MONTICELLO — Live music is coming back to the University of Illinois’ Allerton Park and Retreat Center outside Monticello for the center’s annual concert series. But this year’s concerts are a little different than the ones guests might have experienced before the COVID-19 pandemic, says Allerton Event Coordinator Ashley Sims.
The series began in 2013, and she says that in a normal year, each concert would have artists, kids’ activities and games. But, this year, the concerts will be a little more subdued, with just the musical artists performing and food available for patrons to purchase.
“This year, we tried hard to do things a little more cautiously,” Sims says. There are capacity limits of 600 attendees per concert, and guests are required to register online before they can attend.
Another change from before is the number of concerts and their timing.
“Usually, we have three to four concerts a summer, one a month starting in June,” says Sims. “In June, we have the ‘Love for All(erton)’ concert; July is ‘Red, White, and the Blues;’ August is the Irish Festival; and September would be the ‘Prairie Sky’ concert.”
This year, concerts started July 1, and they will continue every other weekend until August 26. Sims also says that they’ve shifted the concerts from their usual Friday nights to Thursday nights and Sunday afternoons as another step toward keeping capacities lower.
Last summer, during the height of the pandemic, Sims says that Allerton still had concerts, but they weren’t in person.
“Some were virtual concerts, some were drive-through concerts, but there was nothing in the park.”
The next concert is Sunday, July 11, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., and it will feature the band Kittens Incorporated, a husband and wife duo from Champaign that describes their music as “breezy pop.” Admission is free, but a donation of $5 per person or $10 per family is suggested.
A full line up for the concert series and pre-registration information can be found here.