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June offers a bounty of music festivals in KC and Lawrence

George Clinton and Parliament-Funkadelic will be at the Free State Festival in Lawrence this month.
George Clinton and Parliament-Funkadelic will be at the Free State Festival in Lawrence this month. File photo

June is in full swing, and so is the local summer music festival season. Starting with this weekend’s PorchFest, there are at least nine more festivals in Kansas City and Lawrence this month. Here’s a look at those festivals. May the weather cooperate.

PorchFest KC

Noon till 5 p.m. Saturday in the West Plaza neighborhood from Westport Road south to 47th Street and from Terrace Street west to Genessee Street. Free.

Last year’s inaugural PorchFest KC featured 70 bands performing on porches of nearly three dozen homes. It drew nearly 4,000 people, who strolled through the neighborhood, sampling the music and dining from food trucks.

This year’s festival will be bigger and longer. Organizers have expanded the festival area and added an hour. More than 100 bands will perform at nearly three dozen homes. The styles of music range from folk, rock, country and jazz to tango and Celtic music. Admission is free but tipping the performers, who are not paid, is strongly encouraged. Parking is not abundant, so expect to park a good distance from the area and walk.

Missouri Chainsaw Grassacre

1 p.m. Saturday at Crossroads KC, 417 E. 18th St. Tickets are $21.50 to $61.50.

Fiddles, banjos, mandolins, upright basses and guitars will abound at this all-day festival, which celebrates the many styles and flavors of roots and old-time country music. Eight bands will perform well into the evening: Split Lip Rayfield, Mountain Sprout, Horseshows and Hand Grenades, Strung Like a Horse, Cowgirls Train Set, Loaded Goat, the Souveneers and Cutty Rye.

The Busker Festival in City Market

9 a.m. till 1 p.m. Saturday. Free.

This festival at Fifth and Walnut streets showcases local street performers: musicians, magicians, dancers, jugglers, fire-twirlers, unicyclists, circus performers.

Center of the City

June 18-20 at Harling’s Upstairs, 3941 Main St. Admission: $7. Three-day pass: $15.

Now in its fourth year, this festival has moved from April to June and across Westport, from the Black and Gold Tavern /Vandals at 37th Street and Broadway to Harling’s at Westport Road and Main Street. Its purpose hasn’t changed, however: celebrate punk music.

Over three nights, nearly three dozen hardcore, punk, garage rock and ska bands will perform. Most are from Kansas City and Lawrence, but the lineup includes bands from Omaha, St. Louis, Joplin and Hutchinson.


June 19-21 in the West Bottoms. Tickets are $15 per day. A limited number of VIP tickets are available for Friday only for $65. The festival is free for children 12 and younger.

Last year’s inaugural Boulevardia was a rousing success. Attendance peaked on Saturday, when crowd estimates reached 15,000. The three-day festival celebrates beer, food and music in a great urban environment: amid the many buildings just north of the 12th Street viaduct.

Bands performed on a main stage and a local stage. Headliners included Capital Cities, and Catfish and the Bottlemen. This year, organizers have added another local stage, one dedicated to acoustic music.

Headliners include the Mowgli’s, Ms Mr, J. Roddy Walston and the Business, Mayer Hawthorne, and Big Head Todd and the Monsters. Local performers include the Republic Tigers, Making Movies, the Architects and the Barclay Martin Ensemble.

Free State Festival

June 22-28 throughout Lawrence. Visit for ticket options.

This second annual weeklong festival will include music from George Clinton and Parliament-Funkadelic, standup comedy from Tig Notaro, a film festival and several speaker and panel events. Speakers include author and screenwriter Dennis Lehane.

Lawrence Field Day Fest

June 25-27 at several venues in downtown Lawrence. A three-day pass is $20.

Four venues will participate in this festival, which celebrates the migration of college students back to their hometowns and the de-population of downtown Lawrence: the Bottleneck, the Jackpot Saloon, the Replay Lounge and the Eighth Street Taproom. The Bottleneck and Jackpot are all-ages venues; the two others are 21-and-older. More than four dozen Kansas City and Lawrence bands will perform over three days.

City Market Crawfish Fest

6 to 11 p.m. June 26 in the City Market, Fifth and Walnut streets. Admission $15.

The MGDs and the Bon Ton Soul Accordion Band will perform starting at 7 p.m.

Briarcliff Music Festival

10 a.m. to 5 p.m. June 27 in Briarcliff Village, 4151 N. Mulberry Drive. Free.

Victor & Penny and the Loose Change Orchestra, and the Elders will perform at this festival, which will be celebrating its 25th year. In addition to the festival’s food and drink booths, several restaurants will offer food and drink specials. A raffle will raise money for New House, a women’s shelter.

To reach Timothy Finn, call 816-234-4781 or send email to Follow the Back to Rockville blog on Twitter @kcstarrockville.

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