Summertime Chi is right around the corner and the folks at the City of Chicago’s Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE) is really trying to impress us with this year’s Taste of Chicago 2016 music concert line-up. Well…I’m thoroughly impressed.
This is by far one of the delightfully diverse line-ups that we’ve seen in awhile. Make sure to mark your calendar for the 36th Annual Taste of Chicago, July 6–10, in Grant Park. The festival will present a diverse mix of award-winning, crowd-pleasing acts with headliners including The Roots, KONGOS, The Decemberists, Billy Idol and The Isley Brothers featuring Ronald and Ernie Isley. Admission to the Taste of Chicago is free, and festival hours are 11 a.m.–9 p.m., Wednesday through Friday, and 10 a.m.–9 p.m., Saturday and Sunday.
“When it’s summer in the city, it’s time for the Taste of Chicago and this lineup of fantastic performers will help to make this year’s Taste a festival not to miss,” said Mayor Rahm Emanuel. “The free admission Taste draws more than a million residents and visitors each summer to experience world class entertainment while celebrating Chicago’s world class culinary scene. I want to thank the performers, chefs, and organizers who are already working to ensure this great Chicago tradition will continue this year.”
Tickets for the seating area at the Petrillo Music Shell will go on sale Friday, April 29, at 10 a.m. at the Taste website, tasteofchicago.us.
Wednesday, July 6, 5:30 p.m.
The Roots, GRAMMY® Award winners and one of the most respected hip-hop acts in the music industry will headline the opening night of Taste of Chicago. Recently they were named one of the greatest live bands by Rolling Stone and they currently perform every Monday through Friday as the official house band on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon.
Chicago artist Donnie Trumpet (Nico Segal) will open for The Roots with his bohemian, indie/hip-hop sound. He has received accolades for his band Donnie Trumpet & The Social Experiment and the band’s 2015 album Surf was named one of the best for 2015 by the Chicago Tribune.
Presented by The Illinois Lottery, the concert will begin at 5:30 p.m. General seating tickets are $23 and premium seating tickets are $50.
Thursday, July 7, 5 p.m.
Headlining the evening are the KONGOS, a diverse and multi- talented quartet of brothers hailing from South Africa. With their 2014 hit “Come With Me Now” the groups popularity took off in the U.S. In June, the band will release their new album Egomaniac, and “Take it From Me,” the first single was released on April 15.
Elle King will bring her hits, “America’s Sweetheart” and “Ex’s & Oh’s” from her 2015 debut album, LOVE STUFF to fans at the Petrillo stage. The album was a follow up to the acclaimed The Elle King EP (2012), which included the single “Playing For Keeps.” The single became the theme song for VH1’s “Mob Wives Chicago” and was picked for a national ad campaign for “Mad Men.”
Transviolet, led by Sarah McTaggert’s sultry vocals, will open the evening’s performances. This band on the rise released their four-song EP in September 2015, and will be releasing an album soon. The first single from the EP “Girls Your Age” gained instant online traction, becoming a viral sensation. Another hit song for the group is “New Bohemia.”
The concert will begin at 5 p.m. Media support provided by 101WKQX. General seating tickets are $15 and premium seating tickets are $32.
Friday, July 8, 5:30 p.m.
Led by Montana native Colin Meloy, The Decemberists craft theatrical, hyper- pop songs that draw heavily from late-’60s British folk acts like Fairport Convention and Pentangle and the early-’80s college rock grandeur of the Waterboys and R.E.M. After four years in the making, What a Terrible World, What a Beautiful World is the band’s seventh studio album released in January 2015. Most notable on the album is the song “12/17/12,” named for and inspired by the date that President Obama addressed the nation after the Newtown school shootings.
Shakey Graves is the stage name of Austin, Texas-based singer-songwriter and musician Alejandro Rose-Garcia, who will open for The Decemberists. He’s best known for his one-man band set-up, as well as his original and unpredictable approach that results in haunting melodies that blend country, blues and rock. After hearing this charismatic artist live – Taste goers will be hooked.
Presented by 93XRT, the concert will begin at 5:30 p.m. General seating tickets are $23 and premium seating tickets are $50.
Saturday, July 9, 4:30 p.m.
Billy Idol was one of MTV’s first megastars and an early architect of the sound, style and fury of punk rock with his lip-curling sneer and fist pumping persona. During his career he has sold 40 million albums and scored numerous platinum albums worldwide. In the U.S. and U.K., his top-forty singles include “Dancing with Myself,” “White Wedding,” “Rebel Yell,” “Mony, Mony,” “Eyes Without A Face,” “Flesh For Fantasy” and “Cradle of Love.”
Founded by Chris Connelly and Matt Walker, the band Sons of the Silent Age is dedicated to playing the music of David Bowie. Both artists are veterans of the music business, Chris Connelly moved from his native Scotland in the 80s to pursue a career with The Revolting Cocks and Ministry, and Matt Walker brought his formidable drum skills to the likes of Filter, Smashing Pumpkins, Garbage and Morrissey. The nine-member band of elite Chicago musicians are diehard and dedicated Bowie fans who pour their collective talents into keeping his legacy alive.
Presented by Bud Light, this concert will begin at 4:30 p.m. General seating tickets are $23 and premium seating tickets are $50.
Sunday, July 10, 4:30 p.m.
The Isley Brothers featuring Ronald and Ernie Isley have brought award- winning soul, R&B and funk to audiences for close to half a century with classics like their 1959 debut with “Shout,” “Twist and Shout” in 1962, “Who’s That Lady” in 1973 and countless others. Recognized by their peers in the music community, the legendary group has collaborated with artists like R Kelly, Lil’ Kim, Whitney Houston, Snoop Dogg, Jill Scott, Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis among others. Taste audiences will twist and shout!
Follow the beat to Taste of Chicago to see the iconic Sheila E. The world-class drummer and percussionist’s credits are a who’s who of the music industry and include Prince, Ringo Starr, Herbie Hancock, Marvin Gaye, Diana Ross and many more. The GRAMMY®-nominated artist for “The Glamourous Life” and “A Love Bazaar” will bring audiences to their feet with her infectious drumming and rhythm.
The concert will begin at 4:30 p.m. General seating tickets are $23 and premium seating tickets are $50.
Taste of Chicago is presented by the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events and sponsored in part by Bud Light, Chicago Tribune, Chicago Transit Authority, Communications Direct, CLTV-Chicagoland’s Television, Eli’s Cheesecake Company, Humana, Illinois Lottery, Lifeway Foods, Pepsi, Shoreline Sightseeing, Southwest Airlines, V103, WGN-TV, WGCI, 101WKQX and 93XRT.
The 36th Annual Taste of Chicago is July 6–10 in Grant Park with hours 11 a.m.–9 p.m., Wednesday–Friday, and 10 a.m.–9 p.m., Saturday and Sunday. For more information on the FREE admission festival, call 312.744.3316 or visit tasteofchicago.us. To plan your trip to Chicago, visit choosechicago.com. Join the conversation on Facebook at Taste of Chicago and follow us on Twitter, @TasteofChi (#TasteofChi).