Things to do in Chicago for music fansMary Houlihan – For the Sun-Timeson August 19, 2021 at 2:29 pm

Welcome to our highlights for concerts, festivals and live music in Chicago. From free shows at Millennium Park to large festivals like Ravinia and Lollapalooza, and intimate shows at small local venues, our guide has all the latest music entertainment. Bookmark this page and check back for updates on concerts and events.

Lyrical Lemonade’s Summer Smash Festival

A$AP Rocky performs on stage during Rolling Loud at Hard Rock Stadium in July in Miami Gardens, Florida. Getty Images

WHAT: Hip-hop will be celebrated in a big way this weekend with the return of Lyrical Lemonade’s Summer Smash Festival, billed as “the premier hip-hop music festival in the Midwest.” The fest boasts 80 acts including A$AP Rocky, Lil Yachty, Lil Uzi Vert, Bennett, Baby Keem, Gunna, Joey Purp and more.

WHEN: Running Aug. 20-22

WHERE: Douglass Park, 1401 S Sacramento Dr.

TICKETS: GA and VIP tickets are on sale at For updated information regarding the venue’s COVID-19 vaccination and/or mask policies, visit

John Hiatt and Jerry Douglas

John Hiatt (left) and Jerry DouglasPatrick Sheehan

WHAT: Singer-songwriter John Hiatt and dobro player Jerry Douglas recently released their first collaborative album, the terrific “Leftover Feelings,” which will be a highlight of their Ravinia concert. The album, recorded at the legendary RCA Studio B in Nashville, showcases the deep talents of both Americana giants, who have each been making music for decades.

WHEN: At 7:30 p.m. Aug. 24

WHERE: Ravinia, 200 Ravinia Park Rd., Highland Park.

TICKETS: $40-$110. For updated information regarding the venue’s COVID-19 vaccination and/or mask policies, visit

Ruido Fest

WHAT: Rudio Fest returns with a star-studded lineup that includes Cafe Tacvba, Panteon Rococo and Caifanes. It’s one of Latin music’s largest festivals, and the roster also includes Moenia, Ambar Lucid, Ivy Queen, Los Amigos Invisibles, La Dona, Lido Pimienta, Little Jesus and many more.

WHEN: From 3:30-10 p.m. Aug. 20 and 1-10 p.m. Aug. 21-22

WHERE: Union Park, 1501 W. Randolph.

TICKETS: $65+. For updated information regarding the festival’s COVID-19 vaccination and/or mask policies, visit

Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit

Jason Isbell and the 400 UnitAlysse Gafkjen

WHAT: Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit tour behind the recently released album “Reunions,” produced by Dave Cobb and featuring another batch of great songs penned by Isbell. Opening the show is up-and-coming country singer-songwriter Brittney Spencer, a former background singer, who is gaining notice in Nashville for her ability to bring life, truth and a wild imagination to her original songs.

WHEN: The outdoor concert gets under way at 7 p.m. Aug. 22

WHERE: Wintrust Field, 1999 S. Springinsguth Rd, Schaumburg

TICKETS: $45+. For updated information regarding the venue’s COVID-19 vaccination and/or mask policies, visit

Sunny War

Sunny WarFlorencia P. Marano

WHAT: Sunny War is a remarkable singer-songwriter who once lived on the margins of society but is now establishing herself as a roots music revolutionary. Her impressive guitar work and haunting vocals are a perfect match for her incisive songs, which lie somewhere between folk, punk and early blues and touch on everything from police violence to alcoholism to love found and lost.

WHEN: 9 p.m. Aug. 21

WHERE: FitzGerald’s, 6615 W. Roosevelt, Berwyn.

TICKETS: $10. For updated information regarding the venue’s COVID-19 vaccination and/or mask policies, visit

Lindsey Stirling

Lindsey StirlingSydney Takeshta Photo

What: Platinum-selling artist Lindsey Stirling, known for her futuristic violin-driven electronic music and unique live show; her music incorporates elements of classical music, hip-hop, pop and dubstep. Also on the bill: electro-pop artist Kiesza.

When: 7 p.m. Aug. 20 (rescheduled from Aug. 10)

Where: Huntington Bank Pavilion at Northerly Island.

Tickets: $23+


Davenport’s Piano Bar & Cabaret

What: Davenport’s Piano Bar & Cabaret reopens with Joan Curto’s “Back in Business” (8 p.m. Aug. 5-8, $30), featuring vocalist Curto with Beckie Menzie (piano), Jim Cox (bass) and Tim Davis (percussion). Other performers in the Cabaret include Cathy Glickman and Anna Palermo with “Judy and Liza, Don’t Tell Mama” (8 p.m. Aug. 14, 7 p.m. Aug. 15, $25) a tribute to Judy Garland and Liza Minnelli; singer-songwriter Kelly Tansor (8 p.m. Aug. 19, $10) performing songs by Billy Joel, Regina Spektor, Olivia Rodrigo and more; and David Edelfelt with “Broadway Baritones: The Men, the Music, the Magic” (8 p.m. Aug. 20-22, $25). Cabaret shows require advance tickets and a two drink minimum for each show. The Piano Bar has a variety of performances each week that do not require advance tickets. Masks optional for the vaccinated; the non-vaccinated must wear a mask.

Where: 1383 N. Milwaukee. Visit

House City Series

DJ TraxmanCourtesy Chicago Park District

What: The Departments of Cultural Affairs and Special Event’s tribute to house music continues with House City, a new series of free events popping up throughout the summer in the neighborhoods that helped create the house music genre over 35 years ago.

When/Where: vent dates and communities are July 23 in South Shore, July 31 on the Southeast Side, Aug. 14 in Humboldt Park, Aug. 28 in Englewood, Aug. 29 in Lakeview, Sept. 12 in South Shore and Sept.19 in Bronzeville. DJs playing include Traxman, Lori Branch, Deeon, Elbert Philips, Duane Powell and more.

Info: For locations and times, visit

Chris Foreman Courtesy Origin Records

Chris Foreman at the Green Mill

What: The Green Mill has reopened and that means the return of Chris Foreman, a Friday night fixture at the popular jazz club. Foreman, a jazz organist blind since birth, is a master on the Hammond B3 and regarded as Chicago’s best. His playing is a blend of blues-gospel and jazz honed in his professional experience, which has included work with Hank Crawford, Albert Collins, Bernard Purdie, The Deep Blue Organ Trio and The Mighty Blue Kings.

When: 5-7:30 p.m. Fridays

Where: The Green Mill, 4802 N. Broadway

Cost: No cover charge


Ravinia Festival

What: The Ravinia Festival, the oldest outdoor music festival in the country, returns with reduced capacity. As usual, the lineup is a varied slate of music from classical to pop, jazz and rock. The Chicago Symphony Orchestra returns for a six-week run with conductor Marin Alsop leading seven concerts in her first season as Ravinia’s chief conductor. Also on the roster are: Garrick Ohlsson, Cynthia Erivo, Counting Crows, Kurt Elling, Brian McKnight, John Hiatt and the Jerry Douglas Band, The Roots, John Legend, Madeleine Peyroux, Midori, Joshua Bell, Pinchas Zukerman, the Chicago Sinfonietta and the Joffrey Ballet.

When: July 1-Sept. 26

Where: Highland Park

Tickets: prices vary


Grant Park Music Festival

Independence Day concerts will kick off the Grant Park Music Festival season.Patrick Pyszka

What: The Grant Park Music Festival is fully open for capacity audiences in the seated area and the lawn.

When: Through Aug. 21

Where: Pritzker Pavilion, Millennium Park, Michigan and Randolph.

Admission: free


Summer Nights with Northlight

What: Summer Nights with Northlight is a cabaret series held at Evanston restaurants to benefit Northlight Theatre. The performers are Alexis J. Roston and Kelvin Roston Jr. (June 10, Good to Go Jamaican, 711 W. Howard), Linda Solotaire (July 27, Sketchbook Brewing Company, 4901 Main, Skokie) and Heidi Kettenring (Aug. 24, Peckish Pig, 623 W. Howard).

When: Performances times are 6 p.m.

Tickets: $60 includes light dinner and select drinks. Visit

Tuesdays on the Terrace

“Tuesdays on the Terrace” at the MCA in Chicago.Copyright MCA

When: 5:30 p.m. Tuesdays June 1-Aug. 31

Where: Museum of Contemporary Art’s outdoor sculpture garden, 220 E. Chicago

What: Tuesdays on the Terrace returns to the Museum of Contemporary Art’s outdoor sculpture garden. The popular jazz concert series features an array of Chicago jazz musiciansFirst up on June 1 is Alexis Lombre’s Ancestral Awakenings. Free with advance reservations. Visit

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