Smile Politely

Krannert announces OUTSIDE at the Research Park 2014

From the press release:



June 13Davina and the Vagabonds

July 18Terrance Simien and the Zydeco Experience

Krannert Center for the Performing Arts once again joins forces with Fox/Atkins Development, LLC and the University of Illinois for a two-show series of summer concerts at the University of Illinois Research Park. Both concerts are free and open to the public. OUTSIDE at the Research Park plays upon a simple concept: great music, fresh food, a green state of mind, and an open, relaxed environment. The performance space and seating area are located just south of the building at the corner of First Street and St. Mary’s Road in Champaign. The tree-lined, grassy space has hosted thousands of audience members each summer since the inception of OUTSIDE in 2007. The 2014 OUTSIDE series will continue to demonstrate Krannert Center’s commitment to reduce waste, decrease energy consumption, and provide environmentally friendly services to patrons while providing a special opportunity to partner with Prosperity Gardens, located at North First Street in Champaign, Illinois, that is dedicated to creating healthy communities through neighborhood farming, education, collaboration, and employment opportunities.

The July 18 event will feature a green fair that will invite sustainability-minded local businesses and organizations to take advantage of free exhibit space to share information about their green efforts. Interested parties can contact Lisa Lillig at 217.244.6298 or [email protected] for more information.



Friday, June 13, FREE

Upshot at 6:30pm

Davina and the Vagabonds at 7:30pm

Not merely a superb throwback to those smoky-voiced club singers who beguiled their way into the hearts of New Orleans night owls in the 1920s, Davina Sowers exerts theatrical power suited to a Broadway stage and keyboard skills that dazzle. Her tight, spare band—trumpet, trombone, drums, and upright bass plus her piano and uke—brings sass and rocketing energy from the Deep South and an intensity from Chicago-style blues. A regular on the festival circuit, the group toured Europe in 2012 and will debut at the Monterey Jazz Festival in September.

Initiating OUTSIDE for 2014 is Upshot: unclassifiable funk masters with grit and soul. Sara Hall’s voice radiates with raw emotion as Matt Zimmerman on guitar, bass player Jared Manker, and Seth Anders on sax drive behind lyrics charged with invocations of freedom, love, and respect.


Friday, July 18, FREE

Green Fair at 6pm

Candy Foster and Shades of Blue at 6:30pm

Terrance Simien and the Zydeco Experience at 7:30pm

Grammy winner Terrance Simien and the Zydeco Experience may make you reconsider everything you thought you knew about roots music from the heart of Louisiana. Armed with an accordion, an infectious smile, and a voice straight out of a sixties soul hit, Simien has been sharing his innovative approach to zydeco for more than 30 years. Singled out as an “alluring” performer by the Village Voice, he and his band have been in numerous commercials and films, made a memorable appearance in the classic film The Big Easy, and are regulars at the New Orleans Jazz Festival. Ever changing, their sound hearkens back to Creole traditions, and their deep harmonies plus infusions of funk, reggae, and blues evoke a global musical language.

Getting you into the groove with authentic rhythm and blues is the legendary Candy Foster with his band Shades of Blue. He’s shared the stage with greats like Etta James, Koko Taylor, and Junior Wells, and Foster’s direct approach to classic songs and forceful vocals have ignited crowds for five decades.

Location, Parking, and Services

These concerts will be held just southwest of the State Farm Center on First Street in the Research Park. Free parking is available in the lot south of the Caterpillar/SAIC Building at 1901 South First Street.

All performances are free and open to the general public. 

Beverages, wine, and food are available for purchase.

Restrooms are available inside the Caterpillar/SAIC Building at 1901 South First Street.


Presented by Krannert Center, Fox/Atkins Development, LLC & the University of Illinois 

Corporate Sponsors:


Christie Clinic Illinois Marathon

Smile Politely

Champaign Cycle Co.

With thanks to the Illinois Natural History Survey/Prairie Research Institute

Community Partner: Prosperity Gardens

Executive Editor

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