The Radon Lounge is an all ages DIY basement music venue in Springfield, IL.
The story of the Radon Lounge
The Radon Lounge is owned and operated by Jeff and Cat Black with help from their merry band of Radonettes. We typically have one show a month which is usually a mix of touring and local bands. Sometimes we do open mics, and once a year we host a massive show at Refuge Ranch, called the Horse Show.
The inspiration for the Radon Lounge is difficult to explain as it came from a variety of sources. In college, Jeff was known to his friends for putting on unconventional parties. A few years later Jeff and Cat went to Austin, TX and attended SXSW. They noticed that Austin, TX was a little different from Springfield, IL, it seemed a little more… alive. They thought about moving to Austin, but realized they already had everything they needed back in Springfield, most important of all a great community of friends. They figured they could bring some of that life and culture they discovered in Austin back to Springfield, instead escaping from a perceived boring city as so many others have done. But as far as how this was to be accomplished, they didn’t know.
In 2011, Jeff and Cat Black started hosting shows for Sara Swenson in the large living room of their 100 year old bungalow. They enjoyed doing it so much that Jeff started making their large unfinished basement a space to host shows so they wouldn’t have to keep converting the living room into a venue.
The first show in the Radon Lounge was on Dec 19 2011. Tinseltown Marauders headlined, also included was the short lived band Lumberjacks and Jill. From there the Radon Lounge started having normal shows and open mics, hosting touring bands like Listener, La De Les, Ami Moss and the Unfortunate, Amy Petty, Jonni Greth, and Insomniac Folklore, as well as more local folks Hushpad, Lovecow, and Karen Koenig.
The Radon Lounge started out with just the idea of bringing cool bands to Springfield, but quickly started becoming a mix of cool touring bands and cool local bands as Jeff and Cat became more acquainted with the local Springfield scene through meeting local musicians and attending shows at the Black Sheep Cafe and other central Illinois venues.
Starting in 2013, Jeff and Cat will be starting the Horse Show. They hope it will become an annual Springfield music festival, located at Refuge Ranch. They are working to raise money to pay for the event so that it can be free to the public.
Springfield, IL has a thriving punk scene to go with the cover and country bands and sprinklings of other genres. Although Jeff and Cat personally appreciate most forms of music, their vision for the Radon Lounge is to serve the underrepresented genres and provide a safe, loving, and chill atmosphere for those who really enjoy going to shows to hear the music. In music geek terms, the Radon Lounge is the shoegaze to the established Springfield punk scene, although they may end up being more Flock of Seagulls… time will tell.
The Radon Lounge is growing, and someday may outgrow the basement. God only knows what that will look like, but Jeff and Cat are hopeful for the future and are excited to watch their idea grow and become adopted by many. The Radon Lounge would not be possible without the community that has formed around it. If this community were to wither, then so would the Radon.
Jeff and Cat never intend to profit from the Radon Lounge, they believe it would kill its spirit, but they want the Radon Lounge to give folks in Springfield a reason not to complain about having nothing to do. They hope the music played here will give hope and inspire others to go out and live their lives!
For booking inquiries, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or message us on facebook!
We have a sound system and usually a sound tech on hand for shows.
For directions, contact us or ask someone who’s been here before. We prefer not to put our address on the world wide interwebnet-cloud (tube series).
For parking, please park in the street, do not park in or block a driveway. Be nice to our neighborhood so we can keep doing this!