Alton Main Street and are announcing the 5th Annual BIG GIG Local Music Show set for Saturday, July 20th at the Downtown Alton Block Party. Six local bands will be hired to provide entertainment for the event, and the band who generates the most supportive crowd will return on Friday, August 9th at Riverfront Amphitheater to perform an opening set for Leftover Salmon, a nationally touring jam band from Boulder, Colorado.

Band recruitment is now in progress; entries must be postmarked by Thursday, June 13th or hand-delivered to the Main Street office by 5:00 p.m. on Friday, June 14th. Bands that are involved with the show will receive media exposure that will advance their music career, including airtime on WLCA 89.9 FM, the featured artist spot on and a promotional article and photograph in the Telegraph.

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A selection committee will narrow the entries down to six bands, whose members will be compensated $50 per musician to perform a 45-minute set at the Block Party. Concert-goers will vote for their favorite band during the event. The band that has the most fan support will be invited to perform a set of their original music on the amphitheater stage leading up to the Leftover Salmon concert. The show will also feature supporting act The Five & Dimers, who were voted St. Louis's Best Traditional Country Band of 2012 by the Riverfront Times and also participated in the inaugural Big Gig Local Music Show in 2009. Tickets for the amphitheater concert will go on sale June 1st and will be $20.00 in advance or $25 day of show; the Block Party is a free non-ticketed event.

The BIG GIG Local Music Show is open to all genres of music; bands that are interested in entering can visit the Events page at to download an application to be sent in along with a band photo and a CD of two original songs that best represent their music style. Bands may also choose to include one optional cover song in their entry package. For more information, please visit or contact Sara McGibany at: or 618-463-1016.

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(band bios to follow)

Looking back over the past 25 years of rootsy, string-based music, the impact of Leftover  Salmon is impossible to deny. Formed in Boulder at the end of 1989, the Colorado slamgrass pioneers were one of the first bluegrass bands to add drums and tour rock & roll bars, helping Salmon become a pillar of the jam band scene and unwitting architects of the jam grass genre. Though the lineup would change through the years, the foundation of Leftover Salmon was built on the relationship between co-founders Drew Emmitt (vocals, guitar, fiddle, mandolin), Vince Herman (vocals, guitar,washboard) and Mark Vann (electric banjo). Following a decade of constant growth and constant touring, on March 4, 2002, Mark Vann lost his battle with cancer. Vann insisted that the band carry on and Salmon did so for several years leading up to an indefinite hiatus in 2005. If Leftover Salmon had never played another note after leaving the stage in 2005, the legacy would have been secure; the members’ names etched in the books of history. But today, more than two decades after Salmon first took shape, the band has a new album, Aquatic Hitchhiker, due May 22 on LoS Records, a new banjo phenom named Andy Thorn, and a new lease on an old agreement. Leftover Salmon is officially back. The 29-year-old Thorn grew up a Salmon fan in North Carolina and says the band helped him realize “this is what I want to do with my life.” Ironically, it’s his presence in the group that has given Leftover Salmon new life. “Andy’s a real young guy with a lot of great energy who plays in a way that definitely relates to Mark’s [Vann] playing and he’s a lot of fun to be around, it’s led to a real revival that just clicks on some hard to describe level” says Herman. “We’ve played with some great banjo players over the past few years, and not to say anything about them being less than great musicians, but there’s just something intangible about playing with Andy that kind of makes Drew and I look at each other and grin. This is what we’ve been missing as far as that feeling between Drew, Mark and I that used to be there.” Produced by Los Lobos’ Steve Berlin, Aquatic Hitchhiker is Leftover Salmon’s first record in eight years and first ever of all original material. “Steve [Berlin] understood where this album needed to go and how we all needed to work together as a band to make it happen” explains Emmitt. Set for release on May 22, the recording process solidified the new Salmon, cauterizing old wounds and allowing fresh ideas to grow over past scars. “The time is right for this band to come back on a lot of levels” says Emmitt. “It’s taken us a little while, but I think we’re finally there.” Today, Leftover Salmon is: Vince Herman (vocals, acoustic and electric guitar, mandolin); Drew Emmitt (vocals, mandolin, acoustic and electric guitar, mandola, fiddle); Andy Thorn (vocals, acoustic and electric banjo, National guitar); Greg Garrison (vocals, acoustic and electric bass, acoustic guitar); Jose Martinez (drums, percussion).

Listen to The Five and Dimers and you’ll hear a loosely structured, non synthetic country sound that is quickly evolving as their own. The approach of this six piece Americana group is simple, play good songs. They are not interested in playing today’s hits, but creating songs with close friends that will stand the test of time. The lyrics are thought provoking and the music is intelligently arranged with an occasional sonic surprise thrown in for good measure. The band was formed in 2008 through a common love of roots music and desire to create and share locally grown original music. They released their debut album "Quarter of a Tank" in late 2011, and have opened for nationally touring acts such as the Ozark Mountain Daredevils, Montgomery Gentry, James McMurtry and Anders Osborne.

The Five and Dimers are made up of Matt Taul (vocals, rhythm guitar), Jay Hollinger (lead guitar), Adam Peipert (banjo, back-up vocals), John Masinelli (bass, back-up vocals), Matt McGibany (fiddle) and Jeff Walker (drums, percussion). Visit for music and video.

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