Urbana-Champaign Local Music Preservation Initiative

The Urbana-Champaign community has long supported a dynamic popular music scene. Music venues such as the Blind Pig, Mabel’s, Trito’s Uptown, Nature’s Table, Cowboy Monkey, and The Highdive have attracted a diverse group of talented musicians to the community over the years. The local music scene is also supported by a network of independent, non-commercial venues such as family living rooms, loft spaces, churches, and community recreation centers where new local talent could develop their performance skills. In addition, the local music industry, including recording studios, record stores, record labels, music festivals, talent management agencies, and independent media outlets have helped our community nurture this remarkable scene. As a result, nationally- and internationally-recognized performers such as REO Speedwagon, Head East, Starcastle, Adrian Belew, the Elvis Brothers, Alison Krauss, and Hum were able to call our community home during significant parts of their performing and recording careers.

In 2013, the University of Illinois Library’s Sousa Archives and Center for American Music (SACAM) launched the Urbana-Champaign Local Music Preservation Initiative to better document the community’s vital music heritage. Working in collaboration with an advisory board that includes representatives from the Champaign County Historical Archives, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Library and Archives, and the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of American History, and local music stakeholders, this initiative seeks to identify, acquire, and preserve historical records and artifacts of Urbana-Champaign’s vibrant popular music scene.  Since 2013 the historical documents and artifacts acquired through this project have been made available to researchers and the general public through exhibitions, educational programs, and public performances hosted by the Sousa Archives and Center for American Music.

Contact Information

Urbana-Champaign Local Music Preservation Initiative
Sousa Archives and Center for American Music
240 Harding Band Building
1103 S. Sixth St.
Champaign, IL 61820