click to enlarge Listen to live music this summer
Chickadee Sermon plays the Positively Summer Music Festival at Long Bridge Golf Course on June 16.

Outdoor music on a Midwestern summer day or night is always worth the winter's wait. Any self-respecting community festival will have live music, and almost every day, bars and restaurants open their patios for local musicians to showcase their talents.

Of course, music festivals are the powerhouse entertainment sources around here, and the perennial local favorites are ready to play again this year.

With five stages, 60 bands and 30 vendors, the Legacy of Giving Music Festival is ready to once again make a difference for 10 area charities. Last year the event raised $4,500 for the benefit of others, and the organizers are ready to do it again June 7-8 in downtown Springfield. Expect food, drinks, things to keep the kids busy, crafts, arts and even sporting events, plus a lot of good sounds.

Now in its fourth year, the Positively Summer Music Festival has secured its ranking as a much-anticipated annual event. It's a one-day festival that packs in some serious talent – country acoustic duo Buckhart Road, Chickadee Sermon with some "Midwest comfort folk music" and Ben Bedford, who was named "one of the 50 most significant folk songwriters in the last 50 years," according to the Chicago Tribune. Tom Beverly and Geoff Ryan, two of the driving forces behind the festival, will also take the stage with the Positively 4th Street combo. Look for the festival at its new host venue, Long Bridge Golf Course, on Sunday, June 16.

The Rumble Down Festival is always fun, funky and not quite predictable. Organizers are again living up to that standard this year with the Rumble Down Take Three festival set for July 19-21. It promises no less than five stages, three music genres and three locations, beginning at the Route 66 Hotel and Conference Center, ending at Knight's Action Park and with a whole bunch of stuff in between.

On July 26-27 you'll have a chance to stop by another favorite, the Downhome Music Festival at Seventh and Washington streets in downtown Springfield, where you can listen to some great bands (the lineup is still in the works) and find more than 100 craft beers – yes, 100.

The Levitt AMP Springfield Music Series has a fine reputation for bringing in top-notch performers, allowing our Midwestern sensibilities to experience the music sounds of the world. The unconfined Y-Block is the venue of choice for the series and offers space for food trucks, dancing, games and room for kids to run in the sun.

click to enlarge Listen to live music this summer
Priscilla Block plays the Sangamon County Fair on June 13.

Haitian singer and multi-instrumentalist Paul Beaubrun opens the series May 30. As the son of Theodore "Lòlò" and Mimerose "Manzè" Beaubrun, both members of the Grammy-nominated Haitian band Boukman Eksperyans, Beaubrun has been described as the "scion of Haitian musical royalty." He considers his style a mix of the music of his roots with rock 'n' roll and reggae.

Empire Strikes Brass, a brass funk-rock band from Asheville, North Carolina, will take the stage June 6 and will bring with it a high-energy, driven performance that combines the talents of each of the members.

Zydeco is a genre born in southwestern Louisiana of blues, rhythm and blues, and "music indigenous to the Louisiana Creoles ... using the French accordion" and a frottoir, a Creole washboard instrument. Curley Taylor & Zydeco Trouble will perform June 13, bringing its unique sound of part modern blues and part traditional zydeco to the stage.

On the evening of June 20, bluegrass and folk with some funk is what Armchair Boogey will bring to town while on its national tour. It considers itself a newgrass band, but its sounds can also be easily called funkgrass or jamgrass.

The following week, Kyshona "shares her story while inviting listeners ... to join her in an exploration of self, healing and growth." Her style, described as soul folk, infuses soul, gospel, rock and folk. She released an album in April, and more singles will follow. Her show is June 27.

The rock band Tyler Bryant & the Shakedown is set to perform July 4. The band was formed in Nashville, Tennessee, in 2009. Although the band has undergone some lineup changes, Bryant and drummer Caleb Crosby are the remaining original members.

click to enlarge Listen to live music this summer
Mötley Crüe plays the Illinois State Fair on Aug. 10.

Elizabeth Rodriquez is a classically trained violinist and Magdelys Savigne is a Havana University of the Arts graduate with honors in orchestral percussion. They are the leaders of OKAN, a "JUNO award-winning contemporary Afro-Cuban roots and jazz ensemble." They will perform July 11.

The People Brothers Band is said to have an infectious stage presence which, coupled with the band members' diverse musical influences, "displays genre-bending versatility and mesmerizing synchronicity" for the eight-member ensemble. They'll be performing their unique style of rhythm and soul July 18.

Brothers Jack Torrey and Page Burkum are the founding members of the band The Cactus Blossoms, an alternative country and indie folk band out of Minneapolis. The band's natural sibling harmony is striking and is reminiscent of an earlier era of rock 'n' roll. They will be on stage July 25.

The concert series will wrap up on Aug. 1 with a performance by Radio Free Honduras. Bringing together a diverse group of Chicago's most talented musicians, Radio Free Honduras was formed to highlight the brilliant guitar sounds of Charlie Baran, who works as a grade school maintenance man by day.

The Sangamon County Fair is keeping it straight up country for this year's grandstand lineup of Priscilla Block, Conner Smith and Mark Wills. In four short years, Block has taken Nashville by storm after her song, "Just About over You," went viral on TikTok in 2020. Her latest release, "Good on You," will be included in her June 13 show. Smith, a 23-year-old with a packed summer tour schedule, will bring in some contemporary country. Wills is a Grand Ole Opry member who has been in the country music business for more than 25 years. Sounds like a lineup for great summer evening like no other.

The Illinois State Fair is kicking off its grandstand lineup with a country music entertainer who has received six ARIA Music Awards, 13 CMA Awards, four Grammy Awards and 15 Academy of Country Music Awards, including the Jim Reeves International Award. Legendary singer, guitarist and songwriter Keith Urban will show Springfield what country is all about on Friday, Aug. 9.

Mötley Crüe was formed 43 years ago in Hollywood, California. Self-dubbed the "world's most notorious rock band," it earned a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2009 and continues to tour throughout the world. The band will be playing on Saturday, Aug. 10.

Jason Isbell will perform with his 400 Unit band on Sunday, Aug. 11. The Grammy Award-winning singer and songwriter will bring his own style of Americana, folk and country sounds to the stage.

On Tuesday, Aug. 13, county pop singer and songwriter Jordan Davis will be on stage. The Louisiana native signed a recording contract with Universal Music Group Nashville just four years after graduating from college and has been on the charts ever since. He's been nominated for many awards and won the 2022 County Music Association Awards Song of the Year with the song "Buy Dirt."

Lil Wayne, who many regard as "one of the most influential hip-hop artists of his generation," signed with a record label at just 11 years old, and he has since been cited as an influence by many other musicians and upcoming rappers. He will be on stage on Wednesday, Aug. 14.

American pop-rock band Jonas Brothers will play on Thursday, Aug. 15. The three brothers formed their band in 2005 and gained popularity with their exposure on the Disney Channel television network, even starring in their own Disney Channel series. They took a break for some time but regrouped in 2019, and in 2023 they received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

The Smashing Pumpkins has gone through many lineup changes since the band was formed in 1988. There is one remaining original member, while several members have left and since returned to the band. Their 2024 tour was announced in November 2023 shortly after longtime guitarist Jeff Schroeder announced he was leaving the band. After receiving 10,000 applications for his potential replacement, on April 26, 2024, the band selected Kiki Wong as the touring guitarist. The Smashing Pumpkins will be on stage Friday, Aug. 16.

After hitting on many popular music genres, the lineup will swing back around to country with a performance by Miranda Lambert to wrap up this year's fair. The singer, songwriter and guitarist with Texas roots began her career with the release of her self-titled debut album in 2001. She has been named Female Vocalist of the Year for nine consecutive years by the Academy of Country Music Awards. She will perform on Saturday, Aug. 17.

Be sure to check the Illinois Times calendar of events often to find community festivals and live music events at local pubs and restaurants. You will always find live music happening somewhere nearby, year-round.

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