Free live music
smack dab in
the middle of
city on earth
begins on June 13
The 2018 Millennium Park Summer Music Series will offer an exciting lineup of free outdoor concerts on eleven dates between June 13 and August 15 at the Jay Pritzker Pavilion in Millennium Park.
This year’s headliners include Mt. Joy, Cory Henry and the Funk Apostles, Chucho Valdes & Jazz Batá, Flora Cash, Car Seat Headrest, Brent Cobb, Orchestral Interpretations of J Dilla-Directed by Miguel Atwood-Ferguson, Los Amigos Invisibles, Rev. Sekou, a Celebration of Donny Hathaway, Jupiter & Okwess, and many more. See below for the complete schedule.
Additionally, after 15 years as one of the world’s best outdoor concert sound systems, the speakers and audio control systems at the Jay Pritzker Pavilion have been completely upgraded. The upgrade was 100% supported by Millennium Park Foundation donors and represents the cutting edge of audio technology — once again elevating the Pavilion as one of the world’s finest outdoor audio experience.
The Millennium Park Music Series is part of a robust schedule of more than 80 events at the Jay Pritzker Pavilion this summer. All concerts are free and open to the public. Performances begin at 6:30 p.m. and take place rain or shine.
SUMMER MUSIC SERIES LINEUP
Thursday, June 13, 6:30 p.m.
Mt. Joy Folk rockers Mt. Joy became near overnight sensations when their 2016 song “Astrovan” racked up millions of streams on Spotify. Following tours and performances with the likes of The Shins, The Head and the Heart, The Lone Bellow and Whitney, the five-member band released their self-titled debut album last year.
Rayland Baxter One of the hardest-touring artists on the road today, Rayland Baxter spent three months soul searching and obsessively songwriting at a rubber band factory turned studio. The resulting spectacular album Wide Awake is infused with the Nashville native’s easygoing, soulful sound with British Invasion melodies and rock and roll swagger.
Monday, June 17, 6:30 p.m.
Cory Henry and the Funk Apostles Grammy Award-winning organist Cory Henry may be best known for his role in the critically-acclaimed instrumental jazz-pop orchestra Snarky Puppy. On his debut album with the Funk Apostles, Art of Love, the band whips up an intoxicating blend of blues, soul, R&B, Afrobeat, gospel and jazz by blurring genres and upending expectations at every turn.
Liniker e os Caramelows At the forefront of Musica Preta Brasilera (Black Brazilian Music), the Caramelows, fronted by the soulful black trans woman Liniker Barros, combine soul and R&B with the tropical heritage of Brazilian music. Their viral hit “Zero” led to the crowd-funded album Remonta and the recent release Goela Abaixo.
Monday, June 24, 6:30 p.m.
Chucho Valdes & Jazz Batá Winner of six Grammy Awards and three Latin Grammy Awards, Cuban pianist, composer, arranger and band leader Chucho Valdes has been a key figure in the Afro-Cuban jazz for the past 50 years. Chucho returns to the exploration of the sacred rhythms of the sacred batá drum, the music that would form the foundation of his history making group Irakere.
Fareed Haque + Casseus Fareed Haque is an international guitar virtuoso steeped in classical and jazz music. His unique command of the guitar infuses his performances with tradition and fearless innovation. He will perform the works of the late contemporary Haitian American guitarist and composer Franz Casseus.
Thursday, June 27, 6:30 p.m.
Flora Cash Husband-and-wife duo Flora Cash craft atmospheric indie folk and pop music born out of a cross-Atlantic courtship that began on Soundcloud. The Swedish Shpresa Lleshaj and American Cole Randall followed up their 2017 album Nothing Lasts Forever (And It’s Fine) with the viral hit “You’re Somebody Else.”
SUSTO The indie rock and alternative country project SUSTO centers around the lyrical narrative of singer-songer Justin Osborne. The acclaimed album Ever Since I lost My Mind is a mix of new partnerships and collaborations with old friends, anchored in perceptive songs exploring connection, loss and transience.
Monday, July 1 6:30 p.m.
Car Seat Headrest Car Seat Headrest began as a solo project of Will Toledo and now includes Andrew Katz (drums), Ethan Ives (guitar) and Seth Dalby (bass). The band, whose music transverses various genres under the “indie” label including lo-fi, electronic and pop rock, recently released a re-recorded, re-imagined edition of its classic Twin Fantasy.
Naked Giants Rock band Naked Giants is comprised of vocalist and guitarist Grant Mullen, bassist and vocalist Gianni Aiello and drummer Henry LaVallee. Their debut studio album SLUFF was released last year to positive critical reviews. The band has toured with Car Seat Headrest since 2018.
Monday, July 8, 6:30 p.m.
Brent Cobb Anchored by southern storytelling and swampy, country-soul swagger, Brent Cobb’s debut album Shine on a Rainy Day became a critical and commercial hit that garnered a Grammy Award nomination. The Georgia native’s 2018 followup, Providence Canyon album amps things up and pushes the sound forward with upbeat mixes of rock and country about life on the road.
Lydia Loveless Firebrand alt-country singer Lydia Loveless combines the honky tonk sound and style of classic country with the no-quarter attitude and spunk of punk rock divas. Her highlight anticipated fourth album Real was release by Bloodshot Records followed the 2016 documentary Who is Lydia Loveless? about her life and music and directed by Gorman Bechard.
Thursday, July 18, 6:30 p.m.
Orchestral Interpretations of J Dilla–Directed by Miguel Atwood-Ferguson Multi-instrumentalist, arranger, composer, music director, producer, DJ and educator Miguel Atwood-Ferguson will direct a re-envision of the music of Jay Dee (J Dilla). The performances will feature the composed and conducted historic “Suite for Ma Dukes” in tribute to the transcendent modern hip hop producer J Dilla.
Kenny Keys Chicago native Kenny Keys is a keyboardist, pianist, composer, producer, session musician and teacher of music. Following his 2016 debut Everything Must Change, a mellow instrumental hip hop and jazz-infused albumb, he has co-produced the 2018 digital album entitled Corinthian Cadillac with LA-based platinum-selling producer J. Kelr (Blended Babies).
Thursday, July 25, 6:30 p.m.
Los Amigos Invisibles The performance-oriented Venezuelan dance band, Los Amigos Invisibles plays a blend of disco, acid jazz and funk mixed with Latin rhythms. In addition to releasing eleven critically-acclaimed albums, including the 2009 Grammy Award-winning Commercial, the band is lauded internationally for their explosive live shows reaching nearly 60 countries.
Natalie Prass Natalie Prass is a musician on the rise. The singer-songwriter’s 2018 album The Future and The Past is a powerful work of art and feminist statement from an artist who is only beginning to tap her full range of considerable powers.
Monday, July 29, 6:30 p.m.
Rev. Sekou Rev. Sekou’s music is a unique combination of North Mississippi hill country music, Arkansas delta blues, Memphis soul and pentecostal steel guitar. The noted activist, theologian, author, documentary filmmaker and musician released the 2017 album In Times LikeThese, including the modern Civil Rights anthem “We Comin’.”
Cha Wa New Orleans brass band-meets-Mardi Gras Indian funk band Cha Wa radiates the firery energy of their city’s street culture. In 2019, the band received a Grammy nomination and last year, the band, whose name “cha wa” means “we’re comin’ for ya” in Indian vernacular, released their sophomore album Spyboy – a combination of ‘70s funk rhythm, right horn parts and deep, bouncing sousaphone.
Monday, August 5 6:30 p.m.
Love Love Love – Chicago Celebrates the Music of Donny Hathaway The great R&B, soul music master Donny Hathaway will be celebrated in a showcase performed by Chicago artist under the musical direction of Corey Wilkes. Named the 49th greatest singer of all time in a 2010 list published by Rolling Stone, Donny Hathaway is foundational to American soul music, with enduring songs like “The Ghetto” and ‘Where is the Love.” His influence can be heard in contemporary artists from R&B to hip hop to jazz.
Thursday, August 15 6:30 p.m.
Jupiter & Okwess Jupiter & Okwess’ musical expression spans from East Berlin (where Jupiter grew up) to the Congo with hints of James Brown and the dominant Congolese rumba style. The band’s second album Kin Sonic transcends the Congo’s unexplored musical heritage and dives into a pool of modern sounds.
Noura Mint Seymali Noura Mint Seymali is a nationally beloved star in Mauritania and one of the foremost emissaries of modern Moorish music. Touring notable festivals and esteemed venues throughout the world, the griot vocalist and ardine (a type of harp) master merges the ancient musical traditions of Saharan and West Africa with a powerful, contemporary voice.
Schedule of Performers is Subject to Change
This summer season, Millennium Park will once again implement additional security measures designed to improve the visitor experience at the park. Outside alcohol will also be prohibited at the six Jay Pritzker Pavilion events with the highest attendance, including the Chicago House Music Festival on May 24–25; the Chicago Blues Festival on June 7–9; the Chicago Mariachi Festival on June 30; the Grant Park Music Festival Independence Day Salute on July 4; the Broadway In Chicago Summer Concert on August 12; and the Chicago Jazz Festival on August 29–September 1. Outside alcohol will be allowed at the more than 70 public concerts and programs happening in Millennium Park this summer including the film series.
Visitors will have additional food and beverage options at various price points available for purchase inside the venue at the events where outside alcohol is restricted. Subject to bag search at the security perimeter, guests will continue to be allowed to bring their own food and non-alcoholic beverages to all events in Millennium Park.
The Millennium Park Music Series is produced by the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events and sponsored by the Chicago Transit Authority. Refreshments are available for purchase from Goose Island Beer Company, Riboli Family Wines and Pepsi at various locations throughout the park. For the latest news and events, download the Millennium Park app, visit millenniumpark.org, and follow us on Facebook (MillenniumParkChicago), Twitter, Instagram (@Millennium_Park #MillenniumPark) and Snapchat (ChicagoDCASE).
Visitors are encouraged to take CTA to Millennium Park. To plan your route, visit transitchicago.com. For those parking, Millennium Park Garages are located at Millennium Park Garage and Millennium Lakeside Garage at 5 S. Columbus Drive, Grant Park North Garage at 25 N. Michigan Ave. and Grant Park South Garage at 325 S. Michigan Ave. Pre-purchase parking at millenniumgarages.com and save up to 50% off drive-up rates.
Millennium Park is Chicago’s town square and the anchor of an urban cultural campus that includes the Chicago Cultural Center, Maggie Daley Park and the Art Institute of Chicago. Opened in 2004, Millennium Park is a 24.5-acre urban park in the heart of downtown Chicago, home to the iconic Cloud Gate (also known as “The Bean”) sculpture by Anish Kapoor, Crown Fountain designed by Jaume Plensa, the Frank Gehry-designed Jay Pritzker Pavilion, the internationally-acclaimed Lurie Garden and more. Millennium Park is located on Michigan Avenue, bordered by Randolph St. to the north, Columbus Dr. to the east and Monroe St. to the south. The Park is open 6am–11pm daily.
About the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events
The Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE) is dedicated to enriching Chicago’s artistic vitality and cultural vibrancy. This includes fostering the development of Chicago’s non-profit arts sector, independent working artists and for-profit arts businesses; providing a framework to guide the City’s future cultural and economic growth, via the 2012 Chicago Cultural Plan; marketing the City’s cultural assets to a worldwide audience; and presenting high-quality, free and affordable cultural programs for residents and visitors.
About the Millennium Park Foundation
The Millennium Park Foundation, a private, philanthropic not-for-profit partner, was created in 1998 to support the City of Chicago’s efforts in the design, construction and management of Millennium Park. It is the steward of Millennium Park’s internationally-recognized icons and public features. These include the prestigious Jay Pritzker Pavilion and dramatic BP Pedestrian Bridge, world-renowned Cloud Gate and Lurie Garden, iconic Crown Fountain, and exquisite Boeing Galleries for public art exhibitions. Through its ongoing development initiatives, the Millennium Park Foundation is dedicated to keeping Millennium Park a free and accessible venue for all Chicagoans today, and for generations to come.
Send your music updates to Reel Chicago Editor Dan Patton, firstname.lastname@example.org.