On Friday, Dec. 4, Illini Media locals WPGU will host the first Laughing Prairie Dog Festival at the Canopy Club. Featuring six of Illinois’ finest, the evening is an equal mix of Chicago based acts and Champaign-Urbana locals representing a broad range of genres.
WPGU Program Director Liz Rush explained that the idea for the event was sparked while looking at past station event Planet Fest. “After some discussion, we came to the conclusion that a public music event was not only something that was station appropriate, but one that we could entirely pull off,” Rush said. In the planning stages since the end of summer, festival organizers were able to confirm a date and begin booking bands by September. The festival is an accurate representation of the diversity of the station designed with “the help of local concert promoters, looking at the music WPGU already plays, and seeing what type of response [WPGU] was able to receive from bands,” Rush explained. Planned as the first annual Laughing Prairie Dog Festival in hopes for a continued tradition, the evening is not only representative of CU’s diverse population, but also cost efficient at $10 for the six-band show. The following is a preview of what to expect from the varied LPD acts.
» The Hood Internet: Composed of duo Aaron Brink (ABX) and Steve Reidell (STV SLV), Chicago’s The Hood Internet return to Urbana to headline the Laughing Prairie Dog Festival. Last seen at the Canopy Club in September for the Pygmalion Music Festival, The Hood Internet specialize in mashing the seemingly incongruent genres of hip-hop and indie rock. For a snapshot of what may be heard on Friday, check out the band’s blog at http://www.thehoodinternet.com where they regularly post their music for download.
» Smoking Popes: Chicago pop-punk legends Smoking Popes visit the Canopy Club with their infectious blend of brotherly love. Currently composed of three Caterers — Josh on lead guitar and vocals, Eli on guitar, and Matt on bass — as well as multi-act drummer Neil Hennessy, the reunited group is in the process of rereleasing their back catalogue through Asian Man Records.
» Headlights: Both locally and nationally renowned for their dreamlike indie-pop, Polyvinyl Record Co.’s Headlights return on the success of recent release Wildlife. Fluctuating between the whispy vocals of Erin Fein and pressing guitar of Tristan Wraight, the act never fails to delight a Canopy Club crowd.
» Common Loon: Champaign-Urbana duo Common Loon have had a busy fall season. In the midst of a tour that has taken them across the midwest, the men return home for the inaugural Laughing Prairie Dog Festival with an impressive live show of layered elements of guitar, synthesizer and masterful melodies.
» Pet Lions: Chicago’s own Pet Lions made at splash on the Quad this fall while performing for WPGU at the University’s annual Quad Day celebration. If the success of the band’s recent EP, Soft Right, is any indication, the men of Pet Lions will be around for quite some time to come.
» Santah(hhhh?): Regardless of how you (or the band) choose to spell it, the name Santah always means a upbeat show for a Canopy Club crowd. The local boys have been hard at work on their latest album, and will hopefully showcase a new track or two at the festival.
Note on Disclosure: The Laughing Prairie Dog Festival is organized and hosted by WPGU, one of the the departments of Illini Media Company, which also owns buzz magazine.

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