be local radio personality Jonathan Eltrevoog and Don Lewis will be the sound man.
“From 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., we’re going to do groups and bands, then around 5 we’ll make a transition into solo singer/songwriters,” Eltrevoog, Jonathan’s sister. “We feel that will take the energy level from higher to more mellow as the day wears on.”
The event will feature a variety of bands and musicians, many of which have ties to the Illinois Valley.
“There will be performers from all over, like The Packrat Machine with Jim VanFleet is from Princeton, Robin Bienemann and his wife, Jenny, are from the Berwyn/Oak Park area, Josh Reinhart is originally from Oglesby, now Bloomington and of course we’ll close the show with Marseilles-own Matthew Pittman,” Eltrevoog said.
Spectators are encouraged to bring chairs and/or blankets for lawn seating. There will also be art, t-shirt vendors and food trucks on the grounds from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
A portion of those proceeds and the $20 suggested advanced ticket price, $25 at the gate and $10 for students will go to the foundation and its works.
“That’s the suggested price, but if someone can’t afford that, only maybe $10, we feel that’s fair for an entire day of concerts,” Eltrevoog said. “We don’t want to turn anyone away.”
Advance tickets are available online at freshfromthemidwest.com.
The event itself stemmed from an idea by Park Superintendent Tom Jackson who once helped run a folk festival up in the Freeport area. He felt this was a good way to get more visitors into the park and to raise both funds for a new playground and awareness for the Illini State Park Foundation. He enlisted the help of others, including Eltrevoog and many of her performing friends.
“The first year is was just set up on a hay wagon, then the next year volunteers helped us and the foundation to build the interpretive stage that we have now,” Jackson said.
“It rained the first year and threatened the sound system, but there were a hundred people here braving the weather hoping we could go on. The stage should help with that from now on, so the next year we doubled that (attendance) and hope to double it again.”
“We’d like to have it be an annual event that keeps growing, to help the foundation and keep this beautiful park maintained and flourishing,” Jackson added.
Among the sponsors of the event are the St. Genevieve Riverboat Cruises, Sauder Printing, Ron Henson’s State Farm, Open Space Art Gallery, Starting in Spirits, Ottawa Mayor Robert Hasty, Farmers Insurance, Guys on the Radio and Laborers Local 393.