May 25, 2018

Sunset Concert Series 40th birthday season to feature music, giveaways and more

by Christi Mathis

CARBONDALE, Ill. — The 40th season of Carbondale’s favorite summer tradition – the Sunset Concerts – kicks off on June 14 and the anniversary celebration includes special giveaways, an additional venue and, of course, great music!

The free outdoor concerts continue each Thursday evening at 7 p.m. through July 26 at various locales on the campus of Southern Illinois University Carbondale and in the city of Carbondale. In recent years, the concerts have alternated between the steps of Shryock Auditorium at SIU and Carbondale’s Turley Park. 

That’s still the case for 2018 but, for the first time, concerts will be held in a downtown locale as well. Two of the July dates will see concerts at the corner of Washington Street and Illinois 13, across from the Newell House.

Diverse music offerings

The 2018 Sunset Concert lineup is a wide mix of music genres. The schedule includes:

  • June 14 – Down North, a soul/punk band from Seattle, Shryock Auditorium steps.
  • June 21 – The Tillers, a Cincinnati folk/bluegrass band with a touch of punk and jazz, Turley Park.
  • June 28 – Donovan Keith – soul/pop music and high-energy dance from Texas with Midwestern roots, Shryock steps.
  • July 5 – Dos Santos, a Chicago band playing an eclectic mix of traditional Mexican folk, punk, psychedelic cumbia, salsa and electronica, Turley Park.
  • July 12 – Jungle Dogs, a regional “world beat” band featuring rock, reggae, calypso, ska and funk tunes, Corner of Washington Street and Illinois 13.
  • July 19 – Sheryl Youngblood, funk/blues music from Chicago/Joliet area, corner of Washington Street and Illinois 13.
  • July 26 – The Band Be Easy, reggae from Jacksonville, Fla., Shryock steps.

Birthday bonus

People attending the concerts this summer will get some special freebies – stadium cups and can koozies bearing the 40th Anniversary Sunset Concert Series logo.

The concerts, as always, are sponsored by the Student Programming Council and Student Center at SIU along with the Carbondale Park District and city of Carbondale. Special sponsorships from J&L Construction, the SIU Credit Union, the University Bookstore and Silkworm are covering the costs of the giveaways.

Food and shirts available

Two different commemorative T-shirts will be available for purchase at each of the concerts. Each bears the special anniversary logo and will be available in limited supplies.

Concert-goers will also have the opportunity to purchase a variety of foods at the concerts, courtesy of local restaurants and food trucks.

Honoring the history of the series

The 2018 Sunset Concert Series is dedicated to two men who worked tirelessly to found and continue the event.

John W. Corker served as SIU Student Center director from 1976 to 1995, helping the university and city team up to introduce the concerts. Don Castle served at the Student Center as assistant director and then associate director from 1987 until his retirement in 2017.

Both men passed away in the last six months.

A few rules assure fun for the crowds

The concerts, a staple of the region, typically draw large crowds. To assure everyone has an enjoyable and safe time at the concerts, a few rules are in place.

Glass bottles, pets, smoking and solicitation are prohibited. Underage drinking laws will be enforced. And, those attending may only bring single-serve containers.

More information

For additional information about the 2018 Sunset Concert Series, contact the Office of student Engagement at 618/453-5714, visit the website at or follow the Student Center on Facebook or Twitter.