Break into CU’s vibrant music scene


The Daily Illini File Photo

Located on campus, the State Farm Center brings big name acts to Champaign each year. Last year, The 1975 and Green Day were among the mix.

By Jessica Bursztynsky, News editor

Living in a Big Ten college town has plenty of perks, and one of the nicest things about Chambana is the music scene.

Since the University hosts over 40,000 students, it’s no wonder that many big name acts will travel to Campustown for performances.

And since said 40,000 students will like a variety of genres, it’s also no surprise that each and every person can find something to fit their taste.

State Farm Center

State Farm Center, opened in 1963, spent a few years undergoing renovations and is back and better than ever. With over 15,000 seats, it’s unsurprising that the venue will host several big name artists this year including the Foo Fighters.

The large arena sits across the street Memorial Stadium, so it’s conveniently located on campus—especially for those living in the Ikenberry dorms. It’s also the most traditional concert venue, so expect security and expensive food and drink prices as you would with any large venue in Chicago. More recognized artists stop by, so plan to spend more money on tickets than you would for a concert at a downtown bar, such as Cowboy Monkey.

Krannert Center for the Performing Arts

So you may not be a fan of regular radio pop. We’re fortunate to have one of the most acoustically-sound auditoriums in the world right here on campus. Krannert Center for the Performing Arts—or Krannert—hosts a variety of artists, including jazz bands and orchestras. The venue is also known to host world-renowned groups like the Chicago Symphony Orchestra.

Occasionally, people can be found passing out free or discounted tickets to these concerts at the Ikenberry Commons, as long as you show them your iCard. Students also can regularly enjoy discounted prices, due to the yearly student fees. If you’ve never seen a classical performance, make use of your funds, and venture out this year.

Canopy Club

The Canopy Club is one of the most versatile music spaces on campus. I went from seeing Portugal the Man one semester to Waka Flaka the next.

While it’s not the largest of spaces, some of the best memories can be made at the Canopy Club. There’s no permanent seating, so there’s plenty of room to dance and move around – unless the area is packed. There’s also large coolers of water placed conveniently at the bars, so if it gets too hot, you can take a second to cool off.

Tickets for shows at the Canopy Club can vary to pretty inexpensive, about $5, to moderate prices, $20. It depends on the prominence of the artist.

One of the best things though, is the fact that you can purchase tickets at Manolo’s right around the corner, and buy a few empanadas while you’re at it. Tickets bought in-person at Manolo’s also get you a dollar off your next purchase, so when you’re feeling munchie after the concert, you can grab a quick snack.

Downtown venues

Live music can be found pretty much anywhere in downtown Champaign. Hop on the 1N Yellow and walk around with some friends, checking out the different bars. Maybe you’ll find your new favorite local band, and even get to chat with them or grab a drink after their performance.

Cowboy Monkey has the most consistent entertainment, and tickets and show information are readily available on their Facebook page. Just be sure to check the age requirements, since shows can occasionally be 21 and up.

While much more formal – and pricey – than a bar, the Virginia Theatre hosts a variety of performances over the year. Grab a classic rock lover and get tickets to see ZZ Top in September.

Jessica is a junior in Media.
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