Things to do in Chicago for music fansMary Houlihan – For the Sun-Timeson September 9, 2021 at 5:35 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.

Pitchfork Music Festival

WHAT: Pitchfork Music Festival returns with its lineup from all popular genres across the contemporary music scene. Performers this year include Phoebe Bridgers, St. Vincent, Erykah Badu, Big Thief, Angel Olsen, Flying Lotus, Animal Collective, Kim Gordon, Thundercat, The Fiery Furnaces and many more.

WHEN: Sept. 10-12

WHERE: Union Park (main gates are on Ashland south of Lake St., gates open daily at noon)

TICKETS: Admission: $90 single-day general admission; 3-day passes are sold out. For vaccination and/or mask policies, visit

Chicago Philharmonic

The Chicago PhilharmonicElliot Mandel

WHAT: The 32nd season of the Chicago Philharmonic begins with a program featuring two pieces from iconic 20th century American composers: Aaron Copland’s “Appalachian Spring” and William Grant Still’s “Out of Silence.” Plus, Sergey Gutorov is featured in Mozart’s “Clarinet Concerto in A Major, K. 622” and violinist Njioma Grevious performs Marcus Norris’ “Glory.”

WHEN: 3 p.m. Sept. 12

WHERE: North Shore Center for the Performing Arts, 9501 Skokie, Skokie

TICKETS: $10-$75. For vaccination and/or mask policies, visit

‘Feelin’ Groovy Series’ at The Hideout

WHAT: As part of the city’s Chicago in Tune Festival, The Hideout’s “Feelin’ Groovy” series features conversations with key figures from Chicago independent record labels and live sets of music from musicians that span genres and generations. Upcoming are Cedille Records president Jim Ginsburg with Black Oak Ensemble (Sept. 13), Thrill Jockey founder Bettina Richards with Thalia Zedek Band (Sept. 15), Teklife co-founders of Ashes57 and DJ Spinn with a performance by DJ Spinn (Sept. 16), Sooper Records co-founder Nnamdi with Sen Morimoto, Drag City director of sales Rian Murphy with Lama Lobsang Palden and Jim Becker (Sept. 22) and Sonorama Discos co-founder Marlowe Baca with Dos Santos (Oct. 1).

WHEN/WHERE: All are at 6 p.m. outdoor at The Hideout, 1354 W. Wabansia.

TICKETS: Admission is free. For vaccination and/or mask policies, visit

Ifetayo Ali-Landing(C) Earl E. Gibson III

Music of the Baroque

WHAT: Music of the Baroque’s season opens with a free “Baroque in the Park” concert and the world premiere of its first commission “Spectacle of Light” by Stacy Garrop. The performance also features the MOB debut of Chicago cellist Ifetayo Ali-Landing performing Haydn’s “Cello Concerto No. 1.

WHEN: 6:30 p.m. Sept. 10

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

TICKETS: Free; For vaccination and/or mask policies, visit

Ricky Scaggs

Ricky Skaggs and Kentucky Thunder

WHAT: Ricky Skaggs began playing the mandolin when he was 6 and was still a teen when he began his professional career as a member of Ralph Stanley’s band, the Clinch Mountain Boys. Since then, he’s never looked back. Today he performs with his stellar band Kentucky Thunder, which he says is a group of bluegrass musicians that “totally amaze me at every show.”

WHEN: 7 p.m. Sept. 12

WHERE: Old Town School of Folk Music, 4544 N. Lincoln

TICKETS: $50. For vaccination and/or mask policies, visit

The High Kings

The High KingsCourtesy of the artists

WHAT: Irish folk band The High Kings takes audiences on a journey through classic folk songs, old and new on their latest album “Home form Home.” “The idea behind this album was to bring our fans on a journey across the world, to some of the places we call home when we tour, via some of the classic folk songs that have inspired us along the way,” says band member Darren Holden.

WHEN: At 7 p.m. Sept. 12

WHERE: McAninch Arts Center, College of DuPage, 425 Fawell, Glen Ellyn

TICKETS: $49-$69. For vaccination and/or mask policies, visit


Megan Thee Stallion (pictured at Lollapalooza in July) is a Summerfest headliner.Ashlee Rezin/Sun-Times

WHAT: Long the cornerstone of Milwaukee’s festival season, Summerfest returns to the city’s lakefront with a lineup including headliners Luke Bryan, Chance the Rapper, Twenty One Pilots, the Jonas Brothers, Chris Stapleton, Zac Brown Band, Dave Chappelle, Megan Thee Stallion, Miley Cyrus, Guns N’ Roses and the Hella Mega Tour with Green Day, Fall Out Boy and Weezer.

WHEN: Sept. 1-4, 8-11 and 15-18 in downtown Milwaukee.

TICKETS: For a complete schedule, ticket prices and updated information regarding the festival’s COVID-19 vaccination and/or mask policies, visit

World Music Wednesday

Bomba con Buya Amy Young Photo

WHAT: The Old Town School of Folk Music’s weekly showcase of world music and dance, returns beginning Sept. 1 with Jazz a la Mexicana, a concert featuring traditional and folkloric Mexican music mixed with jazz. A celebration of Segundo Ruiz Belvis Cultural Center’s 50th anniversary follows on Sept. 8 with performances of Puerto Rican bomba music by Bomba con Buya and Mancha E’ Platano. The current roster of concerts runs through Dec. 1.

WHERE: Old Town School of Folk Music, 4544 N. Lincoln

Admission is free, a $10 suggested donation is appreciated. For updated information regarding the venue’s Covid 19 vaccination and/or mask policies, 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


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