Today the city’s Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events announced the 2019 schedule for the annual Millennium Park Summer Music Series at Pritzker Pavilion, which begins Thursday, June 13, and ends Thursday, August 15. All the concerts are on Mondays or Thursdays (though not every Monday and Thursday), they all start at 6:30 in the evening, and as always they’re all free. Last year, DCASE significantly reduced the number of Summer Music Series events, presenting only ten double bills—down from 15 in 2017 and 20 in 2016. This year, the number creeps up a bit to 11, with Philadelphia indie rockers Mt. Joy kicking things off in June—though the tribute to Donny Hathaway in August doesn’t yet list any performers.
As onetime Reader critic Peter Margasak has pointed out, the Summer Music Series originally showcased mostly indie rock and pop, but branched out after DCASE eliminated several specialized series dedicated to jazz, contemporary classical, and international music. The Summer Music Series can’t hope to fill those voids, given that it consists of fewer than a dozen concerts, but within those limitations it does a great job. Highlights this year include Afro-Cuban jazz legend Chucho Valdes, alt-country hero Lydia Loveless, and Congolese funk-pop outfit Jupiter & Okwess. And indie rock is still part of the offerings—critical darlings Car Seat Headrest headline July 1.
Below is the full Summer Music Series schedule, along with links to previous Reader coverage.
Cory Henry & the Funk Apostles
Liniker e os Caramelows
Car Seat Headrest
Los Amigos Invisibles
“Love Love Love”: Chicago Celebrates the Music of Donny Hathaway