The Observer is a Student-run, daily print & online newspaper serving Notre Dame & Saint Mary's. Learn more about us.



Arts and music this week in South Bend

Michelle Fordice and Analise Lipari | Monday, September 1, 2008

Experience local art, music and food at Art Beat 2008

Caught in the whirlwind that is Notre Dame, students don’t often venture out into the South Bend / Mishawaka area that surrounds them. But there is a lot to see, and at the beginning of each school year the city of South Bend offers a glimpse of what is there with their annual downtown festival, Art Beat.

First held in 2003, this signature South Bend event showcases much of the talent the city has to offer in the visual, performing and culinary arts. Over 250 local artists and performers – the City of South Bend Web site mentions that there was a record number of registrants this year – will set up along downtown sidewalks and show off their skills.

The event will focus around five “scenes” set up in the area that will have continuous performances of dance, theater, music, and poetry. For more information, check out the map below.

More permanent features of the area will get in on the action as well. Anyone passing by the South Bend Regional Museum of Art is welcomed into their Perform/Install 2 exhibit, which turns their Warner Gallery into a visual and performing arts venue and features the work of John Benevenuto, Deb Whistler, and Brian Holderman. The College Football Hall of Fame is hosting a film screening of work from the Indiana University South Bend Independent Video and Filmmakers Festival and the Mid America Filmmakers.

Other venues, such as the Morris Performing Arts Center and local galleries, will have special presentations as well. Also, all of the local restaurants will be open for visitors to come in and grab dinner.

The event is free and will be held from 4-8:30 p.m. on Thursday. Art Beat 2008 will spread out around Michigan Street and Colfax Avenue in downtown South Bend. There is free parking in Howard Park and paid parking throughout the area.

Umphrey’s McGee to perform Friday

The Notre Dame community will play host to a band of its native sons on Friday night when Umphrey’s McGee returns to South Bend for a concert at Saint Patrick’s Country Park. This is the third year in a row that the band, whose members have longtime connections to the University, will play a concert the night before the first home football game.

Umphrey’s McGee, while based in Wrigleyville, Chicago, since 2000, found its roots in the members’ college days. With four Notre Dame alumni and a fifth band member from Indiana University in South Bend (IUSB) among its founding members, Umphrey’s McGee has successfully kept up its Notre Dame connection while tending to its growing success across the United States.

Their current lineup includes Jake Cinninger and Brendan Bayliss on guitar and vocals, Joel Cummins on keyboard and vocals, Andy Farag on percussion, Kris Myers on drums and vocals, and Ryan Stasik on bass guitar. Bayliss, Stasik and Cummins are all alums of Notre Dame, and Cinninger’s wife currently works for the University.

Somewhat comparable to Phish and other jam bands, the group’s quirky sense of musicality has helped them build a solid fan base. Their self-made first album, “Greatest Hits, Vol. III,” featured fake Billboard ratings for every track recorded.

To date, Umphrey’s McGee has released eight albums, including 2004’s “Anchor Drops” and 2006’s “Live at The Murat,” which was rated 4 out of 5 stars by Rolling Stone.

The band has also released two live DVDs, 2002’s “Live from the Lake Coast” and 2005’s “Wrapped Around Chicago: New Year’s at the Riv.”

The group’s repeated presence at the popular Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival held each summer in Manchester, Tennessee, as well as other festivals and tours, only increased the growing popularity of this pseudo-jam band ensemble.

Fans looking to capitalize on the Umphrey’s experience can check out their Web site, www.umphreys.com. In addition to the usual “merch,” the site features original podcasts by the band and different set lists from recent concerts, including their August 31st show at Red Rocks in Colorado.

Tickets are being sold at the Morris Performing Arts Center box office in South Bend, as well as via Ticketmaster.com, for $25, and day-of tickets will be sold for $30. The show begins at 7 p.m., and the gates will open at 6 p.m.

Saint Patrick’s Park is an outdoor amphitheater within 5 miles of Notre Dame, located on the banks of the St. Joseph River. For more information, call the Morris Performing Arts Center at (574) 235-9190.

On Thursday, Scene will feature an interview with several of the members of Umphrey’s McGee.