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Getting Deep Blue in Monmouth


An old vaudeville stage in Monmouth will rock back to life for the seventh Deep Blue Innovators Blues Festival.

This year’s show will feature Grammy winner Alvin Youngblood Hart, Nikki Hill, and The Cassie Taylor Band.

“It’s kind of cool this year. We really have three headliners,” said organizer Paul Schuytema. 

The festival will also feature local guitarist Charlie Hayes with his longtime harpist Joel Fleming, and Glenn’s Blues Band, which was put together by local musician Glenn Brooks.

The doors will open at the Rivoli Theatre at 2:00 pm on Saturday, October 26. The music will begin at 2:30 pm. 

Tickets are $15 in advance and $20 at the door.  They can be purchased on the Deep Blue Innovators Blues Festival website, or in Monmouth at the Buchanan Center for the Arts, Daw Violins, the Bijou, and Market Alley Wines; in Galesburg at Cherry Street Guitar, Music Makers, and Fat Fish Pub; in Macomb at Capitol Music; and in Burlington at Weird Harold's. 

The festival is put on entirely by volunteers.

“I think I’m really lucky because I have the same crew year in and year out,” said Schuytema.  “And so we just know what to do. All you basically have to tell them is when to show up.”

He considered it “a pretty well-oiled machine.”

Credit Rich Egger
Paul Schuytema

Schuytema said he works to line-up the bands and tries to create a flow of music throughout the day.  His goal is to at least pencil in acts before the end of the calendar year for the following year’s fest.

The radio story

He said the Rivoli was originally built as a vaudeville theatre and movie house.

“It’s got a big old stage, a really historic and kind of scary green room under the stage, (and) a really nice balcony. It was never one of those really fancy theatres.  The Orpheum in Galesburg was built as a fancy theatre. This is kind of working class.”

He also said it has the same sound system as the House of Blues in Chicago so it has “an absolutely great sound system.”

Food and beverages will be available for purchase inside, and Schuytema said Eddie B will have his smoker set up outside the Rivoli to sell smoked ribs and pulled pork through the day.

Tri States Public Radio will also host a concert October 26 in Monmouth. The Honey Dewdrops will perform at the Buchanan Center for the Arts beginning at 7:00 pm. 

A ticket to either concert is good for a discounted price on a ticket for the other.

Rich is TSPR's News Director.