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Best Free Summer Concerts In Chicago

Summer in Chicago is a beautiful and fleeting season. Everyone is looking for more ways to enjoy the weather and get outdoors, preferably without breaking the bank. Here are several options for free concerts in Chicago that you can enjoy throughout the season with little strain on your wallet.
Grant Park
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Grant Park Music Festival
Jay Pritzker Pavillion
201 E. Randolph St.
Chicago, IL 60601
(312) 742-7640

Date: June 17, 2015 through August 27, 2015 at 6:30 p.m.

You can't go wrong with any part of the free concert series at the Grant Park Music Festival. If you're a fan of classical music, talented orchestras and outdoor air, choose any one of the many concerts listed. The concerts are offered every Wednesday, Friday and Saturday at the Pritzker Pavillion. Saturday performances are at 7:30 p.m. and admission is free. You can pay if you want to bring a group and have special seating reserved. Bringing a blanket and a picnic basket full of snacks is encouraged. Remember that seating is first come first serve so plan accordingly. Can't make an evening performance? The public is invited to listen to lunchtime rehearsals of all programs.

American English & Fireworks
MB Financial Park
5501 Park Place
Rosemont, IL 60018
(847) 349-5008

Date: June 18, 2015 at 7 p.m.

Enjoy a live performance by American English, a phenomenal Beatles tribute band who performs songs from the Beatles early years, through the psychedelic midpoint of their career and caps it off chronologically with songs from the end of their time as a band. All of the songs are played live with no recorded tracks backing them. In addition to the live music, fireworks and food and beverage tents will be present in the park. Outside food and coolers are prohibited. Although there are picnic tables, lawn chairs and blankets are suggested. For more information on additional concerts in the 2015 Rockin' In the Park series, click here.

Chicago Blues Festival
Grant Park
235 S. Columbus Drive
Chicago, IL 60604
(773) 866-9740

Date: June 13, 2015 through June 15, 2015 at 7 p.m

It's difficult to think of many better things than listening to free Blues music outdoors in Chicago. This summer kicks off Chicago's 31st Annual Blues Festival in Grant Park at the Petrillo Band Shell. Featured musicians include Billy Boy Arnold, The Carolina Chocolate Drops, Bettye LaVette, Nikki Hill and Aaron Neville. A full list of performers will be unveiled as the concert date approaches. Chicago will honor May, "Blues Month" by featuring several preview performances at different Chicago Park District and Public Library locations throughout the Windy City. Parking is available near Grant Park during the festival, but your best bet for less hassle may be taking public transportation.

Related: Best Cheap Live Music Venues In Chicago

Downtown Sound: New Music Mondays
Jay Pritzker Pavillion
201 E. Randolph St.
Chicago, IL 60601
(312) 742-7640

Date: June 2, 2015 through August 4, 2015 at 6:30 p.m. (No concert 7/28)

Like to be on the cutting edge of local music and be the one to hear about the bands before they make it big? Definitely check out Downtown Sound. The music itself will be an eclectic mix from rock, pop, world music and more, but the young musicians themselves all come from Chicago and are all making waves in their own circles already. You may even catch some rock veterans who are considered groundbreaking. Check the website for the line up of artists as the events approach or take a gamble and head down to the Pavillion and be surprised.

Ribfest Chicago
Lincoln Avenue
Irving Park Blvd. to Berteau St.
Chicago, IL 60625
(773) 525-3609

Date: June 12, 2015 through June 14, 2015 at 12 p.m. (The festival begins at 5 p.m. on Friday)

Although more generally known as a food festival, you cannot discount Ribfest's live music and musician line up. The bands are reputed to be some of the best that play at the Chicago street festivals. As a bonus, you do have the opportunity to purchase ribs from booths set up by some of Chicago's best meat slinging restaurants. Be aware that there are festival prices for food and drink and you will need to purchase a wrist band if you are over 21 and intend on consuming alcohol. Although full of meat-loving crowds, it's entirely possibly to go to Ribfest and just enjoy the music.

Related: Best Small Venues For Live Music In Chicago

Meredith Lyons is an actor, competitive fighter and fitness instructor in Chicago who also owns an amazing cat named Jake. Meredith has been writing on Examiner as the Chicago Martial Arts Examiner since 2008. Her work can be found at
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