Champaign County adds new twists to Sounds of Summer concert series

Credit: Contributed

Credit: Contributed

Champaign County is leading off the free outdoor live entertainment season today with the first concert of its three-month Sounds of Summer series.

Performers with area connections will kick off the series with Overdrive Band doing classic country and rock and Springfield native turned Nashville-based singer-songwriter Leah Crose, who blends country storytelling with the energy of rock and roll, taking the stage at Melvin Miller Park at 6 p.m.

The park will open at 5 p.m. Kona Ice, The Naughty Lobstah, Fresh Harvest and MIXX Mobile food trucks will be set up. Beer and wine will also be available to those with valid ID; alcoholic beverages may not be brought into Sounds of Summer shows.

The series is presented by the Champaign County Arts Council (CCAC).

“We’re hoping for a great turnout,” CCAC Executive Director Marcia Callicoat said. “People enjoy getting out with family and friends to kick off summer and we’ve tried to make this summer a big one and hope we can keep growing.”

Callicoat has made some modifications to the series she hopes will attract an even wider audience. One move was swapping a late August date at Harmon Park in St. Paris that was poorly attended due to school starting for a June date when more people are around. Harmon Park will now see veteran singer-songwriter-musician Eleyet McConnell at 7 p.m. June 9.

Crose and McConnell were part of last year’s concert series as well.

Callicoat is also enthused about tying the series into two big Champaign County events. The first incorporates the series with the Black Heritage Festival at 6 p.m. June 17 in Barbara Howell Park to feature Meredith Evans in concert.

“We’re excited to be involved in this festival and connect with different ages,” she said.

Besides people from Champaign and Clark counties, Callicoat said Sounds of Summer draws visitors from as far as Columbus, especially when a popular food truck like The Naughty Lobstah is involved.

The CCAC is also now presenting one of Urbana’s signature events – Art Affair on the Square on July 15 on North Main St. The band Schizophrenic will highlight the live entertainment, 1-4 p.m. along with adding children’s activities along with the artists and other vendors that characterize the event.

Rounding out Sounds of Summer will be series favorite Noah Back, who will bring his laidback stylings of popular tunes at 6 p.m. Aug. 13 to Harmon Park.

“Noah is one of our signature performers. People of all ages love him and expect him and are disappointed if we don’t have him on the schedule,” said Callicoat.

Attendees should bring lawn chairs or blankets for seating. For more information on Sounds of Summer and what food trucks will be at the shows, go to

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