Summer offers plenty of outdoor concerts
Like food seems to taste better al fresco, music seems to sound better outdoors.
And you have a lot of it to enjoy this summer right here in Champaign-Urbana — or not too far from it.
The outdoor concert season has swung into full gear, with offerings such as single shows to multiple concerts on campus and elsewhere to live music in state and county parks to festivals and to the streets.
One of the biggest summer music events is Outside at the Research Park at the University of Illinois. This summer there will be two, with Malian guitar superstar Vieux Farka Tour performing with his band at 7:30 p.m. Friday and the alternative American roots band Spuyten Duyvil on July 12.
Opening at 6:30 p.m. for Toure will be the local Mhondoro Rhythm Success. At 6:30 p.m. July 12, the opening act is The Diva & The Dude, aka Kathy Harden and Andy Baylor.
Those concerts are free, brought to you by Krannert Center for the Performing Arts, Fox/Atkins Development and the UI.
Also coming up this weekend, the popular Strawberry Jam from 4 p.m. to dusk Saturday at Meadowbrook Park in Urbana. The lineup: 4 to 5 p.m., The Young and the Fretless; 5:30 to 6:30 p.m., The Fabulous Javelinas; and 7 to 8 p.m., Big Bluestem.
And 40 North 88 West, the Champaign County Arts, Culture and Entertainment Council, presents a variety of live music and other acts during its free street-side performance series, Friday Night Live, from 6 to 8 p.m. every week through Aug. 16 at Neil and Church, Neil and Park, and Walnut and Chester.
In Campustown, the Champaign Center Partnership will present on Saturday the Bud Light Summer Stage concerts, with the Pinnacle Vodka Stage featuring the Feudin' Hillbillies and the Wright Street Summer Stage featuring Sun Stereo, Elsinore, The Struggle featuring Harsh/Swords/Jay Moses, and Dirty Feathers.
The music will begin at 6 p.m., and the stages will be on Green Street.
And don't forget the Blues Brews and BBQ Festival on June 28-29 in downtown Champaign or the Urbana Sweetcorn Festival on Aug. 23-24. Both will feature national and regional acts on multiple stages.
Here's a by-no-means-comprehensive rundown of other live music events this summer (most are free admission):
The Urbana Park District Neighborhood Nights, with all concerts from 6:30 to 8 p.m. Wednesdays (rain dates are the next night):
June 19, Blair Park, Keith Harden.
June 26, Crestview, Urbana Pops Orchestra featured ensembles.
July 3, Prairie Park, Blues Deacons, with rain location in Brookens Gym.
July 10, Wheatfield Park, High Cotton.
July 17, King Park, Painkillers.
July 24, Anita Purves Nature Center, New Riders of the Golden Maize.
July 31, AMBUCS Park, Bruiser & the Virtues.
Aug. 7, Prairie Play at Meadowbrook Park, Surreal Deal.
Champaign Park District
Besides its new Sounds at Sunset concerts in neighborhood parks, the Champaign Park District will present the popular Taste of Champaign on June 21-23 at West Side Park. It features a slew of live music as well as food, arts and crafts. For a list of acts, go to http://www.champaignparkdistrict.com/events/taste/music_2013.htm.
Other CPD events with live music:
Juneteenth Celebration, noon to 4 p.m. June 15, Douglass Park.
Sounds at Sunset, 6 to 8 p.m. June 28, Spalding Park, featuring the regional Battle of the Bands.
Hessel Park Concert, 6:30 to 8 p.m. June 30, Tons O' Fun Band.
Hessel Park Concert, 6:30 to 8 p.m. July 7, Decatur Park Singers.
Sounds at Sunset, 6 to 8 p.m. July 12, Sunset Ridge Park, The New and Slightly Used.
Champaign Music Festival, 7 p.m. to midnight July 20 downtown.
Hessel Park Concert, 6:30 to 8 p.m. July 21, Jim Markum Swing Band.
Sounds at Sunset, 6 to 8 p.m. July 26, Scott Park, with Steve Rodman.
Sounds at Sunset, 6 to 8 p.m. Aug. 6 at Douglass Park, with Candy Foster.
CU Days, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Aug. 20 and 4 to 8 p.m. Aug. 11, Douglass Park.
Sounds at Sunset, 6 to 8 p.m. Aug. 16, Toalson Park, Crazy Johnny Band.
Sounds at Sunset, 6 to 8 p.m. Aug. 30 at Clark Park, Songbox featuring David Howie.
Fall Kickoff Festival, noon to 6 p.m. Sept. 1, Centennial Park, with Marching Illini band.
The UI Summer Band Twilight Concerts on the Quad just south of the Illini Union will be at 7 p.m. June 20 and July 18. In case of rain, the band will move into Smith Recital Hall, 805 S. Mathews Ave., U.
The Allerton Park and Retreat Center is offering a Concert in the Park series on the first Friday of the month, presented by the UI Employees Credit Union.
Each concert is from 6 to 8 p.m. Suggested donation is $5 per person and $10, family.
The remaining ones:
July 5, with the Kilborn Alley Blues Band, a Champaign-based Chicago style blues band.
Aug. 2, the Henhouse Prowlers, a bluegrass band from Chicago.
Lake of the Woods
The Champaign County Forest Preserve District is offering a free Summer Garden Concert Series one Sunday a month near the Museum of the Grand Prairie in Mahomet. For more information, call 586-2612. The schedule:
5 to 7 p.m. July 14, patriotic music with the Sound of the Prairie Community Band.
5 to 7 p.m. Aug. 11, David Howie performing original music and popular classic rock sing-along covers.
Alto Vineyards on North Duncan Road in Champaign has its Music Among the Vines series, with most of the concerts from 7:30 to 10:30 p.m. and featuring a $5 cover (kids 15 and under are free):
June 14, Evening with Candy Foster and Shades of Blue, 6 to 10 p.m. Fundraiser for the Daily Bread Soup Kitchen. Donation: $25. No rain date; there's a tent. Cash bar only.
June 22, Keith & Kathy Harden.
June 29, Duke of Uke & His Novelty Orchestra.
July 6, Tom Turino's Cornstalkers Cajun Band.
July 13, The Blues Deacons.
July 20, The Sugar Prophets.
July 27, Candy Foster & Shades of Blue.
Aug. 3, New Riders of the Golden Maize.
Aug. 10, Alex Jenkins & The Bombers.
Aug. 17, Cornstalkers Cajun Band.
Aug. 24, The Blues Deacons.
Aug. 31, Jeff Helgesen.
Sept. 7, The Painkillers.
Sept. 14, Candy Foster & Shades of Blue.
Music on the Landing
The Dockside Cafe at Kickapoo State Park just north of Oakwood presents the Music on the Landing series through October from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Tuesdays and Fridays:
June 14, Joni Dryer & The Maytags; June 18, Hoosier Daddy, June 21, J.R. Country, June 15, Mike Ellis & The Midnight Sons; June 28, State Line Band.
July 2, Bob Schifo; July 5, Black Ridge Road, July 9, Marvin Lee Band; July 12, The Kickapooligans; July 16, August Crow; July 19, Mitchells Bluegrass and Gospel; July 23, Mike Ellis & The Midnight Sons; July 26, Country Gentlemen; July 30, Bob Schifo.
Aug. 2, Hoosier Daddy; Aug. 6, J.R. Country; Aug. 9, Black Ridge Road; Aug. 13, Len and Lois; Aug. 16, State Line Band; Aug. 20, The Oakwood Boys; Aug. 23, Strings Attached; Aug. 27, The Kickapooligans; Aug. 30, Joni Dryer & The Maytags.
Sept. 6, 6 Rodman Rail; Sept. 13, Big Bluestem; Sept. 20, The Young & The Fretless; Sept. 27, Big Creek Guitar Band.
Oct. 4, Grass Roots Revival; Oct. 11, Timber Train; Oct. 18, Plain Ol' Ed; Oct. 25, Closing Jam.
The Downtown Danville Summer Sounds Concert Series takes place from 6 to 9 p.m. the first and third Fridays of the month through Aug. 2 at Temple Plaza at Vermilion and North streets. The lineup:
June 21, Mike Dangeroux Orchestra.
July 5, Just Us Band.
July 19, Outbound Drive
Aug. 2, Duke Tomato and the Power Trio.
Also in Danville, the 25th annual Arts In The Park at the historic Lincoln Park on North Logan Avenue will take place June 22-23, with continuous stage performances both days. Admission to the festival is free.