Champaign Streetfest 2022 turns up the heat, kicks off summer celebration


Rebecca Oriza

C-U residents enjoy live music at the intersection of Neil and Main St. during Street Fest 2022 on Sunday. Street Fest is an annual event that features a variety of local musicians.

By Rebecca Oriza , Staff Writer

To kick off warm weather and fun, the Champaign Park District hosted Streetfest 2022. If you went by Neil Street and Main Street on Saturday, you would find a couple of blocks closed off as the streets filled with people enjoying local refreshments, and children cartwheeling and dancing to the festive music. About 200 people of all ages attended the annual event. This year, the festival featured local bands performing various genres. Blasting rock tunes, the event started off with Decadents, followed by Retro Via, an Indie/Alt-Rock band.

Retro Via is made up of four best friends, and they practice weekly out of a warehouse in East Champaign. All the members are local talents, and their keyboard player — Brett Anderson — even attended the University. 

Jared Prince, the lead, said that the band’s Streetfest performance was his favorite to date.

“This is probably like the biggest show we’ve got to play,” they said. “We do a lot of like Friday night lives and things like that where a lot of people walk by. But this is kinda cool ‘cause you’ve got to sit around and listen. And definitely, the most kids dancing that we’ve ever had at one of our shows. We had a big stage to play on, a lot of room to move around and kind of get some energy going. So it’s fun.”

Retro Via got to perform several of their originals, with “Sedatives” being Prince’s favorite.

“We did a new one tonight called ‘Sedatives,’” he said. “We’ve been working on it like in our warehouse for a while trying to fine tune it. And we finally brought it out tonight, and it’s just really good to kind of get some feedback on it. From our perspective, it went really well, it’s got some cool lyrics. It’s a fun one to play and sing.” 

Having spent most of his life in the C-U area, Prince has a great appreciation for the community and said he believes there’s potential for budding musicians.

“I remember when I was in high school and college, it was like a lot of music happening,” he said. “You had The Canopy Club, Iron Post. There’s just music everywhere. I played by myself for a long time, and it just took a while to find those right people to play with. So if you’re a musician, I think this is a great community.” 

Will Schoell, a special events coordinator for the Champaign Park District, shared the same sentiment.

​​“I was born and raised here so I’m a little biased, but I love it,” Schoell said. “I think it’s a great place to live, it’s a great place to grow and learn. You can enjoy the parks at the park district and come to cool events like this in the summer.”

Schoell is part of the hard-working team behind the night’s festivities, and he helped book the musicians and set up the area. 

“It’s just nice to get people out and join some good music being out in the community and sometimes it’s important to have some fun,” he said.

One of the many attendees who enjoyed the night of fun was Logan Caroll. Having recently moved from Kentucky, he said he appreciated the city for hosting the event.

We’ve been (to) Friday Night Live and stuff like that, but this is definitely bigger, and I don’t know, it’s just nice to see everyone together,” he said.

He and his wife enjoyed dinner at Big Grove Tavern and a drink from The Literary, some of the many local establishments within StreetFest. 

As the night proceeded, the adults began taking over the dance floor, jamming to The Funk Brotherz — a fusion of pop, rock, blues and every color, that made the night a blast. 

But the festivities aren’t over because the Champaign Park District will be hosting another Street Fest this summer. Schoell said he welcomes everyone to check out other events throughout the summer as well. 

“If you’re tired of campus being a little quiet, come downtown or visit some of the parks throughout the park district,” he said. “See you out here on July 11.”


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