During the school year, Champaign is abuzz with activity, especially with students on campus. In the summer, however, campus transforms into a ghost town, and Green street becomes deafeningly silent. The music that seeps from under apartment doors or through the walls of Red Lion has disappeared from campus, but it has not disappeared from Champaign. Instead, taking a few steps off of campus during the summer can be a rewarding decision because you will discover a pool of great artists, events and music. During the summer, Friday Night Live becomes a weekly favorite for downtown Champaign. Full of food, music and friends, Friday Night Live is a weekly event that brings all the excitement back to Champaign. Although staying on campus over the summer can be intimidating at first, the benefits of taking a summer class, coupled with the events that Champaign has to offer, is a worthwhile decision.

Even though taking classes is not the most ideal way to spend your summer, it certainly comes with a lot of benefits. There is a wide array of classes that the University offers its students over the summer, and we know that our faculty is nothing but the best. Studying in the sun is not only good for opening up some free time during the fall and spring semesters, but it also allows you to compile all of your efforts into one or two subjects instead of five or six. U of I Senior, Joe DeBrock, has taken several summer classes and has lived to tell the tale. “While [summer classes] are short lived and fast paced, they still are able to fill the short time with as much information as a normal 16 week course,” says DeBrock. Because classes have a smaller time frame, they contain an overwhelming amount of information. This system works for DeBrock and many other students, however, because their focus is not spread thin among multiple classes. So, the collaboration of a shorter schedule and an in-depth education makes for a wonderful summertime recipe.

There’s much more to see besides the inside of a classroom during a summer in Champaign, too. Downtown Champaign brings the lively buzz during the summer, and there are tons of events for students. One of the biggest complaints about June in Champaign is the deserted campus. Recent graduate, Mabel Seto, finds the barren streets of campus a little disheartening. “I would only recommend staying on campus over the summer if you have friends that are staying, taking summer classes or have work. It’s kind of empty or boring otherwise,” says Seto. Although campus itself might be empty, Champaign certainly is not. From sweet corn festivals to food truck tastings to live street music, Champaign has it all. Friday Night Live contains the best of both worlds with live music and great food. Every Friday night in downtown Champaign there will be live musicians, dancers and activities for kids. Starting July 13 through September 21, Champaign offers an array of entertainment for all ages. It’s the perfect escape from a silent campus! On the intersections of Neil and Church, Neil and Park and Walnut and Chester, there will be musical performances ranging from bluegrass, jazz, folk and blues. They will even feature some a cappella, dancing, fire breathing and street magic performances, too. With the eclectic collection of music and entertainment, Downtown Champaign becomes a welcoming and extremely enjoyable place to spend your Friday nights. Student and “townie” Emma Echols believes downtown Champaign to be a perfect event for students. “Taking summer classes can be so stressful and time consuming, and living on campus can be really lonely sometimes. I’ve known about Friday Night Live for a long time because I’m from Champaign, and it’s such a great way to get away from campus and enjoy some great food and company! The live music is so good, too. Champaign has a lot of talented musicians, and it’s really cool to get to listen for free while eating with friends,” says Echols. This event is definitely a Champaign favorite, and it is the perfect study break for University students.

So, summertime Champaign is educational and eventful: the best of both worlds. “I would 100% recommend living on campus in the summer. It perfectly blends the rigor of academic life and the social aspects of a college campus,” says DeBrock. Whether you are taking classes, working or just here for the live music, Champaign has many free events for students to enjoy, and it is definitely a worthwhile stay. Check out Friday Night Live every Friday night starting July 13 from 6pm to 8pm. It is sure to be a night full of scrumptious platters, lively music and no studying.

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