Billy Branch
Billy Branch Credit: Courtesy Sun-Times Media

Since 1993 Martin’s International Culture has booked some of the biggest names in African and Caribbean music at the International Festival of Life. This year the event moves from its usual Washington Park location north to Union Park for Independence Day weekend, running Thu 7/4 through Sun 7/7 from noon till 10 PM. This year’s music—more than 50 acts total—includes international reggae stars such as Third World on Thursday, Luciano on Friday, Wailers guitarist Junior Marvin and Inner Circle (of “Bad Boys” fame) on Saturday, and Sanchez on Sunday. Among the other genres represented are jazz and blues (Joyce Renee Walker & the JK Connection, Billy Branch & the Sons of Blues), soul and R&B (Slique, Harold Melvin’s Blue Notes, Marshall Thompson & the Chi-Lites), and reggaeton (Northrock 360, Pobre Fella y Darey LaModa). There’s even a set from local preteen singing sensation Mae Ya Carter Ryan, subject of a Reader cover story in March. Tickets are $20 per day, $15 in advance; admission is $5 for kids under 12 and free for kids under six. For more info, call 312-427-0266 or visit