Things to do in Chicago for music fansMary Houlihan – For the Sun-Timeson July 8, 2021 at 11:30 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.

DJ Traxman
DJ Traxman
Courtesy Chicago Park District

House City Series

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: Event dates and communities are July 8 in Austin, July 16 in North Lawndale, 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

Illinois Philharmonic Orchestra

What: Illinois Philharmonic Orchestra presents HerStory: Woodwind Quintets by Female Composers, a concert performed by IPO principal players Cynthia Fudala (flute), Naomi Bensdorf Frisch (oboe), Trevor O’Riordan (clarinet), Erin Kozakis (bassoon) and Lee Shirer (horn). The program includes Valerie Coleman’s “Afro-Cuban Concerto,” Hedwige Chretien’s “Quintet” and Barbara Harbach’s “Freeing the Caged Bird,” a four-movement tribute inspired by the literary works of four native St. Louis women who struggled to give voice to their creativity. Stilian Kirov conducts.

When: At 6:15 and 7:45 p.m. July 14

Where: Olympia Fields Country Club, 2800 Country Club Dr., Olympia Fields

Tickets: $37


Chris Foreman
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.

Where: The Green Mill, 4802 N. Broadway

Cost: No cover charge


Cabaret Concert: Felicia P. Fields and E. Faye Butler

What: Two dynamic stage divas — Felicia P. Fields and E. Faye Butler — star in “Lettin’ the Good Times Roll,” a cabaret concert of jazz, blues, gospel and show tunes.

When: 7:30 p.m. July 9-10.

Where: The parking lot of North Shore Center for the Performing Arts, 9501 Skokie Blvd., Skokie.

Tickets: $35-$45 (bring chairs and blankets).


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


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

What: The Grant Park Music Festival will be fully open for capacity audiences in the seated area and the lawn when it returns. The season opener is an Independence Day salute at 6:30 p.m. July 2-3 with performances of works by John Williams, Scott Joplin, Robert Lowden, Florence Price, Leonard Bernstein, George Walker and of course Tchaikovsky’s “1812 Overture” and John Philip Sousa’s “Stars and Stripes Forever.” Carlos Kalmar and Christopher Bell conduct.

When: July 2-Aug. 21

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

Admission: free


Denise La Grassa

Denise La Grassa
Denise La Grassa
Courtesy of Denise La Grassa Music

What: Singer, songwriter and keyboardist Denise La Grassa performs an evening of original jazz accompanied by guitarist John Kregor with visual artist Sholo (Cheryl Beverly) who, inspired by the song lyrics, paints during the performance. La Grassa unveils new songs written through the eyes of Lady Liberty in a 21st century marked by the confusion over the role of American democracy and original identity.

When: 7 p.m. June 26 and July 10

Where: New Rhythm Arts Center, 1772 W. Lunt

Tickets: $10. Visit

Chicago Philharmonic

Adrian Dunn will conduct the Chicago Philharmonic in “Redemption,” June 29-Aug. 27.
Courtesy of

What: Chicago Philharmonic returns with a three-concert outdoor chamber series at North Shore Center for the Performing Arts parking lot, 9501 Skokie Blvd, Skokie. The opening performance at 7 p.m. June 27 is “Chicago Phil Brass: Brass with Sass” and features Edward Elgar’s “Chanson du Matin,” Astor Piazzolla’s “Oblivion,” Fats Waller’s “That’s a Plenty,” Bob Dylan’s “Forever Young” and more. There’s also a free streaming concert “Redemption” (June 29-Aug. 27), which features spirituals and gospel songs conducted by Adrian Dunn.

When: Subsequent concerts are July 25 and Aug. 5.

Tickets: $36-$42


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

Labyrinth Arts and Performance Collective

What: Labyrinth Arts and Performance Collectivepresents “Emerge,” a new cabaret series featuring music, drag performance, comedy and spoken word.

When: every second Friday of the month

Where: Porkchop, 1132 W. Grand

Tickets: $20. Visit


When: July 29-Aug. 1

Where: Grant Park

What: Lollapalooza returns to Grant Park July 29-Aug. 1 with Foo Fighters, Post Malone, Tyler, the Creator, Miley Cyrus, Dababy, Marchmello, Journey, Megan Thee Stallion, Roddy Ricch, Kaytranada and more. $375+/festival pass. Visit

Pitchfork Music Festival

When: Sept. 10-12

Where: Union Park, 1501 W. Randolph

What: The Pitchfork Music Festival returns to Union Park, 1501 W. Randolph. Performers include Erykah Badu Phoebe Bridgers, St. Vincent, The Fiery Furnaces, Angel Olsen, Kim Gordon Waxahatchee, Flying Lotus, Thundercat and more.

Tickets: $90/day, $195 festival pass. Visit

Riot Fest

When: Sept. 17-19

Where: Douglass Park, Chicago

What: Riot Fest is back, this year with Nine Inch Nails, The Smashing Pumpkins, Run the Jewels, Pixies, Faith No More, Devo, Lupe Fiasco and more.

Tickets: $125+/day $155+/festival pass. Visit

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