September 03, 2019

Wander Down Music Festival coming to SIU’s Touch of Nature Environmental Center Oct. 18-20

by Christi Mathis

CARBONDALE, Ill. — The Wander Down Music Festival features three days jam-packed with good music. But, the event, set for Oct. 18-20 at Southern Illinois University Carbondale’s Touch of Nature Environmental Center, is much more than that.

It’s a family-friendly weekend with workshops of all kinds, food and more. It all begins at 4 p.m. on Oct. 18 and wraps up at 5 p.m. Oct. 20.

Award-winning musical acts

American music at its finest can be found at the festival. Performers will offer a diverse lineup including roots, folk, bluegrass, rock and soul.

Headlining the fest is the Grammy Award-winning bluegrass band, the Infamous Stringdusters, along with three sets by the Way Down Wanderers. The Woodbox Gang is reuniting to play that weekend.

The playlist also features tunes from a variety of other performers including: Old Salt Union, The Henhouse Prowlers, Chicago Farmer, Violet and the Undercurrents, Taylor Steele and the Love Preachers and the Fox Crossing Stringband. You can also hear The Burney Sisters, The Kay Brothers, Joshua Powell, Will Maring and Robert Bowlin, Coral Creek, Micahlan Boney, The Blank Stairs, Tim Crosby and Jeremy McConoughey

There will be music on two different stages.

Many other activities planned

A wide variety of other things are happening throughout the weekend, assuring fun for all ages. There will be a barn dance and Halloween costume party, kids’ trick-or-treating and a dinner featuring all organic, raw and plant-based foods.

You can also get in on the musical action. Open mic sessions will allow performers of all ages the chance to show off their talents. There will be indoor and outdoor open jam areas for beginning and intermediate musicians to join in and make some music.

Participate in workshops

A variety of art and outdoor education workshops are on tap as well. Adults can learn about Illinois native plants and foraging, do some bird watching, get hiking safety and survival tips, experience gong sounds meditation, or enjoy a paint party or the beatnik poetry coffeehouse. All ages are invited to learn some sign language as well. 

Children can make rain sticks, learn to tie knots, enjoy a recycling activity, get their faces painted and discover the magical world of beetles, butterflies and bumblebees during workshops created just for kids.

A wide variety of musical workshops will focus on everything from learning to play the banjo, mandolin and guitar to writing songs, singing harmony, jamming and more. All ages can hear tales of bluegrass ambassadors. Youngsters can enjoy jamming as well and learn to play the spoons. 

Get tickets now

Tickets are available online now, either for the entire weekend or individually for each day. Prices vary, depending upon the session. Children ages 15 and younger are admitted free if accompanied by an adult. Tickets include admission to all workshops and activities, on a first-come basis; some workshops accept a limited number of participants.

A variety of different camping and lodging accommodations are also available at Touch of Nature or nearby at Little Grassy Lake for a separate fee. Call 618/453-1121 to make reservations. Touch of Nature Environmental Center will also be offering refreshments and drinks for purchase.

Find all of the details about the festival, musical lineup, tickets, lodging and more at