Carmi rock bands past and present will converge on Burrell Park Saturday, June 28 for Burrell’s Woods Boogie, kicking off the Deep Roots Festival. There will be five bands with five hours of live music beginning at 5 p.m., as well as cash prizes for hula hooping, frisbee tossing, a dance contest and cornhole tournament. The public is invited to bring a picnic, beverages, lawn chairs, blankets, mosquito spray – anything you need for summer fun.
The Deep Roots Festival is an attempt to bring entertainment back to Carmi on a regular basis, drawing on local and area talent, as well as those who had ties with Carmi in the past who have now moved on. All events are free and open to the public. Anyone with ideas for events are encouraged to send them to the organizers by clicking here. Ideas can be submitted anonymously, and the festival will try to find volunteers and backers to make them happen. Additionally, you can volunteer to help out at the site, or ask about sponsorships and donations.
The rules for events are simple, basically stating that all events have to be free and open to the public unless there are age restrictions. The age restrictions are particularly important with events for teens, which might be capped at 18 or 21.
“People are always talking about how kids have it easy now, but in reality, there were far more things for teens to do forty years ago in Carmi than there are today. A lot of people have tried to promote events for that age group, and most of them fail. We thought that perhaps if we leave the ideas to the teens themselves, and then give assistance to making them happen, they could be a lot more successful.”
According to Todd Atteberry, one of the Deep Roots organizers, the idea came from a reunion with his high school band for this year’s Alumni One-Niter. “Back in high school we practiced at Burrell’s Woods, and while rehearsing for the One Niter, somebody floated the idea of going back out there and doing a concert. I asked Mayor Pollard who basically said ‘go for it.'”
Within a couple of days more musicians had volunteered to play than there was time for, and within a couple of weeks there was half a dozen events in the works. Todd Lane, who is also performing at Burrell’s Woods Boogie adds that “with no organization or committees, we found that we could put together and schedule events fast, and for little cost. You just have to find people who think it sounds like fun.”
Lane, a Carmi native now living in Evansville has been wanting to play music again for years, but wasn’t interested in playing the Evansville bar scene. “Cranking out the hits for people who aren’t even listening sounds less like fun the older you get. My dad still lives here so the hometown is still a big part of my life. It’s like Bob Dylan said, “bringing it all back home.”
Atteberry continues “I moved from Carmi about 1990, and came back about four years ago and wondered where did all the music go? When I left there were bands playing three nights a week. Now there’s basically nothing, with a handful of exceptions like Corn Day. Music not only helps to tie communities together, it brings people in from the surrounding area.”
Luckily there are still several of those same musicians living in or near Carmi, and itching for a chance to play, particularly in a non-bar setting. Mark Doane, once a fixture on the local music scene and now a pastor and living in Centralia, Illinois says “Carmi is the town that really gave me my start in life…As a musician and as a pastor. I have lots of good memories of Carmi and this jam will be a way of connecting old friends and new friends…old memories with new.”
The musicians hope that the festival will help inspire young people to form bands. According to Atteberry, “most of us got into music from seeing bands perform in Carmi at one time or another, and the older guys gave the youngsters a hand in getting started. If there’s no chance for kids to see a rock band in their hometown, there isn’t the inspiration for the kids to start their own. And let’s face it, being in a band is about the most fun you can have legally.”
Teelin Atteberry, who splits his time between Carmi and Evansville and is twelve years old will be making his Carmi debut as part of The Friday Night Drifters. “Carmi is fun because you can ride a bike all over town, but it’s hard to meet other kids except at ball games. I’m not a jock, so it will be great to have things where kids can get together for things other than sports. Plus we get to play Pink Floyd tunes. How cool is that?”
The organizers hope to build interest in the city’s bicentennial, which starts in October of 2015. One of the festival’s sponsors, Travis Gholson of Gholson Chiropractic says “This is the kind of thing that could be a big draw for Carmi and White county. It could be a huge bash year one.”
Also donating money and services for the festival are Kays Printing and Greenman Design Studio of Carmi. The city has been instrumental in making this work, providing locations for events, as well as help with logistics. The Chamber of Commerce and the Bicentennial Committee is helping out with coordinating volunteers and advertising the events. Additional sponsors and volunteers are always welcome.
Burrell’s Woods Boogie will start with Mark Witherspoon’s bluesy group The Recliners at five. At six is psychedelia from the Friday Night Drifters, followed by the dulcet tones of Amputee, playing classic rock with a twist about seven. Starfire will be playing hard rock seventies style about 7:45. Around 8:30 the whole gaggle convenes as The House Band, for the largest jam band the town has likely ever seen.
Burrell’s Woods is an ideal location for the festival with plenty of shade, volleyball court, playgrounds and walking trails. Camping is available and is filling up fast for weekends with scheduled events, so get your reservations in.
The following concerts are in the works for the Deep Roots Festival:
Burrell’s Woods Boogie, June 18. Five hours of rock music and games.
Jazz In The Woods, July 26. Jazz featuring Rob Endicott, Scott Kittinger, Tim Mitchell plus special guests.
Luke Nelson and the Somethings, August 26. Country/rockabilly bar music, sponsored by Carmi League of Arts
Party at the Pool, August. Free admission to the swimming pool, music and storytelling for the little kids. There will be snacks.
Saturday in the Park, September, An eclectic mix of area musicians playing unplugged.
Halloween at Burrell’s Woods, October 24 & 25. Trick or treating for the kids and live, traditional Irish music, plus more to come. In cooperation with the City of Carmi and the Carmi Chamber of Commerce.
A Walking Tour of Old Carmi, October, A guided walk around the oldest part of Carmi. Architecture, history, folk tales and ghost stories.