Illinois Times Best Of’s 2020 Nominee Voting Begins Now


It’s that time of year again. Yes, even a pandemic can not stop it. The time that we all love, and we all hate at the same time. The Illinois Times Best Of’s series. This time: 2020 edition. And the same with previous years, first is “nominee voting” where we all place nominations for our favorite local businesses, people, and events to go on as finalists in another round. Nominee voting goes from August 13th-24th. Then the real deal finalist voting is September 17th-28th. Then winners are selected and published in October.

To go vote in the nominee voting, head on over to the Illinois Times website right here.

We were lucky enough to win in the category of “Best New Business Downtown” last year. (A category we can only win once). This year we are once again in the running for “place to go downtown,” “best venue (small)”, and “best music shop.” Feel free to vote for us if you want! In addition to all of those categories, there is voting for your favorite local bands and musicians, restaurants and food spots, etc.

We usually do our own “best of’s” poll at the end of each year highlighting shows (R.I.P. for 2020) and local band releases.

The Illinois Times: “Lincoln’s Legends Podcast Is Back”


Here’s a little tid bit as reported by The Illinois Times this past week that we thought we would share with you all. Remember the content-creating local podcast that was based out of our old store’s old location called Lincoln’s Legends Podcast? No? Yes? Well, it’s back, baby. Jeremie Bailey of Lincoln’s Legends is at it again, this time recording out of Cafe Moxo (or at least he was before all dining inside was shut down). From the article:

“My new goal is to connect with people from my community and learn how they mentally navigate through their day,” he said. “I have an intense passion to give back because I am confident that my mental health, relationships, and professional career are directly attributed to podcasting and radio.”

Check out the full article online right here. The return episode of the podcast is episode number 70 and features Kevin Wasmer of Pedal Python and the local band Enamel. Check that out right here.

Black Sheep, Dumb Fest Finalists in The Illinois Times’s “Best of Springfield 2018”


It’s that time of year again (you know what’s up), once again The Illinois Times are in the middle of gathering votes for their annual “Best Of” series where you get to vote for your favorite local businesses, bands, musicians, and public figures here in Springfield. This year just like every year now for a good number of years, The Black Sheep has made it on a list of finalists for best “small music venue.” Dumb Fest has made it on a list of finalists for “best music festival”. Dumb Records does not fit into any category, sorry. There are also a few band categories this year, although a notable one “best punk band” is not even a category this year, neither is “best all ages band” which have both featured bands frequently playing Black Sheep in the past. We won’t tell you who to vote for for any of these categories, but you can find the link to vote below!


The Illinois Times will be posting their results for their polls in their October 25th issue later on next month. Our own “Best of Springfield Music” poll is ran on this site in December, so look forward to that as a poll that highlights more local bands, shows, and releases for 2018.

The Illinois Times: “Celebrating Three Decades, Skank Skates Needs Help”


Some of you may have caught that Southtown made it into the papers again this week!- This time there is a page in weekly publication The Illinois Times about Skank Skates, which recently celebrated 30 years since ramps began construction in 1987 and the park opened its doors in 1988.

Scott Faingold wrote the article in today’s paper about Skanks turning 30 years, the numerous times the park was shut down by the city, well as the hardships owner George Sinclair and Skanks are facing today. From the article:

For most of the past three decades, Sinclair’s work in commercial lighting underwrote his DIY labors of love, but the company he worked for was recently bought out by a larger corporation, replacing Sinclair with its own reps. “I’ve been trying to get work doing contracting jobs or painting houses – and that will handle the day-to-day expenses, utilities, etc. – but things like property taxes and insurance keep going up to where you can’t seem to ever get the ends to meet.”

Check out that full article right here online or pick up a copy of The Illinois Times this week at various local businesses around town. Find a link to a new Project Southtown website right here, and a link to a newly launched GoFundMe page for Project Southtown and Skank Skates right here.

The Illinois Times: Best of Springfield 2017 (Results)


On Thursday The Illinois Times released the results for their annual “Best Of Springfield” poll, highlighting local businesses, food, musicians, and people.

This year Black Sheep was in the running for Best Small Music Venue, which we unfortunately did not win. However Southtown did get a mention in the staff picks this year as “Best Tenacious Upstarts.” From that section:

At the corner of 11th Street and S. Grand stands a veritable Mecca of youthful D.I.Y. culture, including all-ages music venue Black Sheep, Dumb Records, Southtown Sound Recording Studio, Boof City Skate Shop and a skateboard ramp. That ramp, Skank Skates, is now celebrating its 30th year and remains the cornerstone of a group of like-minded businesses which have put Springfield on the map nationally and internationally, with independent musicians from all over traveling to play the Black Sheep’s stage and then marveling at the surrounding environs. Ironically, waxing and waning local support can make daily survival a perpetual struggle but that makes the dogged dedication of the young owners and operators of these businesses even more heroic.

Thank you to the staff of Illinois Times for giving us that mention! Check out the rest of the results on the Illinois Times website, or pick up a copy of this week’s issue at various local businesses around town. We used to get the magazine inside Dumb Records but they stopped delivering it to us for some reason.

Illinois Times: Best of Springfield 2017 Finalist Voting


Today The Illinois Times have released their official ballot for this year’s 2017 Best of Springfield poll. The finalists were generated from nominees that were chosen from nominee voting that was open to the public a few weeks prior to this. You can vote for your favorite bands, musicians, artists, places, people, and events on the ballot. Find the voting for that online right here. Here are a few notable finalists that you can vote for!

The Black Sheep for Best Small Live Music Venue
The Black Sheep for Best Open Mic
Dumb Fest for Best Music Festival

We support all bands and people doing anything in this whole city and don’t like choosing favorite bands – but some of you might want to check out categories of “Best Hip Hop Performer”, “Best Original Music Band” or “Best Punk Band” to see a few names that regularly play Black Sheep.

The results for the Best Of’s will be released in The Illinois Times on Thursday, October 26th. We will once again launch our Best of Springfield Music poll on our site at the very end of the year.

Illinois Times Best of 2017 Nominee Voting (Now Until September 3rd)


It’s that time of year again. The Illinois Times has now launched the nominee voting for their “Best of Springfield” poll for 2017. Now is your chance to nominate all of your favorite local businesses, bands, musicians, and people for a chance to make it to the next round of voting. Nominee voting goes from now until September 3rd. You can check that out online right here.

The Black Sheep would likely be in the running for “best small live music venue” if we make it on to the next round. Southtown Sound and Dumb Records don’t seem to fit into any categories this year. Perhaps Southtown Sound could go for “best new business (open within the last 12 months) not downtown”?

Actual voting for the IT Best Of’s will go from September 14th through October 1st. The results will then be released in the issue of The Illinois Times on October 26th. We do our own “Best of Local Music” on our site at the very end of the year.

The Illinois Times: “Music Ties That Bind”


With two colossal punk / alternative & new wave bands from Springfield’s past reuniting this upcoming weekend at Black Sheep (Food & Money and Backwards Day) – Tom Irwin and The Illinois Times are commemorating the upcoming reunions by publishing a cover story this week with an in-depth look at the history of both bands and punk music in Springfield as a whole. The front page article is “Music Ties That Bind” – Generations of local punk and new wave musicians unite for a concert. The concert the article refers to of course is this Saturday at Black Sheep with Food & Money, Backwards Day, Livin’ Thing, and Spellbreaker and includes punk music coming from four? five? different decades in Springfield from the 1970’s to the present. From the article:

Springfield has gone through four periods of what rock music genre critics named “punk/new wave/alternative,” a style created to disturb the status quo of contemporary popular music. Our first era coincided with the appearance of “punk” on the national and international stage, when, in the mid-to-late 1970s, after a period of easy listening hits and progressive rock meanderings, pop music seemed ripe for a change. Local musicians in town reacted to this music revolution by forming bands such as Food & Money, The Strand/Condition 90, Bad Cake, Bux da Hoota, Nervous Soldier, Will To Dance and NIL8, plus many more.

You can pick up a copy of The Illinois Times at various local businesses around town including Dumb Records, or check out the full online article right here. The rest of the article includes a look at different waves of punk music in Springfield, more photos, and more.

Food & Money (1979-1982) and Backwards Day (1988-1994) will be reuniting this Saturday at Black Sheep. For more info on the show you can go right here. Food & Money also have an LP of unreleased material coming out for this reunion released by Alona’s Dream Records. Check out one of the songs from that LP streaming below.

Illinois Times: “Wise Up To Dumb Fest”


Yes, that’s right! The Illinois Times is all about that Dumb Fest too- Tom Irwin’s column this week is mainly centered around the event with a photo of Warm Bodies (above, by Garrett Fisbeck). Check out the article “Wise Up To Dumb Fest” online right here, or pick up a copy of the Times today inside Dumb Records. From the article:

Welcome to Dumb Fest weekend, which covers three days worth of very cool and extremely expressive bands, based mostly in the world of what one might call various degrees of DIY (Do-It-Yourself) punk rock music. Categorizing the music is like saying Woodstock was just a rock concert festival and ignoring the grand diversity of the artists performing. Along the same lines, a few weeks ago, the John Hartford Memorial Festival featured several groups related through bluegrass/acoustic sounds. To some, the bands might seem the same, but to devotees of the music, each artist has a distinct sound within the genre.

Dumb Fest 5 kicks off at 6:00 pm inside Black Sheep tomorrow! For a full breakdown and a schedule of who’s playing you can check out our Dumb Fe5t page right here. Time is up to by 3-day passes, but you can still pay at the door for all of the shows. Find a Dumb Fest facebook event right here.

The Illinois Times: “The Radon Lounge Keep Concerts On The Down-Low”


The Illinois Times are on a roll this week with covering things going on in the D.I.Y. music community in Springfield! Here’s another article in this week’s issue on The Radon Louge – also written by Scott Faingold who also wrote the article on Southtown Sound which we posted about earlier today. The Radon Lounge are a Springfield house venue that has been going for a whole five years now, which is a good chunk of Black Sheep’s existence. We have always been supportive of what’s going on over at The Radon and consider them a much needed asset to our community. From the article:

For the past five years, the Radon Lounge has been hosting an impressive variety of local and touring bands, averaging one show per month. However, like a post-millennial speakeasy, anyone wanting to attend a concert at Radon is obliged to contact the venue via email or social media, simply to discover where it’s located. Venue founder Jeff Black, who also books all the talent, explains that this is a matter of neighborly consideration rather than mystique. The reason is simple enough: The Radon Lounge is in fact the basement of his home, located in the heart of a Springfield residential neighborhood.

Check out the full article online right here, or pick up a copy of The Illinois Times at various local businesses around town.

And what do you know, The Radon Lounge also have a show going on tonight at the same time as our hip hop show. Theirs starts at 7:00 pm and features Bonesetters, Blind Social, Eric Marvel, Ian Winterbrauer, Jen Santarelli, and Copper Pot Cooking Studios. More on that show right here.