Where to Begin?

You may be new to Bloomington/Normal and you may happen to enjoy the atmosphere of live music. Coming to a new town for whatever reason it may be; college, new job, or just randomly ended up here. Whatever the case, where do you begin in a town with such a numerous population? Finding restaurants, grocery stores and everything else is pretty obvious with a little aimless driving around. What isn't so obvious to discover is the music scene. Whether you're looking to start a band, or just looking to watch some local music acts, discovering where to go and who to talk to can leave you feeling like a little fish in a big pond. There's a lot to learn but you're using the best resource available for the distribution of information; the internet, so obviously you're using your noggin. Using this guide will help you to achieve great success in diving into the underground (and sometimes not so often underground) music scene of Bloomington/Normal. Being a decent sized city, it offers your a wide variety of musical genres and local or national acts to help satisfy your need for a rockin' good time.

Your Taste In Music

Music is divided into what we call "genres". With the division of music genres comes the geographic placement within the community. It's much like your typical highschool social network that's divided into many cliqs where you can find each cliq in the same spot before classes everyday. Once you've decided what type of music you like you can figure out where you'll be looking at for shows! You can get a taste of what Blo/No has to offer by checking out this list of some of the locals! Local Musicians and Bands!

Bars-Typically party techno kind of music. Houses-Typically rock/punk, very underground/pretty exclusive. You'd have to know people to find about these shows typically. Coliseums-Anything and everything. Usually stuff everyone knows, a lot of it is geared towards the older/richer crowd. Usually expensive tickets.

Using Your Resources

There are a lot of ways you can discover shows or bands through sources of information. Being in college, word of mouth is too easy. Use your best judgement skills and figure out what kids like what music. Chances are you can tell pretty easily and they might just know some local bands! The best source is of course, the internet. No internet access you say? Wrong. WiFi Hot Spots Click There. Websites that would be of best interest to help guide you through local music, besides WikiSpot of course, is Facebook or Myspace. The invention of "Events" pages on such websites has lead to the downfall of the flyer (typically small handouts regarding information of when/where/who etc.). http://www.facebook.com has a very easy to use interface where you can see events all your friends are attending with all the information about the event as well as who all is attending! A great way to communicate with people with similar interests. A lot of the time bands create personal pages on these websites and usually have a lot of communication with other local bands, thus scratching the surface. http://www.myspace.com/events/Browse/PopularShows automatically figures out your location and shows you times and dates of local music shows! From this you can figure out some names of the local bands in the area start doing some research. Want another way to discovering local bands? Let's discuss that.


There are tons of them, everywhere. From houses, to stadiums, to coffeehouses, to bars, to backyards and parks. If you're new to the local music scene, the best way to discover bands are to go to the actual venues and look at flyers. Good chances are they'll be promoting shows their weeks if not months in advance. A great list of venues, is Local Venues on the WikiSpot. It's a great start to get information on just some of the venues here in town. If you discover som e flyers there and hit up the show, it's only uphill from there. Don't be afraid to go out of your box too, different types of shows in different venues are whole new worlds to be discovered, and it can be a pretty good time. While at these shows, socializing is a big thing if you want to dive deeper into the local music scene. Obviously the kids attending shows know a thing or two about discovering local acts, so access their database and make a friend.

Going out of Blo/No

If you're dedicated/thirsty enough, Bloomington won't be able to satisfy your need. Compared to some surrounding cities of the same population, the music scene here is pretty weak. Plus going out of town for a night of some sweet music is a really good time, especially with a car full of your good buds. There are a few venues listed on the Local Venues that are just a few miles out of town that are pretty popular from time to time. Within an hour or so of Bloomington are towns like Peoria, Champaign, and Springfield. Each city has it's fair share of venues from large to small and of course everything in between. Best place overall is of course Chicago with a limitless array of musical styles and venues. What band wouldn't want to play Chicago? It's generally a great city with tons of people and tons of suburbs so chances are shows are fairly packed. Without any knowledge of cities though, like stated, it's important to communicate with people at the shows you do attend. Most cases, there are bands from out of city or even out of state. Talking to bands from out of town can gain you a wealth of information about what is out there. Best way to find out the happenings out of town is the internet. Using the show finder on Myspace can open up everything for you as far as finding events, venues, addresses, and local bands to further research and discover.


What could be more fun that just going to shows? Going to festivals of course! From Warped to Bamboozle to Summer Camp there's a festival for anything you want to listen to. Ranging from a day in length to weeks at a time, satisfying your need for live music isn't impossible. A great list to find out about festivals is of course Guide to central Illinois Festivals. Not too much can beat getting out of town/state for days on end with good friends and good music. You just have to dig deep enough. Usually most fests are in summertime when most college kids are free to do whatever. Keeping up-to-date on your favorite bands on various websites can open your eyes to festivals, because chances are any decently popular band will attempt playing festivals due to the massive attendance. You want to advertise your band you say? Let's discuss!

Advertising Your Band

Need members? Need fans? Need money? Just takes time. Looking for members can be tricky. Everything has to be just right when looking for potential band members. Personality, skill level, musical interest, reliability, dedication, and whether or not they have the appropriate equipment for what you dream of. The internet is simply a band's best friend. Throwing up statuses on Facebook, posting on the Blo/No Wiki, and doing some research on Google for websites for local bands can aid in your goal. Also posting ads/flyers at local music shops is a great way to reach out to local musicians who want the same thing! Don't know any local music shops? Music Shops Now you do. Post an ad stating every detail you can imagine and wait for a phone call. Creating a band, good music, and developing a solid fan base takes nothing but time and dedication. Posting flyers about your bands shows around town at coffee houses and anywhere you can think of will help spread the word to people you might otherwise not communicate with too often.

A great list of websites to help spread word of a band: *www.reverbnation.com *www.myspace.com *www.facebook.com *www.twitter.com *www.youtube.com

Those are about all the resources you'd need to really put yourselves out there.

What is working: (Kayla) I really enjoyed reading this page. I go to concerts all the time in town and out and this guide it pretty awesome. I think everythiing works very well and the flow is great as well. You did a good job of getting outisde sources and even bringing up the festivals cause I know they have good music there sometimes too. You did a great job.

(Adam) Very informative and well written.

What is not working: (Kayla) I don't if I can really find something wrong with this. Maybe go back and reread your page and make sure that everything is grmtically correct and that everything is layed out the way you would like it to be. Possibly adding pictures of places in town that have bands and such so that someone could actally see where they would be attending the get together. Other than that you did a good job on your page.

(Adam) Maybe add something more specific about each genre of music. Like for country music go to these places. Rock music these places. Etc. Other than that it was pretty good.