Daily Egyptian

Local music coalition and radio station host free street concert

By Jordan Duncan, @jordanduncanDE

About 2,000 community members of all ages gathered in the street for bluegrass Saturday evening.

The Carbondale Music Coalition, which organizes local concerts, and WDBX, a community funded radio station, teamed up to host the free event “Live on Main” on Monroe Street by The Civic Center. The showcase featured Nikki Hill and The Woodbox Gang as well as food and liquor vendors.

Curtis Conley, head of the Carbondale Music Coalition, said the concert was free because it was funded by a grant from The Virginia Wellington Cabot Foundation, a philanthropic organization in Boston which has a connections to an SIU alumnus.

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Dave Armstrong, station manager of WDBX, said the Carbondale Chamber of Commerce and Carbondale Main Street helped secure the street location.

“It’s a myth that a couple of guys can put something together like this,” he said. “It’s very much a large team effort to accomplish.”

Conley said he has never organized a concert like this before.

“I’ve lived here my whole life and I’ve never seen a concert on the street,” he said. “You can close streets for events that might have music, but not for a concert.”

Corina Lang, an alumna who attended the concert, said she is a longtime fan of the Woodbox gang and saw their first set together at the Yellow Moon in Cobden when the owners encouraged them to play.

Lang, 62, said Carbondale’s music scene is a major part of the town’s culture.

“I don’t think I would still be here if there wasn’t a good music scene,” she said. “I need that.”

Armstrong said he hopes the show and others similar to it will help foster the downtown economy.

“There’s an economic benefit to Carbondale whenever it’s supporting live music, so a big turnout can be a big boost in the area,” he said.

The event helped bring people into other businesses in the downtown area, but the show’s primary reason was to enjoy music, Conley said.

“It’s about rock ‘n’ roll first,” he said. “It is important to make sure you’re helping your community, too, and that you’re not hurting it in any way.”

Lang said shows like this are something the city needs to keep its culture alive.

“It revives the energy in Carbondale,” she said. “We need to keep that energy. They want to do a lot of stuff here and change that party image.”

Conley said events like this bring a positive image to Carbondale.

“It’s a good thing to show people in Carbondale, not just students but professional people as well, this community has something fun going on,” he said.

Armstrong said he was satisfied with the event’s result.

“We had planned for a turnout of this size,” he said. “When you see it, it really looks fantastic.”

He said the large attendance for the concert was a sign of good things to come.

“This proves that Carbondale is behind us,” Armstrong said. “Carbondale showed tonight that they want to have a lot more events like this.”

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