The Chicago Defender Official 2024 #SummerTimeChi Calendar

We made it. 

SummerTimeChi is here, and we’re like the guy from the movie “Shawshank Redemption” when he raises his arms in the pouring rain because he has finally broken out of prison.

We’re free.

Now that the gloomy Winter and chaotic Spring is finally behind us, we get to indulge in another memorable season of festivals, concerts, block parties, day parties, night parties, rooftop parties, beach parties, museum openings, movies in the park, conventions, barbecues, fireworks displays and more. 

So that you are in the know, we have curated a list of the Summer events for us — emphasis on “for us” — that we are eagerly anticipating: 

June

Chicago Gospel Music Festival – June 1

Kicking off Millennium Park’s 20th Anniversary Season, this annual showcase features the legendary The Clark Sisters. Chicago’s own Todd Dulaney and GRAMMY-nominated artists Chandler Moore and Anita Wilson also hit the stage. It’s music for the soul for free. What more can you ask for?   

Elements of Taste Food Truck Festival – June 1

This event at the Park Manor Christian Church Lot promises to satisfy your taste buds, offering a variety of flavorful foods, from savory to sweet.

WGCI & BMN Presents Chi City Fest – June 1 

Polo G, G Herbo, JT, 42 Dugg and Skilla Baby, the biggest names in Hip-hop today (ask your kids), headline this music fest at the United Center.  

Hyde Park Community Art Fair – June 1, 2

Vendors will be hawking their wares up and down 57th and adjacent streets for this long-running art fair, the unofficial kick-off to the summer season.

Chicago House Music Festival – June 2

It’s house music all day and all night long in the city that birthed it. Featured artists include  Wayne Williams and Alan King of the Chosen Few DJs, Farley Jackmaster Funk, and Tony Touch.

Isaiah Rashad: Cilvia Demo 10-Year Anniversary Tour – June 4, 5

This critically acclaimed rapper is doing two shows at the House of Blues, where he will perform his beloved 2014 debut. 

Chicago Blues Festival – June 6-9

The largest free Blues fest in the world is back! Living legends Buddy Guy and Shemekia Copeland highlight this venerable showcase. Mr. Sipp and Southern Avenue will join them. For Blues lovers and “casuals,” this fest always promises a great time. 

Tank – R&B MONEY TOUR – June 7

The singer, songwriter and producer may have recorded his last album, but the show will go on at the Chicago Theatre, where he will be joined by our homeboy Carl Thomas and Grammy-nominated singer Keri Hilson. 

Chris Brown – The 11:11 Tour – June 7, 8

Few R&B artists can match Brown’s longevity and success. Fewer can still headline a tour 20 years into their career. But Brown has and will this summer as he pulls up to the United Center for two nights.

AfroSocaLove: Chicago Block Party & Black Owned Market (Feat Maga Stories) – June 8

The concept alone sounds dope — shop Black businesses all day and party all night long. Honestly, that sounds amazing. 

Shedd House Party – June 8

DJs spinning house beats while you vibe and take in Lake Michigan and the city’s breathtaking skyline. Plus, they’ll be animals — real ones and the partying kind.

Summer at Chicago Public Library: Block Party and Live Music at the Library – June 8

Mayor Brandon Johnson hosts this first-ever CPL block party! This family-friendly event at the Harold Washington Library features food, giveaways, live performances and special guests. 

3rd Annual Still We Rise Juneteenth Celebration – June 9

This sold-out event at the Dan Ryan Woods is all about music, food and community. More importantly, it will celebrate freedom and unity, honoring the history and culture of Juneteenth. 

Hip-Hop Is History with Questlove – June 9

Questlove, the six-time Grammy Award-winning musician, musicologist, filmmaker, Roots drummer and Renaissance man, will share stories and anecdotes from his new book, “Hip-Hop Is History,” at Thalia Hall on Sunday afternoon.

Juneteenth Celebration – June 9 

This celebration at the Oak Lawn Pavilion promises to be a day filled with music, food and community. Organizers want you to have fun, network and rock your favorite HBCU gear. 

SUNDAY SERVICE w/ DJ Duane Powell – June 9

If DJ Duane Powell presides over the music, it promises to be a soulful and futuristic religious experience. Really. He will host “Sunday Service: In The Garden” outdoors at the charming Kenwood Gardens at 6929 S. Kenwood. Be prepared to dance, sing, shout, and fellowship with the community.

17th Annual Chicago Defender Men of Excellence – June 14

Powerful, distinguished Black men from Chicago will be honored at the Tinley Park Convention Center, including Chicago Mayor Brandon Johnson. This annual event proves that brothers are making serious moves out here. Put on your good clothes for this one. 

Bronzeville’s 2024 Juneteenth Celebration: Unity Rising – June 15

No neighborhood is more fitting than Bronzeville to host a Juneteenth event about “Freedom, Heritage, and Community Empowerment.” This free, family-friendly event will occur in the historic neighborhood at 3521 South King Drive.

3rd Annual Juneteenth Village Fest – June 15

Food, fun, family, tradition and dope music all day long. That’s what this Douglass Park event promises. Internationally-renowned artists Common, Dead Prez, Domani Harris and more will perform. A party with a purpose, for real. 

The Lyrical Lemonade Summer Smash Festival – June 14-16

The biggest Hip-hop festival of the Summer arrives at SeatGeek Stadium in suburban Bridgeview. The predominant headline is that Chief Keef is returning to the area to perform after being away for a decade. Other headliners include Travis Scott, Playboi Carti, and Lil Yachty, among many others. 

Ribfest Chicago – June 14-16

Vegans, avert your eyes. The smells of barbecue, whisky and summer will fill the air at this ever-popular 24-year-old festival in Northcenter. The forecast calls for ribs, spirits, music and merriment.  

2024 Thank You Chicago Juneteenth Market – June 19

The Juneteenth Market is a pop-up event at The Promontory in Hyde Park that showcases Black businesses in Chicago.

The DuSable Juneteenth Celebration – June 19

When it comes to Juneteenth, they “Du” it right at the DuSable. This year is no different. This Hyde Park institution will have music, food, kids’ activities, vendors and food trucks to welcome the holiday. 

Roy Wood Jr. Happy To Be Here – June 22

Expect a lot of belly laughs from this whip-smart comedian — famous for his appearances on “The Daily Show” — performing at the Athenaeum Center for Thought & Culture. 

Chicago Pride Fest – June 22, 23 

This two-day festival in Northalsted is about music, fun, freedom, and, above all, pride. A $15 suggested donation will get you to experience it all.  

Vegandale Chicago – June 22, 23

2 Chainz, Saweetie, Jadakiss, Fabolous and NLE Choppa headline this all-vegan destination event that brings together major artists, food, music and art at Grant Park. Everyone is invited regardless of food preference. 

House Music on the Lawn – June 29 

Heads unite. Downtown Park Forest is your destination for this free celebration of House music. 

The Chicago Pride Parade – June 30

One of the country’s oldest and largest Pride parades, along with the floats, marching bands, vehicles, local officials, and most of all, the revelry, is back for the 53rd time. 

July

31st African/Caribbean International Festival of Life (IFOL) – July 4-7

This long-running, family-friendly event in Washington Park will feature the very best reggae and soul music. The headliner is Agent Sasco, a Jamaican dancehall singer and deejay who famously collaborated with Kanye West and Kendrick Lamar. Bring your appetite, too, because vendors will be serving up Grade A jerk, seafood, and vegan dishes. We can’t think of a better family outing event than this one.

2024 Pride South Side Festival – July 6

This free celebration of Black and Brown people living their truth commences at the Dusable Museum. Come out and show your pride.

NASCAR Chicago Street Race – July 6, 7

For the second straight year, NASCAR takes over Chicago to host a racing event on a 2.140-mile street circuit. This race has the whole city buzzing—VROOM, VROOM.  

Loose Ends featuring Jane Eugene – July 12 

One of the most revered music groups from across the pond is back at the City Winery. Expect timeless grooves that will have you reminiscing on your salad days. 

Chosen Few Picnic & Festival 2024 – July 13

The world’s longest-running and largest House music festival has always had that family reunion feel. Let’s not forget the blissful vibes and nirvana-inducing sounds. Plus, there’s a good chance you’ll run into someone you haven’t seen in a long time. The lineup for this year’s celebration is fire per usual — the Chosen Few DJs, Timmy Regisford, Joe Claussell, Jihad Muhhamad and Sundance, with performances by Fast Eddie, Julie McKnight and the Jasper Street Co.

YG – The JUST RE’D UP Tour – July 20

This “Brazy” West Coast rapper bringing nothing but attitude and anthems performs at the House of Blues.   

Chicago Food Truck Festival – Season 11, “The Summer of the Daisy” – July 20, 21

The foodies’ Food Truck Festival is back. This time, it’s in collaboration with the Chicago Margarita Festival. Attendees will get to have their ritas paired with chef-prepared food truck eats. It’s not a bad way to spend a Summer afternoon. 

Pitchfork Music Festival 2024 – July 19-21

This fest is tailor-made for that friend who always puts you on to cool music you won’t necessarily hear on mainstream radio. This annual music showcase at Union Park features a who’s who of hipster old and new school Hip-hop, soul, pop and rock like Brittany Howard, Black Pumas, De La Soul, Jamie XX, Jessie Ware, Billy Woods & Kenny Segal and Grandmaster Flash.  

Roscoe Village Burger Fest – July 19-21

Chicago is the top food city in America. Please don’t argue with us about this. Nowhere is this more evident than at the 17-year-old Roscoe Village Burger Fest, which takes place all weekend. Bring your wallet and an empty stomach. 

Tacos y Tamales Festival 2024 – July 19-21

The best and most authentic tacos and tamales that Chicago has to offer? Sign us up! This Pilsen festival is a must for the foodie in your life. Plus, expect an array of arts, entertainment and sights!

Taste of Bronzeville Food Festival – June 27

This free, inaugural festival will take place at Mariano’s in Bronzeville. It will feature everything “from soulful classics to innovative twists,” inviting foodies to experience the essence of this beautiful neighborhood. Count us in. 

Bantu Fest 2024 – July 27, 28

A must-go festival for us. This event brings people from 30 countries to the Midway Plaisance to celebrate love, unity, music and fun. You have to get in on this one. 

August  

Lollapalooza – Aug. 1-4

With this iconic, four-day music fest, the lineup of musicians speaks for itself — SZA, Tyler the Creator, Future, Metro Boomin, Vince Staples, Victoria Monét and Sexxy Red. Nuff said. 

Black Women’s Expo – Aug. 2-4

This time-honored event, the largest and longest-running expo for Black women in the country, returns to McCormick Place Chicago. Expect spectacular performances, renowned guest speakers, plus a vibrant marketplace of vendors who are there to cater to you.

Bud Billiken Parade – Aug. 10 

Forget the Masters; it is the Bud Billiken Parade that is a tradition unlike any other. The largest African-American parade in the nation will return for the 95th time on King Drive in Bronzeville. The tradition, floats, marching bands, dancers, festival goers, dignitaries, and celebrities make this vibe unimpeachable. 

Chicago Air and Water Show – August 10, 11

You might want to bring your camera, binoculars or smartphone to capture this event, the largest FREE show of its kind in the U.S.

All Summer Long

Harper Court Summer Music Series

Sure, we’re still mourning the loss of The Silver Room Block Party and Hyde Park Summer Fest, but this increasingly popular summer music series, beloved for its vibe and people-watching, is back for four Thursday Evenings throughout the Summer: June 6, July 11, August 1, and September 5 from 6-9 p.m.

Jazzin’ at the Shedd

Live jazz is the ultimate elixir for the mid-week blues. That’s what this Shedd Aquarium event brings you every Wednesday throughout the summer. Before you ask, the June 19 HBCU/Divine Nine Jazzin’ event is already sold out. Luckily, Jazzin’ lasts throughout the summer, from June 5 to August 28. 

Pier 31 Restaurant

Beach family, they’re back. Pier 31 and the adjoining 31st Street Beach are where it all goes down – House, Hip-hop, Soul, Reggae, Afro Beats and people. It’s all there at the spot that packs it out all summer long. Visit their Instagram page for more info. 

Millennium Park Summer Music Series

Critically acclaimed musicians from every corner of the earth are featured during the free Millennium Park Summer Music Series, which occurs Mondays and Thursdays from July 1 to Aug. 8 at the Jay Pritzker Pavilion. This year’s lineup features notable acts like Corinne Bailey Rae, The GZA (of Wu-Tang), Seun Kuti and Protoje. 

Ravinia Festival

This summer outdoor music series in Highland Park is an institution. Every year, Ravinia offers something for everyone. Notable acts playing this summer include Mavis Staples and Nora Jones, The Roots, Robert Glasper, Big Boi, Meshell Ndegeocelloand and Angélique Kidjo, Samara Joy and TLC. Visit the Ravinia site for more info.      

South Loop Farmers Market

Fresh produce fans, bestill your “beeting” heart. Apologies for that bad pun, but the twice-weekly farmer’s market returns to Printer’s Row. 

Summer Under the Stars Concert Series at the Country Club Hills Amphitheater

For our money, few venues are as enchanting as the CCH Amphitheater, especially when good music is going on and the summer breezes caress the skin. The organizers have brought it again with the 2024 Under the Stars lineup. Featured acts include The Isley Brothers (June 15), Con Funk Shun and Heatwave (June 29), Will Downing and Maysa (July 6), Bebe Winans (July 13), Stephanie Mills (July 27), Tony! Toni! Toné! and D’Wayne Wiggins and Chante Moore (August 3),  Peter White, Vincent Ingala, Gerald Albright (August 17) and Anthony Hamilton (August 31). 

Sundays on State

They call this the most iconic block party Chicago has ever seen. We’re confident that Sundays on State, happening on June 16 and July 14, has a strong argument. The food, music, art, vendors and “people watching” make this block party a must.

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