Chicago's Millennium Park Summer 2013: Line-up of Free Music and Special Events

Chicago's Millennium Park Summer 2013: Line-up of Free Music and Special Events

From Downtown Sound to Loops & Variations to Made in Chicago, Gospel Fest, and Jazz Fest, Chicago’s Millennium Park will be filled with the sound of music all summer long. But music’s not the only thing on tap at the park–there’s family activities, art happenings, exercise classes, garden tours and more.

Here’s the line-up

Downtown Sound

Downtown Sound, the ten-week Monday evening music series, kicks off the season on May 27 continuing through July 29. All concerts are on Monday evenings starting at 6:30 p.m. at the Jay Pritzker Pavilion.  Highlights include:

  • An Evening with Glen Hansard on June 10 featuring the Irish singer-songwriter, Lisa Hannigan and members of Hansard’s former band, The Frames. Hansard’s original song, “Falling Slowly”, for the movie “Once” earned him an Oscar®.
  • The Grammy® Award winning Carolina Chocolate Drops on June 24 showcasing its regional Piedmont background with fiddle and banjo-based music, highlighting the central role African-Americans have played in shaping our nation’s popular music.
  • The Los Angeles-based band, Dawes, performing on July 8, features singer/guitarist Taylor Goldsmith, his brother Griffin on drums, keyboardists Tay Strathairn and bassist Wylie Gelber.

Loops & Variations

Loops & Variations, the Thursday evening music series, launched in 2012, that features new music mixed with electronica returns this summer on June 13 with Falty DL starting at 6:30 p.m.  Other concerts are scheduled for June 27 (Matmos), July 4, July 11 (Dan Deacon at a special time: 8 p.m.) and July 18. Plus a special Wednesday night of Loops & Variations will be August 28 featuring eighth blackbird with Glenn Kotche. (Thursday, June 20 will be the opening night of the 28th Chicago Gospel Music Festival.)

Made in Chicago

The world class jazz series Made in Chicago kicks off on July 25 for six consecutive Thursday evenings at 6:30p.m. culminating with the August 29 performance which simultaneously starts the 35th Annual Chicago Jazz Festival.

Art Exhibitions

The Legends, Myths and Truths: Jun Kaneko exhibition opens in the park’s Boeing Galleries on April 12.  As a pioneer in the field of monumental ceramic sculpture, Jun Kaneko has played with scale and proportion.  This installation represents the artist’s past and present artistic practices. Works in the South Boeing Galleries feature Kaneko’s signature Dangos (meaning “rounded form” or “dumpling” in Japanese). Through November 3.

Tours of the Lurie Garden

Follow the changing landscape of Millennium Park’s Lurie Garden. The Garden designed by Gustafson Guthrie Nichol Ltd., Piet Oudolf and Robert Israel is a 5-arce urban oasis that offers year around beauty.  Starting Sunday May 5 free guided walks will be offered every Friday and Sunday through September 22 (except May 12). Participants will learn about the Garden’s design, its plant life and how this applies to your home garden.

Dinosaur Petting Zoo

Something really big is in the works at Millennium Park…coming May 25, the park will be welcoming giant dinosaurs in a fun, educational and imaginative performance that encourages interaction for kids and adults. Audiences can feed, water and care for these puppet-like, prehistoric marvels.  The Dinosaur Petting Zoo is suitable for children 5+. (Location TBD), May 25 – 27.

30th Annual Chicago Blues Festival Opening Night

A special Thursday evening concert on June 6 will kick off this milestone Chicago Blues Festival with Shemekia Copeland (crowned the “new” Queen of the Blues in 2011) headlining the evening joined by special guest, blues guitar prodigy and Buddy Guy collaborator, Quinn Sullivan. The evening will begin at 6:30 p.m. with openers Blues Kids of America followed by Jamiah on Fire & The Red Machine. Opening Night Concert, Jay Pritzker Pavilion.

Millennium Park Workouts, Great Lawn, June 8 – August 31

Shape up with Pilates, Yoga, Tai Chi and Zumba in the beautiful outdoor environment of Millennium Park.  Participants can attend free Saturday morning classes on the Great Lawn from June 8 through August 31.  The free workout sessions will be held from 7 a.m. to 11 a.m. Workouts are 45 minutes long with Tai Chi at 7 a.m., Yoga at 8 a.m., Pilates at 9 a.m. and Zumba®, a Latin-inspired calorie-burning dance fitness party, beginning at 10 a.m.

Family Fun Festival

The Family Fun Festival returns with interactive activities, arts and crafts and games for kids of all ages daily starting June 10. Highlights  include Wiggleworms® at 10 a.m., when instructors from the Old Town School of Folk Music lead young children in a fun-filled sing-along and a reading circle at 11 a.m.  Chase Promenade North, June 10 – August 18.

Bike Chicago Week

Celebrate Chicago’s commitment to being the best big city for bicycling. Bike Week includes spin classes at Cloud Gate and a bike-related movie night at the Pritzker Pavilion. Cloud Gate, June 10-14.

The 79th Season of the Grant Park Music Festival,

Highlights of the season which runs June 12 through August 17 at Jay Pritzker Pavilion include:

  • The Chicago premiere of Qigang Chen’s evocative Iris dévoilée, a work that blends Eastern and Western musical traditions, showcasing Chinese singers Xiaoduo Chen and Meng Meng, and featuring the Chinese instruments erhu, pipa and zheng along with the Grant Park Orchestra.
  • The Grant Park Orchestra and Chorus will commemorate the centenary of the birth of Benjamin Britten with two performances of his powerful masterwork, “War Requiem”, and the Festival will celebrate the 100th anniversary of the premiere of Igor Stravinsky’s seminal piece, “The Rite of Spring” with two performances on closing weekend. For the complete schedule, visit the Grant Park Music Festival website.

Chicago Gospel Music Festival opening night

This year’s Chicago Gospel Music Festival opens June 20 in Jay Pritzker Parilion with a Chicago Gospel Choir Competition.  Choirs from across the City will compete to win a prime performance slot on the main stage Saturday night at the Festival’s new home in Ellis Park.

Millennium Park Information

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. Convenient parking is located in the Millennium Park Garage (entrance on Columbus at Monroe or Randolph), Millennium Lakeside and Grant Park North.

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