URBANA – Inspired by a local man’s love of music and eclectic food, the inaugural Rhythm and Foods Festival will take place Friday and Saturday at the Champaign County Fairgrounds.
St. Paris resident David Bacher, who along with his wife, Darcy, own two Urbana businesses (Noreast Transport & Warehousing and The Cheetah Lounge – Event Venue), is organizing the event through Rhythm and Food LLC, which the couple formed earlier this year.
“The Rhythm and Foods Festival is all about good music, good food, good beer and good times,” he said.
To help with the costs, three area businesses – Robert Rothschild Farm, Tech II and Game Time Sports Center – have been brought on as event sponsors.
The musical lineup for the event consists of seven bands, including Urbana’s own Acoustic Justice.
“The lineup is actually a mix of country rock and Jimmy Buffet-style music,” Bacher said.
On Friday, Crossroad Station will be the first band to take the stage from 5 to 6:30 p.m., while the Southern Drawl Band will close out the evening from 7 to 10 p.m.
The Saturday lineup consists of Acoustic Justice (noon to 2 p.m.), New Old Fashioned (2:45 to 5 p.m.), Jonalee White Trio (5:30 to 6:30 p.m.), the Phillip Fox Band (7 to 8:25 p.m.) and McGuffey Lane (9 to 11 p.m.)
Individuals planning on catching the performances are encouraged to bring their own chairs as the festival features lawn seating only.
Food, beer and merchandise
While all food vendors were welcome to submit an application to be considered for the festival, Bacher said, he actively sought out eclectic food trucks in order to “bring some of the street eats from the bigger cities to Urbana.”
Along with music and food, several area craft brewers will have beer for sale.
With alcohol being sold on the premises, Bacher said precautions will be taken to make sure the crowd remains peaceful.
“Security will be on site at all times, and anyone getting out of control will be removed,” he said.
On top of music, food and beer, Bacher is offering eventgoers a chance to shop during the two-day event.
“There will be all sorts of merchandise to browse through and shop for,” he said.
Although no more vendor applications are being accepted, Bacher said, the response he received from those businesses wanting to be part of the festival was “fantastic.”
“We have over 50 food vendors and approximately 15 sales vendors,” he said.
Attending the event
The decision to hold the two-day festival in Urbana was made not only because of the infrastructure already in place at the Champaign County Fairgrounds, but also because of the city’s proximity to the Dayton and Columbus regions, Bacher said.
As for gaining admittance into the Rhythm and Foods Festival, eventgoers can either purchase a weekend pass at the gate for $5 or rent a campsite for $35 a night (price includes two weekend passes).
Those choosing to camp at the fairgrounds will have access to water and electric hookups, showers and a dump station.
Campsites can be reserved by emailing email@example.com. Any spots not reserved prior to the event will be made available on a first-come, first-serve basis.
“We have received camping registrations from all over the state,” Bacher said. “(The campsites) are going fast.”
While food and beverages will be permitted at all camp sites, eventgoers are prohibited from bringing them inside the gates.
In conjunction with the Rhythm and Foods Festival, Robert Rothschild Farm will hold a warehouse sale at the fairgrounds from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday in the Horticulture Building.
“Guests will still have to pay the $5 admission charge, which will be good for all weekend, but from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Friday is the Rothschild early bird sale where (customers will) receive $5 off purchases of $35, and the rest of the weekend, (the promotion) will be $5 off $50 in purchases,” Bacher said.
While Bacher is hoping to draw as many people to his event as possible, he is also encouraging those coming to the festival to also consider taking part in two local fundraisers being held over the weekend.
On Friday, the Monument Square District’s Rock the Monument Four Miler Run/Walk and 1.5-mile Fun Walk will be held at 7 p.m. (registration begins at 5:30 p.m.) at Melvin Miller Park, while Military Appreciation Day at Grimes Field, which includes the Champaign County Pilots Association’s annual Pancake Breakfast, will begin at 7 a.m. Saturday.
“There will be a shuttle to and from the airport on Saturday while they have their veterans appreciation day celebration and activities,” Bacher said.