Unsung Hero: Southern Illinois Music Fest Volunteers


By Ashley Smith
By Josue


WSIL -- The Southern Illinois Music Festival is in its 10th year. Organizers say the festival could not happen without the help of many volunteers.

The sounds of sweet music will fill the air across much of southern Illinois this month.

Mostly Mozart in the Midwest is the theme of this year's Southern Illinois Music Festival. This is the 10th year the fest has been bringing talented musicians and vocalists to the area.

But it wouldn't be possible without the help of hundreds of volunteers. 

"We have a huge number of volunteers that arrange housing, fundraising, the food service for various receptions, the venue setup and tear down," said Co-chairman Stephen Jones.

Jones says volunteers like Jan Radtke save the fest thousands of dollars each year donating their time and resources to the event.

"I like to be busy and I participate in different things throughout the year that are community oriented and this is one of them I feel I can do," said volunteer and housing coordinator Jan Radtke.

Jan has been hosting musicians in her home almost every year during the fest. A few years ago she took on the responsibility to arrange housing for all of the traveling performers.

"I think on my list I have at least 30 homes," explains Jan, "So if you would put that in hotel fees that would be impossible to have a music fest."

Not only does this save the fest lots of money, but Jan says she has made lifelong friends simply by opening her home to strangers.

"In that case they get to be like 'family friends', like the ones that we host get to be like family coming home anymore," said Jan.

Jan says some of the musicians come back year after year and they may stay with the same family.

She says the entire experience can be quite rewarding.

"We like the arts very much so it's not a chore it's a pleasure!"

For more information on the music fest and a schedule of concerts, click here.


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