The American Football House continues being iconic site for fans


Photo Courtesy of Camp Edwards

Members of the local band Camp Edwards pose outside the American Football House after performing in October 2019. American Football feature the house on their album cover.

By Gwyn Skiles, Staff Writer

American Football fans that come to the University of Illinois would be delighted to see a nondescript little white house just off of campus.

This house, known to fans as the American Football house, is on the cover of the emo band’s first album. The stairwell inside the house is on their second album cover. 

Many American Football fans across the world travel to campus to see the house in person, graduate student Caitlin Kengle said. Kengle lived in the American Football house with two roommates for the 2019-2020 academic year.

Kengle met several fans taking pictures outside her house. She said the farthest any visitors had traveled was from Australia.

“One time my one roommate Logan was walking in as people were taking pictures, started talking to them and they were from Australia,” Kengle said. “They had come for Riot Fest in Chicago and rented a car and drove down to see the house so Logan invited him inside.”

Kengle’s bedroom was the window above the door, exposed to the front street.

“It was a little weird because that front window was my bedroom so it was a little strange,” Kengle said. “You couldn’t really see into it, but when people post pictures and tag the house on Instagram and it’s at night and the lights are on it’s like ‘oh I’m in my bedroom in that picture, that’s kind of weird.”

However, as a fan of American Football herself, she understood why people would come and take photos. “I am a fan so I totally understood,” Kengle said. “When I found out the house was in Urbana the first time I was here, I was the person going to take the pictures.”

One day, Kengle found a CD on her porch from the band Camp Edwards. 

Founder and songwriter of Camp Edwards, Jameson Ghalioungui, left their EP there, not expecting anything to happen, after seeing Beach Bunny perform at Pygmalion last year. However, Kengle contacted him and asked him to play a show at the house.

Teen divorce performs at the American Football House in October 2019. (Photo Courtesy of Camp Edwards)

“That night basically two hours later I got this weird Facebook notification,” Ghalioungui said. “She found me on Facebook, started messaging me and said she liked the CD and expressed interest in having a show there.”

“You’re not going to not agree, so we said yes,” Ghalioungui said. “I was so excited. Whatever shows we had before we were like ‘cancel that we’re playing this.’”

Camp Edwards had already been scheduled to perform with the former band Teen Divorce in Chicago. Due to a connection Ghalioungui had with Fredo Disco, they got both bands to perform with them at the American Football House.

Member of Camp Edwards, Johnny Neibauer, expressed how immediately the bands accepted the invitation to perform at this once in a lifetime venue.  

“We told Fredo Disco ‘American Football House’ and that’s pretty much all we had to say,” Johnny said. “He was like ‘absolutely’.” 

Jameson Guiliougui said roughly 150 people, mostly students, came for a free show, free booze and a good time. 

However, member of Camp Edwards, Charlie Michka, said he met people that came to specifically see a show at the American Football House.

“Half the people there were definitely Freddo Heads but I met at least a couple people like one guy was from Indiana and he was just like ‘I just saw that there was a show at the American Football House on an emo discord server,” Michka said.

The performance was a highlight for Camp Edwards. 

“The energy was contagious and it felt so crazy,” Neibauer said. “It felt like everyone felt the same way too — it was just so intense.” 

The bands performed in the American Football House’s basement. Jameson’s younger brother and member of Camp Edwards, Marshall Ghalioungui explained how the low ceilings and small basement made the performance feel exposed.

“That was probably the most anxiety I’ve experienced before playing a show,” Ghalioungui said. “And I don’t know why either. I think it was because it was so close to everyone. The way the basement was set-up was like you were standing in the middle of 100 people.”

Michka expressed how the performance conditions weren’t ideal. Kengle explained how living conditions also weren’t ideal.

“It was gross,” Kengle said. “There were mice in the basement, the basement floor would grow mildew all the time. The showerhead in the upstairs bathroom faced the short way of the tub and if the shower curtain was hanging over the edge just a little bit, water would flood the sloped bathroom floor and leak into the kitchen.”

[email protected]