Get us in your inbox

Search
Millennium Park Summer Music Series
Patrick L. Pyszka

Check out the lineup for Chicago’s free summer music festivals

See performances from Jeff Tweedy, Cimafunk, Femi Kuti and more.

Emma Krupp
Written by
Emma Krupp
Advertising

Earlier this year, the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs announced that some of the city's most beloved public programming would return this summer, from the dance classes of Chicago SummerDance to music festivals and concerts in Millennium Park. Now, as the weather finally reaches summery temps, we've got the full lineup for three of those programming series.

First up is the Chicago Gospel Music Festival, which has been reimagined this year as a one-day experience that will bring a roster of choirs and contemporary artists to Pritzker Pavilion on Saturday, June 4. Highlights include performances from singers like Kierra Sheard Kelly, Brian Courtney Wilson and John P. Kee, plus 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 fest 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 Blues was born in Chicago. 

Finally, head to Pritzker Pavilion every Monday and Thursday from June 20–August 18 for the 10-part Millennium Park Summer Music Series, which showcases a wide range of music from both emerging and well-established performers. The series kicks off on June 20 with performances from Afrobeat saxophonist Femi Kuti (son of iconic Nigerian musician Fela Kuti) and Moroccan-born electronic artist HAT; throughout the rest of the summer, catch acts 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 along with students from The People's Music School as opening act. 

Ready for a summer of free music? Read through the full lineup for all three fests below—and if you don't see something you like on the lists, stay tuned for forthcoming lineup announcements for the Chicago Jazz Festival, Chicago House Music Festival and Conference and World Music Festival Chicago. 

Chicago Gospel Music Festival 
June 4, 3pm–9pm in Millennium Park

2:45–3:15pm: Duane Powell kicks of the festival with DJ Sunday Service 

3:45–4:25pm: Chicago Gospel Music Artist Spotlightfeaturing The Greater Harvest Sanctuary Choir, Pastor Daniel X. Smith and NSMIC 

A special quartet segment honoring the life and the legacy of Deacon Reuben Burtonfeaturing Tim White and Refocused and The Hoskins Family 

4:40–5:20pm: Honoring Dr. LouDella Evans Reed featuring GMAC (Gospel Music According to Chicago), The Traditional Choir, Darlene Roberts, Felicia Coleman-Evans, Loretta Oliver and Vernon Oliver-Price  

5:35–6:15pm: Kierra Sheard Kelly  

6:35–7:25pm: The Walls Group  

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


Chicago Blues Festival
June 9–12

June 9 – Millennium Park

Jay Pritzker Stage

2:40–2:50pm: National Anthem/Commissioner's Welcome/Tom Marker

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

4:30–5pm: Emerging Artist - Jamiah Rogers 

5:15–6:15pm: Joanna Connor 

6:30–7:30pm: Toronzo Cannon 

7:45-9pm: Shemekia Copeland 

Visit Mississippi Juke Joint Stage

noon–1pm: Linsey Alexander

1:15–2:15pm: Robert Kimbrough, Sr.

2:30–3:30pm: The Keeshea Pratt Band 

3:45–5pm: Eddie Cotton 

Rosa's Lounge (South Promenade stage) 

Emcee: Tony Mangiullo

noon–9pm: Daily showcase of Chicago Blues legends and emerging artists that have called Rosa's Lounge home over the last 38 years.

June 10 – Millennium Park 

Jay Pritzker Stage 

2:40–2:50pm: National Anthem/Commissioner's Welcome/Tom Marker

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

4:30–5pm: Emerging Artist - Joey J. Saye

5:15–6:15pm: Thornetta Davis 

6:30–7:30pm: The Mike Wheeler Band

7:45–9pm: Billy Branch & The Sons of Blues

Visit Mississippi Juke Joint Stage 

noon–1pm: Nora Jean Wallace

1:15–2:15pm: Lucious Spiller

2:30–3:30pm: Grady Champion

3:45–5pm: Ms. Jody

Rosa's Lounge (South Promenade stage) 

Emcee: Tony Mangiullo

noon–9pm: Daily showcase of Chicago Blues legends and emerging artists that have called Rosa's Lounge home over the last 38 years.

June 9–10 – Blues on the Riverwalk

The Confluence on the Chicago Riverwalk, 305 W Riverwalk South

June 9

noon–1pm: Harmonica Hinds Duo

5–6pm: Vino Louden Duo

June 10

noon–1pm: Gerry Hundt

5–6pm: Fruteland Jackson

June 11 – Millennium Park 

Jay Pritzker Stage 

2:40–2:50pm: National Anthem/Commissioner's Welcome/Tom Marker

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

4:30–5pm: Emerging Artist - Nick Alexander

5:15–6:15pm: Melody Angel

6:30–7:30pm: Rico McFarland

7:45–9pm: Ronnie Baker Brooks

Visit Mississippi Juke Joint Stage 

noon–1pm: JW Williams

1:15–2:15pm: Dexter Allen

2:30–3:30pm: Keith Johnson & The Big Muddy Band

3:45–5:00pm: Cedric Burnside

Rosa's Lounge (South Promenade stage) 

Emcee: Tony Mangiullo

noon–9pm: Daily showcase of Chicago Blues legends and emerging artists that have called Rosa's Lounge home over the last 38 years.

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

5720 W Chicago Ave

noon–1pm: Mzz Reese

1:20–2:20pm: Joe Pratt and The Source One Band

2:40–3:40pm: Mary Lane and The No Static Blues Band

4–5pm: Tail Dragger

5:20–6:20pm: Demetria Taylor

6:40–7:55pm: Lil’ Ed & the Blues Imperials

June 12 – Millennium Park 

Jay Pritzker Stage 

2:40–2:50pm: National Anthem/Commissioner's Welcome/Tom Marker

2:55–4:10pm: Women in Blues with a special tribute to Mary Lane featuring 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

4:30–5pm: Emerging Artist - Ivy Ford 

5:15–6:15pm: Annika Chambers

6:30–7:30pm: The Kinsey Report

7:45–9pm: Eric Gales 

Visit Mississippi Juke Joint Stage 

noon–1pm: Lurrie Bell

1:15–2:15pm: Johnny Rawls

2:30–3:30pm: Rising Stars Fife & Drum Band

3:45–5pm: Mr. Sipp

Rosa's Lounge (South Promenade stage) 

Emcee: Tony Mangiullo

noon–9pm: Daily showcase of Chicago Blues legends and emerging artists that have called Rosa's Lounge home over the last 38 years.

June 12 – Bronzeville Blues

Armstrong (Lillian Hardin) Park, 4433 S Lawrence Ave

noon–1pm: Michael Damani

1:20–2:20pm: Melody Angel

2:40–3:40pm: Freddie Dixon’s Chicago Blues Allstars

4–5pm: Vance Kelly and the Backstreet Blues Band

5:20–6:20pm: Big James

6:40–7:55pm: Mud Morganfield featuring 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 6:30–9pm, June 20–August 18

June 20

Femi Kuti & The Positive Force

HAT 

June 30

Abigail Washburn

Samantha Crain 

July 14

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

July 18 

DakhaBrakha 

Chicago Immigrant Orchestra 

July 21

Jeff Tweedy

The People's Music School 

July 25

Hip Hop: A Child of Blues
 

Kinsey: A Memoir by Roy Kinsey

August 1

Ana Tijoux  

Gabriel Garzón-Montano 

August 8 

GRAMMY Chicago Chapter Co-curated Show
 - Artists TBA 

August 11 

CIMAFUNK 

Hypnotic Brass Ensemble 

August 18

Charles Stepney: Out of the Shadows 

Black Monument Ensemble

Latest news

    Advertising