KC summer festivals include a new one: Boulevardia
Rockfest, May 31: The annual all-day, hard-rock music festival is held in Penn Valley Park, just south of downtown. Fifteen bands will perform, starting at noon. The lineup: Korn, Killswitch Engage, Five Finger Death Punch, Escape the Fate, Staind, Soil, Steel Panther, the Pretty Reckless, Black Label Society, Heaven’s Basement, Pop Evil, Eve to Adam, Adelita’s Way, Nothing More and Syn City Cowboys.
Tickets are $45 and available through Ticketmaster. Hotel packages are available, too. rockfestkc.com
Boulevardia, June 13-15: Kansas City’s Boulevard Brewing Co. is throwing this three-day street festival that will celebrate food, beer, music and the arts in the West Bottoms.
More than two dozen bands will perform. Headliners include Capital Cities, the Wild Feathers, the Freddy Jones Band and the BoDeans. Local bands on the bill include the Grisly Hand, Katy Guillen & the Girls, and Hearts of Darkness. The dance/aerial/music troupe Quixotic will also perform.
Admission is $15 a day. Tickets provide access to two music stages, food trucks, artisans and a carnival. boulevardia.com
KC music venues
Sprint Center: The city’s downtown arena sits across the street from the Power & Light District, a collection of restaurants and bars. It is also within walking distance of the Crossroads Arts District, which includes bars, restaurants and art galleries.
Sprint seats from 15,000 to 18,000 fans and is hosting several blockbuster concerts this summer. Among them: Cher with Cyndi Lauper, May 31; Night of the Proms featuring Michael McDonald, Kenny Loggins, Chic with Nile Rodgers and the Pointer Sisters, June 21; Paul McCartney, July 16; Motley Crue with Alice Cooper, Aug. 3; Miley Cyrus, Aug. 12; Rod Stewart with Santana, Aug. 14; Katy Perry, Aug. 19. sprintcenter.com
Starlight Theatre: The city’s best outdoor venue, with a capacity of nearly 8,000, is in Swope Park next to the Kansas City Zoo. It has put together a summer music bill that includes a mix of classic rock, contemporary rock and a hall-of-fame act or two.
Among the marquee shows: Styx with Foreigner, June 8; James Taylor, June 23; Ray LaMontagne, June 24; Widespread Panic, June 25; Willie Nelson with Alison Krauss, July 6; Journey with Steve Miller, July 14; Steely Dan, July 19; ZZ Top with Jeff Beck; Alabama, Aug. 30. kcstarlight.com
Crossroads KC: This outdoor venue, with a capacity of nearly 3,000, sits within walking distance of the Crossroads and Power & Light districts. So there are plenty of bar and restaurant options, including Grinders Pizza and Grinders West, which abut the music venue to the north. It includes bleacher seating, a VIP section and picnic tables on a patio. At most shows, fans are welcome to bring lawn chairs and sit in the mulch that covers the ground.
This year’s summer lineup comprises nearly three dozen shows (with more to come). Among them: Vampire Weekend with Cults, June 2; the John Butler Trio with Frank Turner, June 7; O.A.R., June 13; Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue with the Old 97s, June 17; Yonder Mountain String Band with Railroad Earth, June 27; Robert Randolph & the Family Band, June 28; Conor Oberst with Dawes, July 2; Michael Franti & Spearhead with Brett Dennen, July 8; Gavin DeGraw with Matt Nathanson, July 9; Gary Clark Jr., July 22; Jurassic 5 with Dilated Peoples, July 23; Pat Metheny Unity Group with Bruce Hornsby, July 26; and Ziggy Marley, Aug. 13. crossroadskc.com
| Timothy Finn, The Kansas City Star
In St. Louis, a memorable concert lineup and a booming festival schedule
St. Louis’ 2014 summer concert season is shaping up as one of its most memorable in years, with a diverse lineup of sounds on the way including One Direction, Cher, Kings of Leon, Kendrick Lamar, Katy Perry, Rod Stewart with Santana, Skrillex, Luke Bryan, One Republic, Lauryn Hill, Tori Amos and Wiz Khalifa for starters.
And, of course, we can’t forget a rescheduled Miley Cyrus.
But the festival circuit is booming as well. In addition to festivals being a place where a big name such as Bonnie Raitt can be seen for free, they also serve as the perfect time to take a chance on St. Louis-bred entertainment.
Here’s an overview of festival offerings:
Twilight Tuesday, May 20 and 27, Missouri History Museum, free, mohistory.org
Bluesweek, May 24-25, Chesterfield Amphitheater, bluesweek.com
Whitaker Music Festival, Wednesdays June 4 to Aug. 5, Missouri Botanical Garden’s Cohen Amphitheater, free, missouribotanicalgarden.org
Twangfest, June 4-7, various venues, twangfest.com (lineup to be announced)
Fair St. Louis, July 3-5, Forest Park’s Art Hill, free concerts by the Band Perry, the Fray, Bonnie Raitt and Gavin DeGraw, fairsaintlouis.org
Big Muddy Blues Festival, Aug. 30-31, Laclede’s Landing, bigmuddybluesfestival.com (lineup to be announced)
LouFest, Sept. 6-7, Forest Park, loufest.com (lineup includes Outkast, Arctic Monkeys, Grouplove and more)
And don’t forget classical music. The acclaimed St. Louis Symphony Orchestra’s regular subscription season is over, but the music continues until the end of June. It’s mostly about pops, but there’s some classical, too. Free to $85; stlsymphony.org
Opera Theatre of St. Louis has it all: great music, great singing (usually from young singers on their way up), great acting, the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra in the pit and pre-opera picnics. This season’s shows include Mozart’s “The Magic Flute,” directed by Isaac Mizrahi. Tickets are $25 to $129; opera-stl.org.
| Kevin C. Johnson and Sarah Bryan Miller, St. Louis Post-Dispatch