Pygmalion evolving into ‘cultural’ festival


Sydney Laput

Tiktoker Peter Martin, performs at Lollapalooza on the Discord Stage on July 28. Martin will be headlining Pygmalion on Sept. 23 at the Rose Bowl Tavern.

By Sydney Wood, buzz Editor

The 18th annual Pygmalion Festival will return to Champaign-Urbana next month with a program featuring not only nationally touring bands, but authors, social media personalities and more. 

Patrick Singer is the director of development for Pygmalion. He began assisting with the festival’s planning in 2013 and said he is happy to contribute to the vibrancy of the C-U arts and entertainment scene through his work.

“I feel fortunate that I can continue to do this job and help create a cool cultural event for the community,” Singer said. “I also just love booking shows, and putting a bunch of them on the same weekend is always a highlight of the year for me.”

Singer described Pygmalion as being a “cultural festival” due to the expanded scope of programming that ventures outside of booking musical acts. Although he enjoys booking live music, he said it’s exciting to use Pygmalion as a vessel to bring a more diverse set of personalities to C-U.

“We’ve really enjoyed booking comedians and podcasts and anything from influencers to YouTube sensations or podcasts or drag queens,” he said. “We feel it’s a much more fun and dynamic approach to be able to include things that you might not otherwise see at a ‘music festival.’”

Get The Daily Illini in your inbox!

  • Catch the latest on University of Illinois news, sports, and more. Delivered every weekday.
  • Stay up to date on all things Illini sports. Delivered every Monday.
This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.
Thank you for subscribing!

Despite Pygmalion’s aim to garner a more diverse lineup, Singer said the festival “is taking on a bit smaller of a footprint this year” due to its budget and other constraints, but he said this reduction isn’t detrimental.

“While we always continue to expand our programming, we’re not interested in necessarily doing more than we can,” he said. “We try to make it a manageable and approachable event that you can see a bunch of shows in the same weekend.”

One of this year’s headliners is Joanne Lee Molinaro, a University alum also known by her social media handle, The Korean Vegan. Molinaro will be conducting a live cooking session and storytelling appearance at the Krannert Center for the Performing Arts on Sept. 23.

In terms of musical performances, indie-pop band Misterwives is one of this year’s headliners, and the New York-based band will perform at The Canopy Club on Sept. 24.

Petey, also known as Peter Martin, is a popular TikToker and up-and-coming music artist who will be headlining Pygmalion on Sept. 23 at the Rose Bowl Tavern’s outdoor patio in downtown Urbana.

Another Pygmalion staple is the Made Fest, which will return to downtown Urbana on Sept. 23 and 24. Singer said the open-air market will include between 12 to 16 vendors.

“There’s always over a wide variety of makers there,” he said. “It’s a little marketplace, and we like to kind of curate that in order to bring some exposure to local makers and artists here in town.”

Singer said one of Pygmalion’s main focuses is to introduce people to art  they haven’t heard of before, adding that the festival is an “event of discovery.”

“We’d like to think that we’re providing a discovery experience for people to get to, hopefully, see bands that they might not know or might know a little bit, be playing in a more intimate space than they’re used to seeing them in,” he said.

He advised newcomers to the festival to be open-minded about Pygmalion’s lineup and to try to see performers they’re unfamiliar with.

“Oftentimes I have people that say, ‘I’ve never heard of any of these bands.’ What I say to them is, ‘That’s OK,’” Singer said. “I think that, ultimately, a lot of these bands will never and probably have never performed in Champaign-Urbana.”

Singer said he and the other festival organizers feel grateful for the community’s support of Pygmalion. As Singer looks to the future of the festival, he said he hopes to find new acts to represent the diverse range of interests within C-U.

“We feel very fortunate that we’re able to curate and do these things the way we do and support the arts community,” Singer said. “I think that we just want to continue to dig in there and continue to showcase how important it is to the vibrancy and health of a community.”

For more information, visit this


[email protected]