Carbondale music scene revived

By Gus Bode

In hopes of Carbondale music scene revival, Carbondale Rocks will put on a festival throughout the downtown area Thursday through Sunday.

Carbondale Rocks Revival Music Festival will take place on nine stages with over 60 bands. The  hosting venues are Pinch Penny Pub, Sidetracks, PK’s, Hangar 9, Tres Hombres, The Cellar, The Elks Lodge, Varsity Center for the Arts and the Budweiser tent at the Town Square Pavilion. The lineup includes local, regional and even national touring bands such as headliner Jason and the Scorchers.

Matt Longueville, part owner of Tres Hombres, helped birth the idea and said he hopes the event will bring more attention to the invigorating live shows Carbondale has the capability to showcase.


“You always hear people say there’s nothing to do in Carbondale,” Longueville said. “But if you’re a music fan, there is a lot to do and a lot to see. We just want people to notice that.”

Curtis Conley, another event founder, books shows at PK’s. He said he grew up with Longueville and the two swapped ideas for a way to bring the music scene back.

“Over the years we had heard the Carbondale music scene was falling flat,” Conley said. “It wasn’t what it used to be, and we just agreed that we wanted to showcase it all at once.”

Conley said the festival isn’t meant to simply bring attention to the bands. He said he also wants everyone to see how many diverse venues there are. The Varsity Center for the Arts, for example, just recently began to book band concerts.

Nic Shurman, Hangar 9’s booking agent,  helped with the project as well. He said there used to be the fall festival Pig Out in downtown Carbondale where residents enjoyed live music. He said it didn’t make enough money, though, so the event died out. Shurman said he hopes the Revival Festival will fill the void and bring bigger acts to the area in the future.

“We want to draw from the region and bring people into Carbondale for music,” he said. “And get students involved and let them know there’s other things to do than just house parties.”

Longueville agreed the festival could influence students to have fun responsibly, he said.


“I know there were problems on Halloween where everybody was just out on the strip and there wasn’t anything organized going on,” he said. “This is a way to throw a big party all over town, but not for the purpose of getting messed up. It’s to see live music —to see art.”

Longueville said he hopes the festival will sway prospective SIUC students to attend the university. He said music majors, in particular, may take an interest in multiple genre flavors the region produces.

The event organizers put effort into making prices inexpensive for college students, residents and visitors to attend. Conley said some shows are free while Hangar 9 and Tres Hombres will charge a cover after a certain time each night. He said the headline band will only cost $5.

Sponsors, such as Thomas Publishing, and advertisements in the event program will fund the revival, Longueville said. He said profits from beer sales in the Budweiser tent will go toward the revival’s fund for next year’s show. If there’s a surplus in profit, Longueville said the organization will donate some of the money to Carbondale Main Street. He said the point of the event isn’t to make money for Carbondale Rocks, but for businesses in town to keep busy.

Curtis said he knows people have booked hotels in the area for the festival and will eat at the restaurants in town. He said former students will probably come back and bring good business to places such as Mary Lou’s, Quatro’s and Pagliai’s.

Rebecca Dull, a senior from Machesney Park studying advertising, said she thinks it will be a fun event for students to venture downtown.

“The music I’m excited about is Jason and the Scorchers,” she said. “I have heard that a lot of people are excited about it and planning on coming.”

Shurman said he hopes it will become an annual event, but they have to smooth out the first year’s kinks. He said he doesn’t foresee any problems occurring at the festival, but he’s curious to see how the weather will turn out.

Curtis said it’s hard to get people to attend events they’re not used to.

“We’re all sitting back nervous at this point,” Curtis said. “We’ve done about everything we can do. It could go great, but we’ve all been in the music business for years now and it’s impossible to tell.”