Check Out Chicago’s Free Summer Music Festival Lineup

Earlier this year, the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs announced that some of the city’s most beloved public programs would return this summer, from Chicago SummerDance dance classes to music festivals and concerts in Millennium Park. Now that the weather is finally reaching summer temperatures, we have the full lineup for three of these programming series.

The first is the Chicago Gospel Music Festival, which has been revamped this year as a one-day experience that will bring together a roster of choirs and contemporary artists at the Pritzker Pavilion on Saturday, June 4. Highlights include performances by singers like Kierra Sheard Kelly, Brian Courtney Wilson and John P. Kee, as well as a series of special tributes and memorial performances.

Then, from June 9-12, the Chicago Blues Festival will take place with a newly expanded footprint, hosting concerts in Millennium Park, Bronzeville, Austin and the Chicago Riverwalk. The four-day festival features a special “Women in Blues” showcase on June 12 that will pay tribute to legendary Chicago blues singer Mary Lane, as well as site-specific concerts to honor the neighborhoods where the blues originated in Chicago.

Finally, head to the Pritzker Pavilion every Monday and Thursday from June 20 through August 18 for the 10-part Millennium Park Summer Music Series, which features a wide range of music from up-and-coming and established artists. The series kicks off June 20 with performances by Afrobeat saxophonist Femi Kuti (son of iconic Nigerian musician Fela Kuti) and Moroccan-born electronic artist HAT; throughout the summer, find artists like Ukrainian folk-fusion quartet DakhaBrakha (July 18), Afro-Cuban artist Cimafunk (August 11) and none other than Wilco frontman Jeff Tweedy (July 21), who will perform with students from The People’s Music School as the opening act.

Ready for a summer of free music? Read the full lineup for all three festivals below – and if you don’t see something you like on the listings, stay tuned for upcoming lineup announcements for the Chicago Jazz Festival, Chicago House Music Festival and Conference. and the World Music Festival Chicago.

Chicago Gospel Music Festival
June 4, from 3 p.m. to 9 p.m. at Millennium Park

2:45 p.m.–3:15 p.m.: Duane Powell festival kicks with DJ Sunday Service

3:45 p.m.–4:25 p.m.: Spotlight on a Chicago Gospel Music Artist: with The Greater Harvest Sanctuary Choir, Pastor Daniel X. Smith and NSMIC

A special quartet segment honoring the life and legacy of Deacon Reuben Burton, with Tim White and Refocused and the Hoskins family

4:40 p.m.–5:20 p.m.: Tribute to Dr. LouDella Evans Reed with GMAC (Gospel Music according to Chicago), The Traditional Choir, Darlene Roberts, Felicia Coleman-Evans, Loretta Oliver and Vernon Oliver-Price

5:35 p.m.–6:15 p.m.: Kierra Sheard Kelly

6:35 p.m.–7:25 p.m.: The wall group

7:45 p.m.–9 p.m.: The Williams Singers, Brian Courtney Wilson and John P. Kee

Chicago Blues Fest
June 9 to 12

June 9 – Millennium Park

Jay Pritzker Scene

2:40-2:50 p.m.: National Anthem/Commissioner’s Welcome/Tom Marker

2:55 p.m.–4:10 p.m.: Tribute to Erwin Helfer and his Boogie Woogie ensemble (with Skinny Williams, Davide Illardi, Katherine Davis, John Brumbach and Lou Marini)

4:30 p.m.–5 p.m.: Emerging Artist – Jamiah Rogers

5.15 p.m.–6.15 p.m.: Joanna Connor

6:30 p.m.–7:30 p.m.: Canon Toronzo

7:45 p.m.-9 p.m.: Shemekia Copeland

Visit the Mississippi Juke Mixed Stage

noon-1 p.m.: Alexander Linsey

1:15 p.m.–2:15 p.m.: Robert Kimbrough, Sr.

2:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.: The Keeshea Pratt Band

3:45 p.m.-5 p.m.: Eddie Cotton

Rosa’s Lounge (South Promenade Stage)

Host: Tony Mangiullo

12-9 p.m.: Daily showcase of Chicago blues legends and up-and-coming artists who have called Rosa’s Lounge their home for the past 38 years.

June 10 – Millennium Park

Jay Pritzker Scene

2:40-2:50 p.m.: National Anthem/Commissioner’s Welcome/Tom Marker

2:55 p.m.–4:10 p.m.: Tribute to Bob Stroger & Friends with special guest, Sam Burckhardt (with Billy Flynn, Kenny Smith, Rockin Eddie, Sam B and One Take Willie)

4:30 p.m.–5 p.m.: Emerging Artist – Joey J. Saye

5.15 p.m.–6.15 p.m.: Thornetta Davis

6:30 p.m.–7:30 p.m.: The Mike Wheeler Group

7:45 p.m.–9 p.m.: Billy Branch and the Sons of the Blues

Visit the Mississippi Juke Mixed Stage

noon-1 p.m.: Nora Jean Wallace

1:15 p.m.–2:15 p.m.: Lucious Spiller

2:30-3:30 p.m.: Champion Grady

3:45 p.m.-5 p.m.: Mrs Jody

Rosa’s Lounge (South Promenade Stage)

Host: Tony Mangiullo

12-9 p.m.: Daily showcase of Chicago blues legends and up-and-coming artists who have called Rosa’s Lounge their home for the past 38 years.

June 9 and 10 – Blues on the Riverwalk

The Confluence on the Chicago Riverwalk, 305 W Riverwalk South

June 9

12 p.m.-1 p.m.: Harmonica Hinds Duo

5-6 p.m.: Vino Louden Duo

June 10

12 p.m.-1 p.m.: Gerry Hundt

5-6 p.m.: Fruteland Jackson

June 11 – Millennium Park

Jay Pritzker Scene

2:40-2:50 p.m.: National Anthem/Commissioner’s Welcome/Tom Marker

2:55 p.m.–4:10 p.m.: Chicago Soul Tribute to Gene Barge, Cicero Blake & Willie Henderson with Willie Henderson’s Big Bad Blues Band with special guests Ruby Andrews, Samota Acklin, Theresa Davis, Joe Barr and Willie White

4:30 p.m.–5 p.m.: Emerging Artist – Nick Alexander

5.15 p.m.–6.15 p.m.: Angel Melody

6:30 p.m.–7:30 p.m.: Rico McFarland

7:45 p.m.–9 p.m.: Ronnie Baker Brooks

Visit the Mississippi Juke Mixed Stage

12 p.m.-1 p.m.: JW Williams

1:15 p.m.–2:15 p.m.: Dexter Allen

2:30-3:30 p.m.: Keith Johnson and the Big Muddy Band

3:45 p.m.–5:00 p.m.: Cedric Burnside

Rosa’s Lounge (South Promenade Stage)

Host: Tony Mangiullo

12-9 p.m.: Daily showcase of Chicago blues legends and up-and-coming artists who have called Rosa’s Lounge their home for the past 38 years.

June 11 – Taste of Chicago (Austin) with Soul City Blues

5720 W Chicago Avenue

12 p.m.-1 p.m.: Mzz Reese

1:20-2:20 p.m.: Joe Pratt and The Source One Band

2:40-3:40 p.m.: Mary Lane and The No Static Blues Band

4-5 p.m.: tail dragger

5.20 p.m.–6.20 p.m.: Demetria Taylor

6:40 p.m.–7:55 p.m.: Lil’ Ed & the Blues Imperials

June 12 – Millennium Park

Jay Pritzker Scene

2:40-2:50 p.m.: National Anthem/Commissioner’s Welcome/Tom Marker

2:55 p.m.–4:10 p.m.: Women in Blues with a special tribute to Mary Lane with special guests Peaches Staten, Shirley Johnson, Sheryl Youngblood, Demetria Taylor, Nora Jean Wallace, Laretha Weathersby, Sharon Lewis, Anne Harris and Donna Herula. Hosted by Lynne Jordan

4:30 p.m.–5 p.m.: Emerging Artist – Ivy Ford

5:15 to 6:15 p.m.: Annika Chambers

6:30 p.m.–7:30 p.m.: The Kinsey Report

7:45 p.m.–9 p.m.: Eric Gales

Visit the Mississippi Juke Mixed Stage

12 p.m.-1 p.m.: Lurrie Bell

1:15 p.m.–2:15 p.m.: Johnny Rawls

2:30-3:30 p.m.: Rising Stars Fife & Drum Band

3:45 p.m.-5 p.m.: Mr Sipp

Rosa’s Lounge (South Promenade Stage)

Host: Tony Mangiullo

12-9 p.m.: Daily showcase of Chicago blues legends and up-and-coming artists who have called Rosa’s Lounge their home for the past 38 years.

June 12 – Bronzeville Blues

Armstrong Park (Lillian Hardin), 4433 S Lawrence Ave

12 p.m.-1 p.m.: Michael Damani

1:20 p.m. to 2:20 p.m.: Melodic Angel

2:40-3:40 p.m.: Chicago Blues Allstars by Freddie Dixon

4-5 p.m.: Vance Kelly and the Backstreet Blues Band

5.20 p.m.–6.20 p.m.: Big James

6:40 p.m.–7:55 p.m.: Mud Morganfield with special guests Billy Branch, Freddie Dixon, Big James, Vance Kelly, Melody Angel with backing musicians Bob Stroger, Harmonica Hinds, Kenny “Beedy Eyes” Smith, Rick Kreher and Sumito “Ariyo” Ariyoshi

Millennium Park Summer Music Series
Mondays and Thursdays from 6:30 p.m. to 9 p.m., from June 20 to August 18

June 20

Femi Kuti and the positive force

HAT

June 30th

Abigail Washburn

Samantha Crain

July 14th

CIVL (Chicago Independent Venue League) – Co-organized show, TBA artists.

July 18

Dakha Brakha

Chicago Immigrant Orchestra

July 21

Jeff Tweedy

popular music school

July 25

Hip Hop: a child of the blues

Kinsey: A Memoir by Roy Kinsey

August 1

Ana Tijoux

Gabriel Garzon-Montano

August 8

Show co-hosted by the GRAMMY Chicago Chapter
– TBA Artists

August 11

CIMAFUNK

Hypnotic brass ensemble

August 18

Charles Stepney: Stepping Out of the Shadows

Set of the black monument

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