This weekend, Champaign-Urbana hosted the well-known Pygmalion Music Festival, a three-day event featuring live bands and musicians.
My friends and I had been looking forward to Pygmalion all summer after having seen that our favorite band, The Head and the Heart, was going to be a part of the lineup.
We thought about purchasing tickets for just their concert alone, but eventually decided to make a weekend out of it to get away from school and experience some new bands. We purchased three-day passes.
Attending the individual concerts at the fest was wonderful. Each musical performance was great, and the venues were set up so that each show had a very personal feel to it, as if you are at a particular artist’s private session.
I definitely would have preferred to have known this beforehand, however. I sorely wish that the Pygmalion Music Festival had been advertised more accurately, as I must admit, I regret my decision of buying the pass.
The Pygmalion Music Festival should not be called a festival at all, but instead a concert series.
Upon arriving in the Champaign-Urbana area last Thursday, I was struck by the fact that if I had been there in order to attend Pygmalion, I would have had no idea that the festival was even happening.
The box office was set up inside of The University of Illinois’ Krannert Center for the Performing Arts and stood as the only physical evidence, aside from some posters outside of the venues, that a festival was taking place.
As someone coming to the festival from out of town, I was frustrated by the fact that there was absolutely nothing to do throughout the day until the concerts began around 7 p.m.
When a concert finally did begin, my friend and I were so frustrated from lounging around Urbana all day that we were barely in the mood to see a show.
I understand that this festival takes place in a college town and that students and residents of the Champaign-Urbana area have lives that would be disrupted if a festival were to take place in the center of their town.
However, when one thinks of a music festival, he or she typically imagines a more “festive” atmosphere, and booths with food and homemade crafts to buy, as well as music going on for most of the day in a condensed area. I only attended Pygmalion for the first two nights, and it is my understanding that on Saturday, the concerts began much earlier in the afternoon.
However, while I was there, my friend and I were discouraged from attending several concerts because of the distance we would have had to travel in order to get to them. The concerts are spread out and tucked away into several different bars and small venues, one of which took us half an hour to get to on foot.
As I stated before, once the downtime was over and we were watching a show, the frustrations from the day were lifted. Especially enjoyable though was the three-part concert that took place in the Krannert Center’s Tryon Festival Theatre on Thursday evening, which included Damian Juardo, Daughter, and The Head and the Heart. The concert itself was fantastic. Being located in one of the Krannert Center’s more intimate spaces, it allowed for a very personal experience with three artists I have always wanted to see.
After the show, we were able to meet and speak with Jurado, as well as two members of The Head and the Heart, vocalist Josiah Johnson and drummer Tyler Williams.
The three were extremely personable, and Williams even showed up at Murphy’s Pub, which we had mentioned while talking with him earlier. We introduced him to Honey Badger shots — which he loved — bought him a beer, and chatted with him at the bar about the band’s tour and upcoming album, which was, as any person who has ever loved a band can attest to, a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
Meeting the band members was certainly the type of opportunity that a music festival of a more intimate nature, like Pygmalion, has to offer.
I was under the impression that the festival itself would be a little more fast-paced, and had I been informed of the festival’s true nature via the festival’s website or poster advertisements prior to attending it, perhaps I would have been better prepared to find alternate ways of spending my time during the day before the fun happened at night.