Tunes in the outdoors
Check these places to catch some sun along with your music
06/07/2012 2:40 PM
If you’re looking for some live music this summer, but are among those who uphold a strict “no shoes” policy during the hotter months, then keep it outside. Here are five chances to tan and jam simultaneously:
Never failing to impress fair-weather concertgoers and ardent music connoisseurs alike, the Downtown Sound music series makes its triumphant return to Chicago this summer. Held at Millennium Park’s well-manicured and superbly engineered Pritzker Pavilion, this year’s series kicked off in late May.
This year’s performances include appearances by hometown heroes Joan of Arc, Canadian alt-country minstrels the Sadies and that scholar of soul, Charles Bradley and his Extraordinaires. Past performers have included Blond Redhead, Bonnie 'Prince' Billy and the Books. The whole thing is surprisingly hipper than thou, considering it’s organized by the city.
Running through late July, the shows happen on Mondays at 6:30 p.m. and are gloriously free.
Jammin' at the Zoo
Walk with the animals, talk with the animals … and rock with the animals this summer at the Lincoln Park Zoo. Held at the zoo’s Gateway Pavilion, the monthly Jammin' at the Zoo rolls out on June 22 with Utah-based rockers Neon Trees. July brings Better Than Ezra to the stage and the series wraps up with the pop-rock outfits Hot Chelle Rae and Allstar Weekend in August. Now in its 18th season, Jammin' at the Zoo is billed as a family-friendly event.
Advance tickets for the shows, which went on sale this week, are $23 for adults and $12 for children, with discounted rates for zoo members. Gates open at 6 p.m., opening bands start at 7 p.m. and headliners go on at 9 p.m.
Lincoln Park Arts & Music Festival
Residents of Lincoln Park can breathe a sigh of relief as they retain their coveted parking spot and walk to the fourth annual Lincoln Park Arts & Music Festival. In addition to live music (last year’s event featured a performance from local roots rocker the Freddy Jones Band), the fest — which is organized by the Lincoln Park Chamber of Commerce and commences on July 7 — serves as a showcase for unique artisans, diverse restaurants and kid-friendly entertainment. Held “in the spirit of the Chicago street festival model,” the two day event is staged on Lincoln between Webster Street and Fullerton Avenue.
“The Lincoln Park Arts & Music Festival,” writes the LPCC, “serves as a vital fundraising effort for the LPCC and helps sustain our mission to invest in new programs and activities that benefit our members and the surrounding community.” The chamber asks for a $5 donation at the gate.
Tuesdays on the Terrace
It seems inevitable that visitors of Chicago’s Museum of Contemporary Art will say to themselves, “These priceless works of art are great, but where are the jazz and hot dogs?” Perhaps in anticipation of this query, the museum offers Tuesdays on the Terrace, a free jazz (but not necessarily free-jazz) series held in its immaculate terrace and sculpture garden. Performers gracing the patio this year include the Fred Anderson Legacy Band, acclaimed local cellist Fred Lonberg-Holm, and saxophone and clarinetist Mwata Bowden.
Cuisine includes dogs and burgers charred to perfection on the outdoor grill, and hungrier folk can spring for a $24-a-plate buffet catered by Puck’s Café. Guests are encouraged to bring their own blankets or rent a lawn chair for $5. As per its title, the event happens on Tuesdays, with music starting at 5:30 p.m. and wrapping up at 8. The series runs from June 5 to Sept. 25.
Seward Park Jazz Festival
Held in the Near North Side public park which shares its name, the second annual Seward Park Jazz Festival is one part free show and one part social experiment. The series, organized as part of the Near North Unity Program, seeks to bring together families and neighbors living in the surrounding community, which has been hotbed for economically-mixed development and demographic change in recent years. “Music is the great equalizer,” said Ald. Walter Burnett, Jr. (27th), who helps organize the program in conjunction with the Chicago chapter of the Local Initiatives Support Corporation.
This year’s showcase includes sets from Vibraharpist Andre Earles and Jazz trumpeter Pharez Whitted. Beginning on July 20, the series happens every other Friday evening from 6 p.m. to 8 and runs through Sept. 14.