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 musicians and bands to the community including REO Speedwagon, Head East, Star Castle, Adrian Belew, the Elvis Brothers, Alison Krauss, and Hum. In 2013, the University of Illinois Library’s Sousa Archives and Center for American Music launched the Urbana-Champaign Local Music Preservation Initiative to better document the community’s vital music heritage. Working in collaboration with the Champaign County Historical Archives, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Library, the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of American History, and many local music stakeholders over the past year, the Sousa Archives has acquired many new collections including Periscope Records, the Della Perrone Photographs, the Poster Children Records, and the Jack W. Davis Papers. This two-color poster advertising a performance by English progressive rockers Mark-Almond and University of Illinois heroes REO Speedwagon features a colorful design and illustration by Illinois alumnus Jack W. Davis, who was also active as a bass guitarist in many of the community’s contemporary rock bands, and whose graphic design career continues to the present.
As local and regional interest in this new preservation initiative has grown, the staff of the Sousa Archives have developed new informational pages on its website to help keep the community up to date on our new acquisitions, exhibitions, public programs, and other important historical resources that document the heritage of our exciting local and regional music scene. For further information on these new online resources visit our new local-music page at the link below.