MAHOMET — This weekend, downtown Mahomet will be filled with music lovers, food vendors, bands and more for the annual Mahomet Music Festival, which will feature country music star Joe Nichols.
And all the concerts are open to the public and free to attend.
The only optional cost to enjoy the music is new this year: $10 for “pit passes” right in front of the main stage.
“This is nerve-racking time,” Dave Parsons, music fest committee chairman, said earlier this month as “go time” for the event approached.
Last-minute problems inevitably pop up, he added.
“You take a deep breath and you figure out a solution and then wait for the next day’s problems. But it’s good,” he said. “At the end of the day, nobody will see the little hiccups. We’ll get it fixed.”
The village administrative building’s grounds at 503 E. Main St. is the center of all the downtown activities. The fest also includes a carnival, beer tent, bags tournament and 9 a.m. Saturday morning parade that steps off from and ends at Lincoln Trail Elementary School.
Mahomet has a lot of festivals, but it’s truly known for this one.
“This is humongous. This has become Mahomet’s premier event of the year,” said Parsons, who’s been in charge of the festival committee for about 12 years. “You start to hear more and more people talk about the fact that this is the big event. This is kind of East Central Illinois’ big event. This is the big one.”
“This really is kind of the one that really showcases Mahomet,” he added.
Local leaders heading up the festival planning expect between 8,000 and 10,000 people to flock to downtown for the two-day festival. The cost to put on the musical event is in the neighborhood of $100,000, leading to the new pit pass option for the main stage concerts this year, Parsons explained.
“We can only ask our local businesses to donate so much money. We can only ask the village to donate so much money,” he said. “We have to find every revenue source that there is. So we’re going to charge $10 this year for a pit pass.”
Organizers were reluctant to add any fee, wanting to keep the concerts completely free.
“It kind of hurt my heart a little bit to do it. (Some people say) ‘well, it’s not a free concert.’ Well, it still kind of is,” Parsons said. “It’s our growth, you know, and we have to do what we have to do.”
There will be a second stage this year for the music festival, to be located on the west side of Sangamon On Main, east of the Village of Mahomet Administrative Building and the main stage. Parsons noted that for that stage, local music acts only are slated. Between 1 and 5 p.m. Saturday, performers scheduled are Radiate Praise, Wrath or Mercy, and Hannah Nierenhausen, with more expected to be added.
More information about the music festival is available at mahometmusicfest.com.
On the main stage music roster this year:
Nickel and Dimes, 6:15 p.m.
Blooze Brothers, 7:30 p.m.
Southern Accents, 9:30 p.m.
Building 429, 11 a.m.
Onoleigh Pommier, 6:10 p.m.
Feudin’ Hillbillys, 6:45 p.m.
SmithField, 8 p.m.
Joe Nichols, 9:30 p.m.