Last year after Downtown Springfield Inc.’s successful-but-sizzling Bacon Throwdown Festival, the organization polled restaurants to find out which ingredient or style of food they wanted to compete over in 2017. The resounding response was, ‘Let us do our own style and showcase our signature dishes.’ So this summer, DSI is moving its long-time food and music festival back to a “Taste” format.
NPRIllinois’ Bedrock 66 Live! Concert series presents this year’s Saturday music headliner Matthew Sweet, whose 1991 album “Girlfriend” is heralded as one of the decade’s most critically acclaimed albums and is known for such hits as “Girlfriend,” “Ugly Truth,” “Sick of Myself,” and “Time Capsule.” Sweet recently completed his new album Forever Tomorrow, recorded at his new studio – Black Squirrel Submarine - in Omaha where he now lives. The record will be released on June 16, 2017 on Sweet’s label - Honeycomb Hideout – with label support and distribution provided by Sony/ RED Distribution, LLC.
Friday night’s co-headliners are The Whistles and The Bells and Miles Nielsen.
The Whistles and The Bells are a solo vehicle for singer/songwriter and ex-Cadillac Sky, (progressive bluegrass) frontman Bryan Simpson, the Whistles & the Bells specialize in an evocative blend of Southern folk, gritty alt-country, and indie gospel, invoking names like Wovenhand, Jason Isbell, Mount Moriah, and Blitzen Trapper.
The first line in Miles Nielsen’s bio has to mention that he’s the son of Cheap Trick’s Rick Nielsen. But don’t expect Miles to mimic his dad’s showmanship or sound like a CT tribute act. With his band The Rusted Hearts, Nielsen has found a style of music that suits him. It’s warm, lived-in, and just a little bit rootsy — think early Wilco with some Raspberries on top.
What’s with the name?
“We’ve been actively looking to sprinkle the weird and wonderful in downtown,” said Lisa Clemmons Stott, DSI’s Executive Director. “We’ve also been on a mission to remind Springfield why it has always loved its downtown. One of our committee members remembered that Springfield’s own Vachel Lindsay had written one novel, a utopian story of Springfield set in 2018, and the idea flew from there.”
The Amaranth Apple is a mystical fruit in Lindsay's 1920 novel, "The Golden Book of Springfield,” which grew from seeds planted by Johnny Appleseed in the deceased (or was he?) skull/body of the fictional founder of Springfield, Hunter Kelly. Lindsay’s future Springfield shows socially and religiously awakened residents who have transformed his hometown into a utopian paradise that could serve as a guide to all of America.
And "he who eats of the Amaranth Apple" is filled with love for the eternal beauty of Springfield.
Isringhausen Imports returns as premier sponsor of the summer festival on July 14-15, 2017. The money raised at the event funds DSI’s non-profit mission to champion and revitalize the downtown district. “We love downtown and we appreciate the work that DSI is doing to revitalize the neighborhood. We couldn’t be more pleased to support this festival which brings thousands of people to the district,” said Geoff Isringhausen, President and CEO.
Vachel Lindsay was born in a home at 5th and Edwards, which is still maintained by the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency as a historic site. Lindsay became famous in his day as a traveling bard whose dramatic delivery in public readings helped keep appreciation for poetry as a spoken art alive in the American Midwest. Today he is not only considered a precursor of modern spoken word and hip hop but also of film critique.
“We’re excited to partner with DSI to raise the profile of native son Vachel Lindsay, who impacted the world of art and culture significantly,” said Lisa Higgs, board president of the Vachel Lindsay Association. The Association is programming the new Lindsay Lounge and a second stage to feature the arts and culture of Springfield.
Organizers expect at least 25 restaurants to take part this year, with a “hint” of the mystical fruit in each bite.
Full Music Lineup
Friday, July 14
Josh Reilly (Springfield native)
Amy Benton (Springfield)
Miles Nielsen and the Rusted Hearts (Rockford)
The Whistles and the Bells (Nashville)
Saturday, July 15
Bruiser Queen (St. Louis)
The Starter Jackets (Springfield)
Captain Ivory (Detroit)
The Handcuffs (Chicago)
Matthew Sweet (Omaha)
The Cold Stares (Nashville)