Things to do in Chicago for music fansMary Houlihan – For the Sun-Timeson June 10, 2021 at 1:08 pm

Music fans (like those pictured at Lollapalooza 2019) will have plenty to cheer about this summer as live music returns to Chicago.
Music fans (like those pictured at Lollapalooza 2019) will have plenty to cheer about this summer as live music returns to Chicago. | Santiago Covarrubias/For the Sun-Times

For fans of any genre, live music isn’t hard to come by in Chicago. Check out our highlights for concerts, festivals and live performances in and around the city.

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.

Black Eyed Peas

Nabil Elderkin
Black Eyed Peas: Taboo (from left), and

What: Grammy Award-winners Black Eyed Peas are set to perform an online show, the first in support of their 2020 album “Translation.” The concert features original members, Taboo and as well as some surprises fans won’t want to miss.

When: Livestreams at 7 p.m. June 11.

Tickets: $10-$80. Visit

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

Labyrinth Arts and Performance Collective

What: Labyrinth Arts and Performance Collectivepresents “Emerge,” a new cabaret series featuring music, drag performance, comedy and spoken word First up at 10 p.m. June 11 is the retro blues trio Improper Behavior featuring vocalist Sharon Waltham, guitarist Keith Fort and upright bass player Gregory Redfeairn.

When: every second Friday of the month

Where: Porkchop, 1132 W. Grand

Tickets: $20. Visit

WFMT-FM Opera Series

What: WFMT-FM’s “Opera Series,” a Saturday afternoon staple among opera fans, has featured performances from around the world including the Metropolitan Opera, the Royal Opera House and the Swedish Royal Opera. Now Chicago’s adventurous Haymarket Opera Company joins this roster with its acclaimed double-bill of Handel’s “Acis and Galatea” and “Apollo e Dafne.”.Hosted by Lisa Flynn, the broadcast includes interviews with general director Chase Hopkins, Haymarket founder and conductor Craig Trompeter, tenor Michael St. Peter and soprano Erica Schuller.

When: noon June 12


Billy Strings

What: Nashville musician Billy Strings has kept busy during the past year first with online performances and more recently in-person shows. He’s currently taking a swing through the Midwest with a handful of outdoor performances. At this year’s Grammy Awards, Strings won Best Bluegrass Album for his acclaimed record, “Home.”

When: June 11-12

Where: Wintrust­ Field, 1999 S. Springinsguth, Schaumburg

Tickets: $49+. Visit

Cerqua Rivera Dance Theatre

Cerqua Rivera Dance Company. Pictured: dancers Fernando Rodriguez and musicians Tim Archbold and Paul Cotton.
Photo by William Frederking;
Cerqua Rivera Dance Company. Pictured: dancers Fernando Rodriguez and musicians Tim Archbold and Paul Cotton.

What: The multicultural company that creates new dance and music to explore personal narratives, unveils new works in a performance. The pieces include “Mood Swing,” a suite of duets responding to the pandemic and the social justice movement; “Identity City,” an exploration of the evolution, acceptance and conflict surrounding gender and identity; and “Root,” an African diaspora suite.

When: 7:30 p.m. June 12

Where: Beverly Arts Center, 2407 W. 111th

Tickets: $10-$24. Visit

‘Raices to Roots’

Poet Luis Tubens a.k.a. Logan Lu (from left), dancer Alyssa Harslton, singer Lester Rey, choreographer and dancer Maria Luisa Torres, dancer Angela Townsend, and musicians Natalie Land and Peter “Maestro” Vale celebrate Puerto Rican stories of pride and resilience through original Afro-Latin dance, spoken word, and music  in “Raices to Roots.”
Marlon Taylor
Poet Luis Tubens a.k.a. Logan Lu (from left), dancer Alyssa Harslton, singer Lester Rey, choreographer and dancer Maria Luisa Torres, dancer Angela Townsend, and musicians Natalie Land and Peter “Maestro” Vale celebrate Puerto Rican stories of pride and resilience through original Afro-Latin dance, spoken word, and music in “Raices to Roots.”

WHAT: The Chicago Puerto Rican experience is celebrated in “Raices to Roots.” Using “home” as a theme, a cast of artists embody stories of pride, struggle and resilience through original Afro-Latin dance, spoken word and music. The performers are poet Luis Tubens a.k.a. Logan Lu; dancers Maria Luisa Torres, Alyssa Harslton and Angela Townsend; and musicians and performers Peter “Maestro” Vale, Natalie Land and Lester Rey.

WHEN: June 5-6, 24-27

WHERE: Segundo Ruiz Belvis Cultural Center, 4048 W. Armitage.

TICKETS: $30-$50. Visit

Tuesdays on the Terrace

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

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

Philip Glass Opera

WHAT: Philip Glass’ new opera, “Circus Days and Nights,” is a stunning fusion of opera and contemporary circus with a libretto by playwright David Henry Hwang. The opera, a collaboration between Glass and the Swedish contemporary circus company Cirkus Cirkör (artistic director Tilde Björfors directs) and Malmö Opera, brings to life the poetry of Robert Lax and takes audiences on an adventure into the world of the circus and the performers who dedicate their life to this art.

WHEN: The world premiere opera livestreams through June 13


INFO: Visit

Tab Benoit

“It’s time to get back out there and do something for people’s souls,” Tab Benoit says, about his return to in-person concerts. “I can see the relief on people’s faces when they come back to shows and know that they can enjoy something normal again.”
Jean Frank Photo

WHEN: 8 p.m. June 4-5 and 7 p.m. June 6-8

WHAT: Blues guitarist Tab Benoit jumpstarts the return to live music with a multi-night stand at City Winery, 1200 W. Randolph. One of the most impressive guitarists to emerge from the bayous of Southern Louisiana, Benoit has found a favorite second home in Chicago where he fits right in with the city’s long held love of the blues.


INFO: Visit

Chicago Sinfonietta

WHEN: The concert streams at 7:30 p.m. June 5

WHAT: The Chicago Sinfonietta concludes its season with a program titled “Fusion: Stronger, Together,” which includes the world premiere of “La Lección Tres,” an orchestra commission from collaborator and Grammy Award-winning musician Victor Wooten. Also on the program: an arrangement of the Suite from Astor Piazzolla’s tango opera, “Maria de Buenos Aires,” and Valerie Coleman’s “Suite: Portraits of Josephine,” a musical tribute to Josephine Baker. The concert streams at 7:30 p.m. June 5.



Music Institute of Chicago

WHAT: The Music Institute of Chicago Chorale presents an online performance of Carl Orff’s “Carmina Burana,” in an arrangement for two pianos and percussion. The soloists are soprano Angela De Venuto, baritone Leo Radosavljevic and tenor Peder Reiff.

WHEN: The free performance is at 3 p.m. June 6

WHERE: Virtual, via Zoom

INFO: Visit

Chicago Symphony Orchestra

When: Live performances May 27-June 13

What: The Chicago Symphony Orchestra returns with live performances May 27-June 13. The first program (May 27-30) conducted by Michael Mulcahy includes Aaron Copland’s iconic “Fanfare for the Common Man” and Samuel Barber’s 20th-century interpretation of a Bach chorale paired with works by Tilson Thomas, Bernstein and Schuller. Erina Yashima conducts (June 3-6) two “Novelettes” by Samuel Coleridge-Taylor, Schubert’s Symphony No. 5, the string orchestra version of Jessie Montgomery’s “Strum” and Kodály’s orchestral “Dances of Galánta”; and Edo de Waart (June 10-13) conducts Mozart’s overture to “Don Giovanni,” Wagner’s “Siegfried Idyll” and Mozart’s Symphony No. 40.

Where: Symphony Center, 220 S. Michigan

Tickets: $29+;

Shannon McNally

Shannon McNally
Photo by Alysse Gafkjen
Shannon McNally

When: Live-streamed show at 8 p.m. May 28 from City Winery Nashville

What: Singer-songwriter Shannon McNally celebrates the release of her new album, “The Waylon Sessions” with a live-streamed show from City Winery Nashville. She’s assembled an all-star band along with special guests Rodney Crowell, Buddy Miller and Kenny Vaughn. On the album, McNally puts a woman’s spin on outlaw classics by Jennings and his cohorts. The result is not so much a tribute but a rethinking of a catalog long considered a bastion of masculinity.

Tickets: $15;

Henhouse Prowlers

Henhouse Prowlers
Russ Boxer Photo
Henhouse Prowlers

When: May 28-June 13

Where: City Winery, 1200 W. Randolph

Tickets: $35. Visit

More information: Get ready for some furious fingerpicking and perfect harmonies when the Chicago bluegrass band Henhouse Prowlers celebrates the release of a new album “The Departure” with four shows at City Winery.

Illinois Philharmonic Orchestra

When: Streams free May 28-June 13

Where: Visit

What: The final online event of the Illinois Philharmonic Orchestra’s season includes Aaron Copland’s “Fanfare for the Common Man” and Eric Ewazen’s Symphony in Brass, Valerie Coleman’s “Portrait of Josephine” and Joan Tower’s “Fanfare for the Uncommon Woman No. 1,” which is often viewed as a feminist counterpoint to the Copland work of similar name.


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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