Peoria, Illinois’ Railfest unites fans of all styles of music

Railfest is a festival that takes place in Peoria, Illinois at the RAIL II. This music venue has been a main contender in the scene for central Illinois. The fest is Saturday, September 26 at 2 p.m. Bands scheduled to perform include Up + At Em, The Kyle Smith Variety Show, Terribly Happy, The City, The Ruins, Unamused Dave and many more! Admission to the festival is only $5.

BRP’s Lauren Van Houwe interviewed Mitch Lowery, showrunner and bassist for The City, The Ruins about all things Railfest and the central Illinois music scene.

How did Railfest become an event? This is the second one, correct?
LOWERY: Correct. As long as I’ve been in the music scene in central Illinois, the brass rail has been the only consistent place for local bands of any genre to come play their music. But even throughout the years, they brought so many bigger bands here to such a small town. This is our way of making sure we always have a place like this for bands to play music and have a good time.

What makes this fest better than last years’ in your opinion?
Last year it was almost strictly metal/hardcore bands that came to play with a few exceptions. This year, the selection of bands is way more of a variety. I feel like there is very little ground of music that won’t be covered. Everyone should enjoy it.

I know your band, “The City, The Ruins” is playing—should we expect surprises from you guys compared to the last show you played?
We haven’t played a show in a couple months—member changes and whatnot. We literally had to write all new material. So, this show is huge for us as a band. We will be able to showcase our abilities to come back from such a huge loss and see if we can still get our fans behind us as much as we used to. We may even break out an oldie for a couple of our fans that have been there since the start. All in all, we’ve never played a show that means this much to our future.

Would you consider this fest fully DIY?
Yes. It’s almost crazy how much stress Railfest is to set up. There are no contracts or guarantees for bands so drops are always expected and do happen. It’s word of mouth and social media that gets people to the show. But the crazy turnout we had last year was just astounding for the amount of promotion we really didn’t have.

Are all the bands on your line up this year from Illinois? Do you ever plan to branch to Indiana or surrounding areas?
Honestly, I had a couple bands reach out to me from other areas to play. Most needed some sort of compensation, which I fully understand. But, with this being a benefit show of sorts it was unfortunately something I couldn’t guarantee.

Maybe in the future, do you hopefully plan to expand this to other areas?
That’s the plan. Always awesome to give exposure to bands that don’t always get to play here. There are some awesome people that come to these shows that would definitely dig bands that aren’t from around here.

How many bands are on this fest, and who are you the most stoked to see?
Eleven. A lot of these bands I personally have never seen before and that’s who I’m most excited to see. However, my dudes in Up + At Em are gonna kill it for sure.

According to the event page, you’re going to have a surprise band! That’s exciting. When do you think you’ll release the news?
I’m really just waiting on the band to give me the thumbs up. However, regardless, it’s definitely gonna be super gnarly to have them play Railfest again for their first show back.

Sounds so sick dude. I’m for sure attending but I encourage anyone in the area to attend this. So can you just tell us the time it starts and how much and etc?
It starts at 2 p.m. and it’s only $5 to get in all day. Last year it was $10 and we had a great turnout. So this is kind of a social experiment as well to get more people here who don’t have a lot of funds available to them. As always, I encourage people to come regardless. The support typically means more and we can work with your budget. But that doesn’t mean buy beer all night at the bar if we let you in [laughs].

Since this is a bar, is it all ages? Or 21+?
All ages. Our wonderful door person will be making sure that only the appropriate people will be drinking.

Rumor has it someone will be taking photos so we can share with readers?
I hope so. Band photos are always really rad. BRP

Mitch Lowery is a part of the band The City, The Ruins, which will be playing at this event. You can check out their music on Bandcamp and following the event, visit Merit Imagery for photos of performances. Spread this news like wildfire and bring your friends!

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Written by Lauren Van Houwe

Edited by Chelsea Renee Scofield
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