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We want to take you behind the scenes, to give you insider information you won't find anywhere else. This is where we pull Bloomington's hip happenings together with recommendations from our team, first-hand accounts from project producers, and guest blogs by local gurus.  The Backstage Blog helps you stay in front of it all.

Friday, September 20, 2019

Top October Events

Categories: Arts & Culture, Indiana University, General, Events, Live Music, Festivals

With pumpkin picking, Hoosier Hysteria, a Broadway musical and much more, October is a great time to visit Bloomington. Mark your calendars for these events!

Theater in Bloomington

iu auditorium

Dark Meets Light: October 11 - October 12 | Musical Arts Center (MAC) | Friday at 7:30 pm, Saturday at 2:30 & 7:30 pm
Experience a night of the arts and dance through this Jacob's School of Music production. 

Cardinal Stage Presents Charlotte's Web: Dates Vary | Ivy Tech John Waldron Arts Center | Times Vary
This fall the beloved children’s classic Charlotte’s Web returns to Cardinal Stage!

Oh God: Dates Vary | Ivy Tech John Waldron Arts Center | Times Vary

The Book of Mormon: October 29 - November 3 | IU Auditorium | Times Vary
The New York Times calls it “the best musical of this century.” The Washington Post says, “It is the kind of evening that restores your faith in musicals.” The nine-time Tony Award-winning Best Musical is coming to Bloomington!


Music in Bloomington


Joyce Manor: October 3 | The Bishop | 9:30 pm

Friday Night Live Music with Bobby Earl Conway: October 4 | Conner's Taproom | 7:00 pm - 9:30 pm

Midway Music Festival: October 5 | Various Locations | Times Vary
Experience Bloomington's own all-female/non-binary music festival!! 

Rosalind & The Way at Oliver Winery: October 5 | Oliver Winery | 1:00 pm - 4:00 pm

Magic City Hippies: October 5 | The Bluebird | 8:00 pm

Bela Fleck, Zakir Hussain, & Edgar Meyer: October 5 | IU Auditorium | 8:00 pm - 10:00 pm
Three masterful virtuosos on their respective instruments, Béla Fleck, Zakir Hussain, and IU graduate Edgar Meyer move with ease among the worlds of classical, bluegrass, and world music.

Opal Fly & Kapow Live at Oliver Winery: October 6 | Oliver Winery | 2:00 pm - 5:00 pm

An Evening with Anders Osborne: October 10 | Buskirk-Chumley Theater | 7:30 pm - 10:00 pm
Osborne’s six-string virtuosity, inventive musicality, and poetic songcraft underpin an ever-expanding three-decade catalog celebrated by fans and critics alike. As a sought-after studio talent, his writing resounds through Keb Mo’s GRAMMY® Award-winning Slow Down and hits from the likes of Tim McGraw, and covers by Brad Paisley, Jonny Lang, Edwin McCain, Aaron Neville, and more.

Friday Night Live Music with Dave Everton: October 11 | Conner's Taproom | 7:00 pm - 9:30 pm

The Cactus Blossoms: October 11 | The Bishop | 8:30 pm

Indiana Boys Live at Oliver Winery: October 12 | Oliver Winery | 1:00 pm - 4:00 pm

Sarah Cassidy Live at Oliver Winery: October 13 | Oliver Winery | 2:00 pm - 5:00 pm

Spafford - Fall into Space Tour: October 15 | The Bluebird | 8:00 pm

The Mersey Beatles: October 16 | Buskirk-Chumley Theater | 7:00 pm
This Liverpool-born Beatles tribute band was the resident band for over a decade at the world-famous Cavern Club, where The Beatles got their start. These childhood friends have played in 20 countries, selling out shows worldwide. There will be a book signing with John Lennon's sister, author Julia Baird at the merch table before, during intermission, and after the show. 

Friday Night Live Music with Carnes and Shew: October 18 | Conner's Taproom | 7;00 pm - 9:30 pm

Huckleberry Funk Live at Oliver Winery: October 19 | Oliver Winery | 1:00 pm - 4:00 pm

Saturday Night Live Music with Moonstruck by Mars: October 19 | Conner's Taproom | 7:00 pm - 9:30 pm

Ladies First a Capella at Oliver Winery: October 20 | Oliver Winery | 2:00 pm - 5:00 pm

Yoke Lore: October 20 | The Bishop | 8:00 pm

Faye Webster: October 21 | The Bishop | 9:00 pm

Dennis James Hosts Halloween: October 24 | IU Auditorium | 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Bloomington’s favorite musical mastermind, Dennis James, returns for his annual spooky spectacular Dennis James Hosts Halloween.
This world-renowned cinema organist and IU alum brings the world of silent film to life on IU Auditorium’s 4,543 pipe organ, and this year, the family-friendly event will feature the classic silent film The Lost World.

The Main Squeeze: October 24 | The Bluebird | 9:00 pm
From their origins as a jam/party band in Indiana, The Main Squeeze has been weaving the veins of Rock, Funk, Blues, and R&B into modern song stylings. Now LA-based and with three albums under their belt, festival appearances such as Bonnaroo, and features from Billboard and Rolling Stone, they are of turning over a new sonic leaf this year.

The Japanese House: October 24 | The Bishop | 9:30 pm

Spooky Beats & Movie Treats: October 25 | Buskirk-Chumley Theater | 5:30 pm
The name doesn't lie. Come out to the Buskirk-Chumley Theater for some spooky beats by the Bloomington Community Band. They will be performing classic Halloween tuned accompanied by horror videos and ghoulish favorites such as the Addams Family and Michael Jackson's "Thriller." This will be followed by the seasonal favorite, "Scooby-Doo Stage Fright." This event is sure to be fun for the entire family!

Friday Night Live Music with Hank and Andy Ruff: October 25 | Conner's Taproom | 7:00 pm - 9:30 pm

Trampled by Turtles: October 26 | The Bluebird | 8:00 pm

Bear's Place Presents Hoosier Darling with Special Guest - Christ Wolf!: October 26 | Bear's Place | 8:00 pm -10:00 pm

King Bee and The Stingers Live at Oliver Winery: October 27 | Oliver Winery | 1:00 pm - 4:00 pm

Bob Dylan & His Band: October 27 | IU Auditorium | 8:00 pm
Presented by Madison House Presents, Bob Dylan & His Band will return to Bloomington for the first time since his sold-out show here in 2017.

Rhiannon Giddens with Francesco Turrisi: October 29 | Buskirk-Chumley Theater | 8:00 pm
Rhiannon Giddens is an American artist of folk and traditional music, played on fiddle and banjo and Francesco Turrisi is an Italian pianist and percussionist well versed in jazz, early music, and Mediterranean music.

Gryffin Presents Gravity II Tour: October 30 | The Bluebird | 9:00 pm
Gryffin has dramatically expanded the scale of his live show, dreaming up an elaborate set and light design that visually manifests the cosmic themes threaded throughout Gravity. A longtime guitarist and classically trained pianist, he’s now joined on stage by a drummer and guitarist/keyboardist, transforming the most precisely crafted tracks into arena-sized anthems with thrillingly raw energy. 


Sports in Bloomington


IU Women's Volleyball: Dates Vary | Wilkinson Hall | Times Vary

Little 500 Fall Cycling Series: October 4 - October 6 | Armstrong Stadium | Times Vary

Hoosier Hysteria: October 5 | Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall | 4:00 pm - 7:00 pm
Come check out the 2019-2020 Hoosiers as they start a new season! 

IU Women's Soccer: Dates Vary | Jerry Yeagley Field at Bill Armstrong Stadium | Times Vary

IU Men's Soccer: Dates Vary | Bill Armstrong Stadium | Times Vary 

Memorial Stadium Friday Night Tour: October 11 | Memorial Stadium Football Complex | 6:30 pm - 9:00 pm
This tour provides behind the scenes access to Memorial Stadium that most fans don't get to see on a typical game day. You'll see the new Terry Tallen Football Locker Room training and meeting facilities, stand on the terrace of the Excellence Academy, view the field from the suites, hear a pre-game speech in the official team meeting room, and end the tour running out onto the field just like the real Hoosiers!

IU Football vs. Rutgers (Homecoming): October 12 | Memorial Stadium Football Complex | 12:00 pm 
The Hoosiers take on Rutgers this year for Homecoming weekend! Will you be here? 


Film in Bloomington

iu cinema

Films at the IU Cinema: Dates Vary | IU Cinema | Times Vary

Movies in the Park Presents: Beetlejuice (PG): October 4 | Bloomington Parks and Recreations | 7:40 pm - 9:15 pm 
Bring a blanket and a picnic to enjoy this Halloween classic with the entire family. Rain date (rain check) is October 5. 

Cardinal Stage Presents: The Rocky Horror Picture Show: October 26 | Buskirk-Chumley Theater | 8:00 pm & 11:59 pm
Cardinal Stage’s 13th annual screening of The Rocky Horror Picture Show returns with two screenings of the cult-classic film! Pre-show event and costume contest (which will feature some awesome prizes!) begin 30 minutes before each screening. This year’s pre-show is hosted by the one and only Oriana Peron! The entry fee for the costume contest is $5.


Around Bloomington

fall downtown bloomington

Tiki Tuesday at Cardinal Spirits: October 1 | Cardinal Spirits | 4:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Tiki Tuesday is a beloved oasis at Cardinal Spirits with a special menu of tropical cocktails — the first Tuesday of every month!

Kyle Kinana Presented by Team Coco House!: October 3 - October 5 | The Comedy Attic | Times Vary
Conan O'Brien's Team Coco will be taking over 10 comedy clubs across the country for one massive simultaneous live comedy experience featuring comedians handpicked by Conan himself. Kyle Kinane is an internationally touring comedian who has appeared on "The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon," "Conan," "Workaholics," and as a recurring character on Netflix's "Love." 

36th Annual Bloomington Community Book Fair: October 3 - October 8 | Monroe County Fairgrounds | Times Vary
The Hoosier Hills Food Bank is excited to present the 36th Annual Bloomington Community Book Fair at the Monroe County Fairgrounds! The book fair will offer more than 100,000 books, CDs, DVDs, LP records, games, puzzles, stamps, coins and more. There will also be food trucks and activities for kids and families.

An Evening with Terrance Hayes: October 3 | Buskirk-Chumley Theater | 7:00 pm
Terrance Hayes is one of the essential poets writing in the U.S. today. Combining dazzling wordplay with emotional directness, Hayes' poetry always honors the power of form to shape expression, while being equally conscious of the need to break through form whenever necessary.

Bloomington Food Truck Friday: May 3 - October 25 | The Dimension Mill | 11:00 am - 9:00 pm

First Annual Harvest Hootenanny Block Party: October 4 | Switchyard Brewing Company | 5:00 pm - 11:00 pm
Celebrate the best time of the year in Indiana with beer, live music, food, and fun! Expect a pie-eating contest, mulled hard cider, special beer releases, and so much more all benefiting the Bloomington Playwrights Project & Big Brothers, Big Sisters of South-Central Indiana!

Middle Way House Wrapped in Love Yarn-Cutting Celebration: October 4 | Monroe County Courthouse Lawn | 6:00 pm - 7:00 pm

Kizomba Underground: October 4 | Serendipity Martini Bar | 9:00 pm - 2:00 am
Open to anyone willing to dance! Kizomba is a social partner dance. It is danced with a lead and a follow. 

Bloomington Community Farmers' Market: August 17 - November 23 | Showers Common | 9:00 am - 1:00 pm

Science Sprouts Place Grand Opening: October 5 | WonderLab Museum | 9:00 am - 5:00 pm
WonderLab announces the grand opening of the new exhibit area Science Sprouts Place: A place perfectly designed for infants and toddlers!

The B-Town Improv Hoedown: October 5 | Ivy Tech John Waldron Arts Center | 9:00 am - 11:00 pm
Learn, laugh, and do some good at Bloomington’s first and only improv festival! The B-Town Improv Hoedown features daytime workshops for professionals and performers, as well as evening comedy shows for all ages.

Great Glass Pumpkin Preview: October 5 | Bloomington Creative Glass Center | 5:00 pm - 8:00 pm
Come for a sneak peek of the pumpkins that will be featured at the Great Glass Pumpkin Patch!

Indiana Toy and Comic Expo!: October 6 | Monroe Convention Center | 9:00 am - 4:00 pm
Food trucks. Free parking. Vendors from all over the midwest. Comics! Art! Toys! Cosplay contests! Graphic novels, hand made toys, and art of all kinds are some of the things you'll find at the Indiana Toy and Comic Expo.

Fall Container Garden Workshop: October 6 | Oliver Winery | 10:00 am - 12:00 pm
Learn the tips and tricks that will result in beautiful, season-long potted displays as you design your own custom Oliver Winery fall arrangement to take home and enjoy! Materials and a complimentary glass of wine are provided. Must be 21+.

Run for the Animals & Barktoberfest: October 6 | Karst Farm Park | 10:30 am - 2:00 pm
Run for the Animals is a timed 5K run/walk and event at Karst Farm Park, with all of the proceeds benefiting the programs and services of MCHA. Barktoberfest, happening before, during and after the race events, includes vendors, an off-leash dog play area and tons of other fun activities for both families and furry friends!

Popcorn & Wine Pairings: October 6 | Oliver Winery | 12:00 pm - 6:00 pm
Pair gourmet popcorn from Bloomington-based popcorn guru Popkorn: Kernels with a Twist. Choose three of our flavor pairings, included with your tasting.

Sunset Kayak Tour: October 6 | Monroe Lake | 5:30 pm - 8:30 pm
Join naturalist David Rupp for a guided tour on Lake Monroe southeast of Bloomington. You will explore the lake by kayak, looking for beavers, eagles, herons, and other wildlife in this remote and peaceful part of Indiana.

Nature Sounds: Decomposers: October 11 | Rose Hill Cemetery | 6:30 pm - 7:30 pm
The Nature Sounds series combines a live, acoustic performance by local musicians with an educational nature presentation about the sounds made and found in all of our outdoor spaces.

Howl at the Moon: October 11 | B-Line Trail at 8th Street | 7:30 pm - 8:30 pm
Leash up the pups for a glow-in-the-dark pooch pawty and one-mile, after-dark walk on the B-Line Trail. The first 50 dogs receive a glow stick for their collars, and humans are welcome to bring their own glow sticks to light up the night! Arrive early to take part in Fido fun with games and activities including a doggy photo booth!

Trevor Noah: October 11 | IU Auditorium | 7:30 pm & 10:00 pm
Trevor Noah, the Emmy Award-winning host of The Daily Show, is bringing his hilarious stand-up comedy back to Bloomington this fall for two special Friday performances to kick off IU’s Homecoming weekend.

A Fair of the Arts: October 12 | Showers Plaza | 8:00 am - 1:00 pm

10th Annual Great Glass Pumpkin Patch: October 12 | Monroe County Courthouse Lawn | 10:00 am - 3:00 pm
Come pick out your very own handmade blown glass pumpkin at the 10th annual Great Glass Pumpkin Patch! We will have over 900 glass pumpkins for display and sale spread out on the Monroe County Courthouse lawn like a real pumpkin patch. There will also be face painting, pumpkin painting, workshops and more from 1:00 pm - 3:00 pm. 

Halloween Candy & Wine Pairing: October 12 | Oliver Winery | 12:00 pm - 6:00 pm
Enjoy Sunday afternoon pairing classic Halloween treats like Skittles and Butterfingers with Oliver wines. Three classic candy and wine pairings are included with a $5 wine tasting.

Community Arts Festival: October 12 | Artisan Alley | 12:00 pm - 8:00 pm

Monroe Lake Earthcache Challenge: October 13 - October 19 | Monroe Lake | Times Vary 

Not-So-Scary Halloween Party: October 18 | Banneker Community Center | 5:30 pm
Dress in costume for a howling good time! Hear slightly spooky stories, make creepy crafts, play ghoulish games, jam to monster music and, of course, get a Halloween treat! Registration fee is $5 per family.

Dearly Departed Cemetery Tours: October 18 | Rose Hill Cemetery | 6:30 pm & 8:00 pm
What legends lie hidden in Rose Hill Cemetery? Explore the stories that have outlived the deceased at one of Bloomington's first city cemeteries.

Bloomington Breast Cancer Awareness Walk: October 19 | Shower's Plaza in front of City Hall | 8:30 am - 10:30 am 
The 22nd annual Bloomington Breast Cancer Awareness Walk is a free event open to everyone, promotes awareness of this disease, recognizes survivors with a gift bag, and is followed by a 1-mile easy walk.

Trick or Treat Trail: October 19 | RCA Park | 1:00 pm - 4:00 pm
The paved trail through the woods comes to life with your child's favorite movie, storybook, and fairy tale characters! Stop at stations to trick-or-treat and hear a story. 

Halloween Candy & Wine Pairing: October 20 | Oliver Winery | 12:00 pm - 6:00 pm
Enjoy Sunday afternoon pairing classic Halloween treats like Skittles and Butterfingers with Oliver wines. Three classic candy and wine pairings are included with a $5 wine tasting.

Ghostly Gathering: October 25 - October 26 | Monroe Lake | Times Vary
Enjoy a weekend of creepy, ghostly activities at this annual event. Friday, there will be crafts and scary stories around the campfire. Saturday, expect more crafts, a costume contest, trick or treating, campsite decorating contests, and a Halloween party!

52nd Annual Hilly Hundred Bicycle Tour: October 25 - October 27 | Various Locations | Times Vary
Challenge yourself and enjoy the beauty of the Indiana Uplands with two days of cycling. There will be free food and live entertainment at each of the three rest stops on both Saturday and Sunday.

Downtown Trick or Treat: October 25 | Gather :handmade shoppe & co.: | 5:00 pm - 8:00 pm
Let's celebrate Halloween in style, and by supporting local businesses and celebrating Family!

Festival of Ghost Stories: October 25 | Bryan Park | 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm
A Halloween-time tradition, the Festival of Ghost Stories features haunting tales of ghosts and horror that will tingle the spine. Bring a lawn chair or blanket and dress warmly to avoid the chill as seasoned storytellers spin their tales in the dark. Best suited for adults, teens, and older school-age children; may not be appropriate for younger children. Rain location: Monroe County Public Library Auditorium, 303 E. Kirkwood Ave.

Halloween Costume Contest & Dance Party: October 25 | Cardinal Spirits | 8:00 pm - 11:59 pm
The best place for boos and booze is Cardinal Spirits' annual Halloween bash at the distillery! Don't miss their costume contest with BIG prizes, fall cocktails, and old-school Halloween treats. As always, they will snap and post photos of costumes for the coveted social media prize.

IU Science Fest: October 26 | Various Locations | 9:00 am - 3:00 pm
The IU College of Arts and Sciences invites you to come explore science on IU Bloomington’s beautiful campus. You’ll have the chance to participate in 150+ hands-on activities, demonstrations, and talks, representing 20 departments and disciplines, from physics to paleontology.

Farmed Animal Sanctuary Tour: October 26 | Uplands PEAK Sanctuary | 10:30 am - 3:30 pm

Bloomington Pumpkin Launch: October 26 | Monroe County Fairgrounds | 11:00 am - 3:00 pm
Fall has arrived and pumpkins are flying in the skies over the Monroe County Fairgrounds! Launcher teams send pumpkins soaring through the air in competitions for both accuracy and distance, so get a team together to build and enter a pumpkin launching device. There will also be live music, food vendors, and more! Cost: $10/vehicle.

WonderLab After Dark: Over the Rainbow: October 26 | WonderLab Museum | 6:00 pm - 9:00 pm 
WonderLab Museum After Dark: Over the Rainbow is a 21+ science pride party thrown by WonderLab Museum and Bloomington Pride. There will be hands-on science activities, music, local food/drinks, and exciting science demos.

Skate and Scare: October 26 | Frank Southern Ice Arean | 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Have a scary good time at the Frank Southern Ice Arena! Skate through their haunted house on ice to the sounds of spooky tunes. Come in costume for a chance to win prizes. Admission is $6/person and $3 for skate rental. 

National Visit a Cemetery Day: October 27 | Monroe County History Center | Times Vary 

Pick a Pumpkin: October 27 | Oliver Winery | 12:00 pm - 6:00 pm
Visit Oliver Winery and take home a pumpkin, free with a wine purchase of three bottles or more.

Lunch with Nature: Going Nutty: October 28 | Paynetown State Recreation Area | 11:00 am - 12:30 pm
Bring a sack lunch to enjoy during the main presentation. Afterward, there is a short hike/activity that highlights the topic. This month’s topic is Going Nutty. Find out what a nut (really) is, explore its parts, and learn about our local nut-producers and the animals that eat their “offspring.”

Pine Grove Paddle: October 30 | Monroe Lake | 9:00 am - 12:00 pm
The north fork of Lake Monroe offers some of the best wildlife viewings in the area. On this easy paddle, we will visit the area where bald eagles were reintroduced into Indiana in the late 1980s, waterfowl, shorebirds, and a variety of other birds are often seen on this trip.


Nia Jones

Nia Jones