Smile Politely

Get ready for PYGMALION 2017

PYGMALION is turning 13 this year, and it’s bigger than ever. What began as a strictly music festival now includes not just music but technology, handmade art, food, technology, and literature. The event begins this Wednesday, September 20th and runs until the 24th. Experiences can be found all over C-U in multiple venues from the theaters at Krannert to an outdoor stage at Main and Market downtown Champaign to the Champaign Public Library among others. The festival kicks off with the popular PechaKucha Night on Wednesday, where participants get 20 images, 6 minutes, and 40 seconds to present their idea on whatever topic they choose. Check here for a list of presenters.


With over 40 musical artists, you are bound to find a new favorite band. The stages include the Krannert Center, a stage behind 51 Main as Pygmalion’s Main Stage, and one on the street on Main Street, 51 Main, Canopy Club, and Memphis on Main. Ticket prices are from $10-30 for an individual show, or $49 for one day or a festival pass for $99 (some non-music tickets are included). For the complete list of artists and a sampling of their music click here, and watch for a PYG music preview tomorrow for more details on who’s who and why you should make it a point to check them out.


For the tech segment of the festival you can enjoy a cold beverage while learning about astronomy, find how engineering and medicine are working together in Share the Vision, and check out local companies and developers showcasing everything from robotics, to video games, 3D printing and more at the DEMO, as well as an inaugural hackathon. For the full list of tech descriptions and schedule, click here. All tech events are free, minus Share the Vision on Thursday.


Made is the marketplace component of the festival featuring over 40 handmade and vintage artist and crafters. The Made market is free to enter and will take place Friday and Saturday at the parking lot at Main and Market Street in Downtown Champaign. Check out the artists and their websites here. Even if you don’t have tickets to any PYG performances, the Made Fest is open for you to explore and check out innovative creators from here in C-U and around the Midwest.


The food component, though not new, will be held the same weekend this year as the festival itself and includes special menu items from several local restaurants. For a list of participating restaurants and their menus, click here, and be sure to get the details on the dishes and drinks when Jess previews the delicious offerings later this week. This portion of the festival is free to enter, and prices at each booth vary.


More than 10 authors are participating in the literature portion of the festival, and festival goers can also take in the Human Library. The Human Library started in Germany in 2000. Since then it has traveled all over the world, in over 30 countries, and we have our own chapter here in C-U. In the Human Library, the “books” are real people from all walks of the life… a lesbian, a vegan athlete, a police officer, a male with an eating disorder… and they tell their stories of experiencing discrimination. As the “reader”, you have the opportunity to have a conversation with them about their experiences. As their website says, “Participants, both volunteers and the public, can gain the understanding that dialogue between people can work to break the barriers that separate us.” It’s like any traditional library, there is something for everyone. It’s free and takes place Thursday from 4:30-9:30 pm at the Krannert Center.

For the full schedule of events and to grab tickets or reserve your spot, check out the Pygmalion website. You can also find the festival guide, with everything you need to know about the Pygmalion experience.

Like the Pygmalion FB page to stay informed this week, and be sure to watch for Smile Politely recaps throughout the event.

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