© 2024 WGLT
A public service of Illinois State University
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations
Audio-rich stories from around Bloomington-Normal, recorded during the summer of 2023 and 2024. New episodes air throughout the summer on WGLT's Sound Ideas.

ICYMI: Make Music Normal turned 10 years old this weekend

Make Music Normal celebrated 10 years of bringing live music to the Bloomington-Normal community on June 28 and 29. Initially an event that featured artists scatterd about town, the two-day music fest eventually moved to Uptown Normal.
Emily Bollinger
/
WGLT
Make Music Normal celebrated 10 years of bringing live music to the Bloomington-Normal community. Initially an event that featured artists all over town, the two-day music fest eventually moved entirely to Uptown Normal.

In its first year, Make Music Normal didn't actually take place all in Uptown Normal. Instead, it was a buskers festival — artists playing around town in what Normal Civic Arts Manager Adam Fox described as "planned spontaneity."

"The problem with planned spontaneity is that it's really hard to promote and get people to show up, to be like, 'Hey, go to the grocery store at 2:45 and maybe someone will have a flute. We don't know,'" Fox told WGLT in a recent interview.

Fox joined the town staff after that first year — and he had an idea.

"Right after I came in, I said, 'What if we made it more of a destination festival? What if we had it be something that people were coming to and had a central gathering place?'" Fox said. "Uptown Normal was the logical home for it. It started small and it's grown to what we're seeing this year, which is pretty amazing."

Far removed from its days as a one-stage festival in a parking lot where Leah Marlene spontaneously played long before her appearance on American Idol, the festival — organized largely by Fox and Normal Civic Arts Specialist Morgan Schulte — has grown to a two-day affair that features dozens of acts across multiple stage.

This year, some 50 shows were booked, including nationally touring act SUPERSUCKERS.

The best way to experience music is, of course, to listen to it. If you missed this year's festival, you can listen or watch a recap below:

Lyndsay Jones is a reporter at WGLT. She joined the station in 2021. You can reach her at lljone3@ilstu.edu.