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Great Cover-Up 31 bringing tradition and fun back to C-U once again

a band is performing on a stage in a bar or music venue, illuminated by blue and purple lights. The band consists of two guitarists and a drummer, with the drummer’s drum kit reading “Brother Dege”. The guitarist on the left is playing an acoustic guitar, while the guitarist on the right is playing an electric guitar. The background features a neon sign and a red curtain, while the foreground consists of cables and speakers.
The Great Cover-Up on Facebook

Are you familiar with Champaign-Urbana’s Great Cover-Up? It’s a weekend of music that raises money for local charities, held once again this year at the Rose Bowl Tavern. The event features local bands and individuals who take the stage to play the music of other well-known artists. When a band performs a song made famous by another band or individual, this is known as “covering” that song. Hence, the name: the Great Cover-Up.

One never knows what to expect at the Cover-Up. You could be watching Buddy Holly, The Rolling Stones, or Adele. The identity of the band each group will cover remains a mystery until they take the stage. And they do more than just sing the songs. According to Ward Gollings, the long-time organizer of the event, “Artists very frequently and typically dress the part for the act they’ve chosen, with some going to great lengths to include wigs, makeup, and stage props.” Acts covered last year included the Indigo Girls, Flogging Molly, Pearl Jam, and Mötley Crüe. Who will grace the stage this year?

A band is performing on a stage illuminated by green and purple lights. The band members are dressed in black t-shirts with a white logo on them. The drummer is sitting behind a drum set with a white logo on the bass drum. The stage is set up with speakers and other musical equipment. In the foreground, the audience is visible.
The Great Cover Up on Facebook

The Great Cover-Up 2023 kicks off on Friday night, Sept. 15, at 8 p.m. when Mid-October takes the stage for a 20-minute set. The event continues on Saturday, Sept. 16, also at 8 p.m. Admission for those nights is $15. Below is a complete rundown of the bands and individuals who will be performing:

FRIDAY 9/15
8 p.m. Mid-October
8:40 p.m. Haki n’ Dem
9:20 p.m. Hogchute Collective
10:05 p.m. Amy & The Gang
10:50 p.m. Decadents
11:35 p.m. Los Guapos & New Souls
12:05 a.m. DJ Belly

SATURDAY 9/16
8 p.m. Prairie Sharks
8:40 p.m. The Falbonauts
9:20 p.m. Nick Rainey
10 p.m. Wardbeast
10:45 p.m. Modern Drugs
11:30 p.m. Mike Ingram
12:15 a.m. Sandman Slimm

A person is on stage holding a microphone. They are wearing a vibrant shirt with a paisley pattern in hues of pink, blue, and orange. The backdrop of the image is a stage bathed in purple lighting and adorned with a black curtain. There’s another individual visible on the right side of the frame, donned in an orange jersey with the number 3 on it.
Sandman Slimm on Facebook

Gollings indicated that in the 30+ years he has been involved with this event, it has raised more than $250,000 for local charities—an achievement for which he is quite proud, and rightly so. This year’s contributions will be donated to Girls Rock! C-U. All the bands that participate do so for free, donating their time and talents to this worthy cause.

The Rose Bowl Tavern often utilizes an outdoor stage during the warm months; however, all performances for the Great Cover Up will be inside. No food is served at the Rose Bowl Tavern, but there are several restaurants in the area.

Gollings indicated that the Great Cover-Up has always been a well-attended event. When asked about his goal for this year, he said, “I just want to see everyone smiling and having fun—the musicians, the audience, the bartenders… and they will!”

A band is performing on a stage illuminated by blue and purple lights. The band members are dressed in red and white striped outfits and hats, playing various instruments such as a guitar, a sousaphone, a drum set, and a trombone. The background consists of a stage with curtains and lighting equipment.
Great Cover-Up on Facebook

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