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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.
However, downtown has added a lot of new, creative entrepreneurs to the scene since the last time DSI hosted the “Taste,” and going back to that same concept didn’t feel quite right to the committee.
“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 RETURNS AS PREMIER SPONSOR
Isringhausen Imports returns as premier sponsor of the summer festival. 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.
DSI is also seeking sponsors for a Whiskey Lounge and a Wine Lounge, in addition to Coors and craft beer products provided by Beverage Sponsor Chick Fritz Distributing. Contact us for the Festival Sponsor Deck.
Organizers expect at least 25 restaurants to take part this year, with a “hint” of the mystical fruit in each bite. The registration materials are going out soon.
This year’s Saturday music headliner is 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.”
After spending the ’80s as a jangle pop guitarist with Oh-OK and Lloyd Cole, as well as a solo artist, Matthew Sweet emerged in 1991 as the leading figure of the American power pop revival. Like his British counterparts Teenage Fanclub, Sweet adhered to traditional song craft, yet subverted the form by adding noisy post-punk guitar and flourishes of country-rock, resulting in an amalgam of the Beatles, Big Star, R.E.M., and Neil Young. Recorded with guitarists Richard Lloyd and Robert Quine, Sweet’s third album, Girlfriend (1991), became a word-of-mouth critical and commercial hit over the course of 1992, with its title track reaching the Top Five on the Modern Rock charts. For the next five years, as alternative rock was the dominant commercial force in rock & roll, Sweet became a very popular concert attraction and solidified his reputation as the premiere alternative pop singer/songwriter. His next two records, Altered Beast (1993) and 100% Fun (1995) were both critically acclaimed and successful albums, reaching platinum status and making many year-end best-of lists.
Sweet recently completed his new album Forever Tomorrow, recorded at his new studio – Black Squirrel Submarine – in Omaha where he now lives. Matthew engineered, performed on guitars, keyboards, bass and god knows what else, sang lead and background vocals and mixed the recordings. The record was mastered for CD, vinyl and download at the famed Abbey Road Studios in London by Sean Magee, a long time veteran at the studio. Sean won a Grammy for his Beatles reissues, and has recently won accolades for his remastering of the John Lennon solo catalog reissues. 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.
He also backed Mike Myers as Austin Powers (along with Susanna Hoffs) in the faux band Ming Tea in two Austin Powers movies. The Lincoln, Nebraska native also was hired as a consultant on the 2014 Tim Burton film “Big Eyes,” with many of the Margaret Keane paintings in the film coming from Sweet’s extensive collection.
FULL MUSIC LINEUP
Friday, July 14
Josh Reilly (Springfield native)
Amy Benton (Springfield)
Miles Nielsen and the Rusted Hearts (Rockford)
Chuck Mead (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)