Summer Concert Series

Mark Hamilton | Flickr

Music has been a part of St. Louis Labor Day traditions from the bands at the union parade, to the Osuwa Taiko drummers at the Missouri Botanical Garden’s Japanese Festival to the Big Muddy Blues Festival. But, except for the parade (starting at 9 a.m., Olive Street to Tucker Boulevard, to Market Street to 15th Street), these aren’t free.

A couple of weekend festivals have no admission charge — but do have plenty of ways to spend money on food and drink.

Festival of Nations International Institute Tower Grove Park
File photo | Rachel Heidenry | 2008

Those who are looking for something out of the ordinary run of entertainment in St. Louis have hit the jackpot this weekend. It’s time for the International Institute’s Festival of Nations

Food, games, craft demonstrations and, of course, music can be found in Tower Grove Park from 10 a.m.-7 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Sunday.

The Festival of the Little Hills is taking place in St. Charles this weekend. For our family, that was the serendipitous festival.

Somehow, the day we would decide to go to St. Charles and check out Main Street would coincide with Little Hills. We never planned it. But here’s the alert so you can.

After Hours by Catharine Mage
Zepfanman.com | flickr

Grand Center is not only the home of St. Louis Public Radio (shameless plug) but a different approach to the free summer music concert format. As we noted in July, it is hosting music on three nights and only a small part of each night is outdoors.

Enough of Leonor K. Sullivan Boulevard is open to host a concert.
Donna Korando | St. Louis Public Radio

In looking around for new, free music events last week, I came across a series I hadn’t seen before: Walk to the Wharf. But before I pointed people to it, I wanted to check out the venue so I could make an honest recommendation.

Now, it’s not that I had never been to a concert on the Arch grounds (Waylon Jennings in 1991 counts, right?). But I had been told that the Arch grounds were torn up. What's more, Leonor K. Sullivan Boulevard was not open the last time I drove that way from Laclede’s Landing.

The St. Louis Perfectos play in Lafayette Park.
Jazz St. Louis website

The Jazz St. Louis series “Swingin’ for the Fences” is coming to an end with a presentation by Washington University Professor Gerald Early tonight and an old-time baseball game and concert Sunday.

Early’s talk, “Jazz & the Negro Leagues – A Story of Black Urbanization,” is a 6 p.m.  July 30 at Jazz at the Bistro, 3536 Washington Ave. The lecture is free, but tickets  are required (and we fear they may be as scarce as the Cubs in the World Series).

Veronique LaCapra | St. Louis Public Radio

Tap takeovers, National Mead Day, beer and cheese, beer and brats, beer and chocolate, dim sum and beer, yoga and beer, burgers and beer, art and beer, popcorn and beer, and beer artfully paired with only the finest varieties of Doritos: Surely in all of this there must be music.

Marquise Knox at the Reykjavik Blues Festival in 2011
Olikristinn | Wikipedia

Grand Center is where you’ll find a variety of bands, beer tents, street art, food and drink specials and more Friday night.

This Music @ the Intersection Festival is one night in July, one in August and one in September. And it does not fit the pattern of the events in the Big List below. It has several bands each night in several venues.

Let them eat art logo
Maplewood website

Given the French heritage of St. Louis, one might expect Bastille Day to be a bigger deal here. Yes, the Chatillon-DeMenil House will host festivities from noon-3:30 p.m. July 12, including singing of “La Marseillaise.”  And Soulard is hosting a “Gathering of the Mob” on July 10 and “Bastille en Vogue” During the former, the rabble — “in our worst peasant attire” — will start a Howard’s on 13th and Lynch at 5 p.m. and end up at Pontiac Park. The latter is a fashion show — “from a point of historical whimsy” — at Franco. Tickets are required for that.

The big event is in Maplewood.

Chris Young, Kool & the Gang, Melissa Etheridge
various sources

It’s Fourth of July weekend. And with Independence Day falling on a Saturday, a lot of people have Friday off. And that means parties can start Thursday evening. So what do you do?

Palumbo

How many of this summer’s park concerts have been rained out? We’re betting a lot. And to try to change the mojo a little, this installment is going to include an indoor option.

strawberries for sale at Mahabaleshwar
Tarun.real | Wikipedia

Last week we touted the Red Berries and Bluegrass Festival in Illinois, so naturally we want to check out the Strawberry Festival in Kimmswick this weekend. The website promises, “If it is made with strawberries you will find it at this festival.” We’re willing to bet, however, that as with last week, the music will be more bluegrass than red hot.

Photo Flood Photographer Jeni Kulka's September 20th Image in Tower Grove Park
Photo Flood Photographer Jeni Kulka

With the way the weather has been going on the weekend, just pick what you're interested in and head out. The rain seems to come for a bit but not necessarily wipe things out. Hope that statement isn't a jinx.

cello bridge
Turidoth | Wikipedia

Memorial Day weekend is one of those times that St. Louisans can expand their ethnic heritage. Check out the St. Louis County Greek Festival at Assumption Greek Orthodox Church, 1755 Des Peres Road in Town and Country. Of course it has music that you can listen to for free, as does the St. Louis African Festival at the World’s Fair Pavilion in Forest Park. Ditto the Mississippi River Irish Festival  in Frontier Park, St. Charles.

generic funnel cake photos
Ann Fisher | Flickr

While we want to make certain you know about the Big List of summer concerts that we have available, we also want to alert you to some of the other ways to get out and enjoy St. Louis – ways that have music.

New this year is the St. Louis Swap Meet at the old Lemp Brewery at the east end of Cherokee Street by the Chatillon DeMenil Mansion. Playing at 10:30 a.m. will be the alt country band Trophy Mules.

Javier Mendoza
File Photo | St. Louis Beacon

Here’s hoping the weather cooperates this weekend because lots of festivals are planned — as well as opera al fresco.

With the calendar turning to May, the outdoor concert season will be heading into full swing. While the big list, which is at the end of the article, is made up of free series, we’ll try to point out some other free musical events that St. Louisans may enjoy.

The Chesterfield amphitheater
www.chesterfieldamphitheater.com

As the weather turns warm, free outdoor concerts light up all over St. Louis.

This summer concert season has a few changes to its lineup. Clayton has added “May Musical Mondays” to its previous events; St. Peters has replaced its “Summer Concert Series” with a much larger “Lakeside Series” at a Lakeside Park.

The neighborhood free outdoor summer concert season is starting to wind down. If you know of a free series that isn't on this list, still let us know, as we can get concerts on the list for next year.

Coming up: The Bottoms Up Blues Gang at St. Peters on Friday, The Western Satellites at Eckert's on Saturday, The Uncensored Band at Ivory Perry Park on Sunday, The Foggy Memory Boys at Maplewood on Wednesday. But they aren't the only performers at these neighborhood concerts coming up in the next few days. So check out what's coming this week:

The neighborhood free outdoor summer concert season is now in full swing. If you know of a free series that isn't on this list, let us know.

Up this week: Griffin & the Gargoyles at Jungle Boogie, Miss Jubilee and the Humdingers at Lafayette Park and Hudson and the Hoo Doo Cats at Carondelet Park. But they aren't the only performers at these neighborhood concerts coming up in the next few days. So check out what's coming this week:

The neighborhood free outdoor summer concert season is now in full swing. If you know of a free series that isn't on this list, let us know.

You can read more about Pat Liston, Coco Soul and Billy Peek. But they aren't the only performers at these neighborhood concerts coming up in the next few days. So check out what's coming this week:

The neighborhood free outdoor summer concert season is now in full swing. If you know of a free series that isn't on this list, let us know.

You can read more about Brian Owens, the Funky Butt Brass Band and Bill Forness and One More Round, A Tribute To Johnny Cash. Or just check out what's coming this week:

Romondo Davis

Summer in the city. There’s nothing like it, and no shortage of things to see, do and experience in St. Louis. From parks to concerts and festivals, frozen custard to marionettes, farmers markets to museums, there’s an event (or 20) for everyone.

Author Amanda Doyle has written a second St. Louis guidebook. She said being an outsider affects her view of St. Louis.

“You can’t be born in a place and appreciate everything about it,” she said.

The neighborhood free outdoor summer concert season is now in full swing. If you know of a free series that isn't on this list, let us know.

You can read more about Javier Mendoza and Miss Jubilee and the Humdingers. Or just check out what's coming this week:

World's Largest Catsup Bottle
Provided by Catsup Bottle Restoration Group

What’s coming up this weekend? There’s the Celebrate Again art show and sale at the Regional Arts Commission (July 11), La Traviata at Union Avenue Opera (July 11-19), the 2nd Annual LaBute New Theater Festival (July 11-Aug.

Miss Jubilee is proving that she is a favorite of the neighborhood concert scene. Over the next seven days, she will be at Bluebird Park in Ellisville, Eckert's in Belleville and Music on Main in St. Charles.

The neighborhood free outdoor summer concert season is now in full swing. If you know of a free series that isn't on this list, let us know.

The neighborhood free outdoor summer concert season is now in full swing. If you know of a free series that isn't on this list, let us know.

John Logan, Hudson Harkins and Mike Graham make up Hudson and the Hoo Doo Cats.
Provided by the band

HUDSON HARKINS of Hudson & the Hoodoo Cats

HOME: Born and raised in Austin, Texas. Lived there 39 years until moving to STL in November 1995. We also spend about six weeks a year based out of St. Thomas in the US Virgin Islands.

AGE: The band is 20 years old this year. John Logan has been with me for 16 years and Mike Graham for 11 years.