Lee Fields, Maceo Parker, Femi Kuti, Kelan Phil Cohran, and Jose Gonzalez are among the heavyweights playing free concerts in Millennium Park this summer.
The city’s Millennium Park Summer Music Series—formerly Downtown Sound and Made in Chicago before that—kicks off Monday, June 6 at Pritzker Pavilion and runs Mondays and Thursdays through August save for Lolla weekend, Taste of Chicago, and Mondays in August.
According to a release, the rebranded festival aims to showcase a “wider variety” of sounds than in past years, and indeed, the lineup is all over the place. Funk vets share the bill with jazz drummers. Trumpeters bump up against emcees. There’s even a salsa orchestra on the roster. Also of note is a wealth of promising locals, including Ryley Walker, Marrow, Homme, and ProbCause.
All concerts start at 6:30 p.m., rain or shine. Happy picnicking.
Monday, June 6 Blonde Redhead and Ryley Walker
Thursday, June 9 Lee Fields & The Expressions and Makaya McCraven
Monday, June 13 Rodrigo Amarante and Leyla MaCalla
Thursday, June 16 Nneka and Gina Chavez
Monday, June 20 DJ Spooky’s Rebirth of a Nation and Kelan Phil Cohran’s Summer Solstice Ensemble
Thursday, June 23 Maceo Parker and Marrow
Monday, June 27 Eddie Palmieri Salsa Orchestra and Ecos del Pacifico
Thursday, June 30 TBD and Lower Dens (headliner to be announced soon)
Monday, July 4 and Thursday, July 7 No shows (Taste of Chicago)
Monday, July 11 Femi Kuti & The Positive Force and ProbCause
Thursday, July 14 Azymuth and Sidewalk Chalk
Monday, July 18 King Sunny Ade and Ugochi & A.S.E.
Thursday, July 21 Heritage Blues Orchestra and Toshi Reagon
Monday, July 25 The Jones Family Singers and Apostolic Church of God Sanctuary Choir
Thursday, July 28 No show (Lolla weekend)
Monday, August 1 Jose Gonzalez and Tall Heights
Thursday, August 4 Sinkane and Mark de Clive-Lowe
Thursday, August 11 Mbongwana Star and Dos Santos Antibeat Orchestra
Thursday, August 18 Elephant Revival and Mandolin Orange
Thursday, August 25 TBD and Homme