21 Don’t-Miss Outdoor Summer Concerts

The top outdoor shows for music lovers of every stripe

By The Editors
May 12, 2017 9:00 am

Soon our favorite season will commence.

Not summer, mind you. Talking outdoor-music season.

Which is why we rounded up the 21 best outdoor shows rolling through Chicago this summer.

Our only criterion? No big music festivals.

Still, we’ve got danceable ‘80s post-punk. Classic ‘90s hip-hop. A Brazilian tribute to David Bowie. The return of everyone’s favorite cartoon band. And so much more. 

Happy listening.

Shannon & The Clams

Because garage-rock doo-wop to keep you cool on a warm night
Shannon & The Clams at Do Division Fest, June 3

Because what’s summer without a little rockabilly?
J.D. McPherson at Green Music Fest, June 10

Because there’s a Starman waiting in the sky …
Seu Jorge at Ravinia, June 15

Because folk rock is a dish best served outdoors
Dawes at Taste of Randolph, June 16-18

Because it’s Metallica, and their new record isn’t half-bad
Metallica at Soldier Field, June 18

Because here’s proof jazz can be accessible
Gregory Porter at the Jay Pritzker Pavilion, June 19


Because Common is still one of Chicago’s great voices
Common at Ravinia, June 24

Because Logan Square plus face-melting noise rock sounds about right
Metz at Logan Square Arts Festival, June 23-25

Because Norwegian jazz is about as weird (and enjoyable!) as you may think
Jaga Jazzists at the Jay Pritzker Pavilion, June 26

Because did you really think they were ready to say farewell?
Dead and Company at Wrigley Field, June 30-July 1

Because they’re one of L.A.’s best-kept secrets
Chicano Batman at Live on Lincoln, July 1

Because Star Wars under the actual stars
Star Wars and More: The Music of John Williams at the Pritzker Pavilion, July 7-8

Because they’re one of Chicago’s greatest garage exports
Twin Peaks at the Taste of Chicago, July 7

Because nearly 40 years later, ESG is still making people dance
ESG at West Fest, July 7-8

Because how the hell does a cartoon band play live?
The Gorillaz at the Huntington Bank Pavilion, July 8

Natalie Prass

Because the lady will love her
Natalie Prass at the Pritzker Pavilion, July 10

Because damn, that cat can whistle
Andrew Bird at Ravinia, July 23

Because beer and The Roots is always a good situation
The Roots at Tour de Fat, July 29

Because it’s a Battle of the Bands actually worth watching
Chicago Sinfonietta and Mucca Pazza at the Pritzker Pavilion, August 23

Because ‘90s/‘00s angst nostalgia
Green Day at Wrigley Field, August 24

Because Simpson is the future of country music
Sturgill Simpson at the Huntington Bank Pavilion, September 22

Nota bene: Upon publishing this story, one of the best street festivals for live music — Wicker Park Festival — had not yet announced its lineup. You’ll wanna keep your eyes peeled.

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