Champaign-Urbana in the Summer: Free Outdoor Concerts Galore
What’s better than relaxing outside listening to live music on a nice summer evening? How about listening to FREE live music?
This summer there are dozens of opportunities in the Champaign-Urbana area and beyond to take in free outdoor concerts with your family. We’ve listed as many as we can find in this guide!
Thank you to our guide presenter, Krannert Center’s Outside at Research Park, which is one of our favorite outdoor concert events of the year. This summer, Krannert Center’s Outside at the Research Park will take place on Friday, July 19! This year’s concert features Chicago-born, Barcelona-based Alma Afrobeat Ensemble, an eclectically instrumented group with an “intensely danceable” mélange of global flavors influenced by funk, m’balax, and hip-hop. Champaign-Urbana world music favorite Zécca Bom will do the opening set.
Outside at Research Park plays upon a simple concept: great music, fresh food, and a green state of mind in an open, relaxed environment. The performance space and seating area are located just south of the Atkins Building at the corner of First Street and St. Mary’s Road in Champaign. The tree-lined, grassy space has hosted thousands of audience members each summer since the inception of Outside in 2007.
So pack up a picnic, load up the kids, and head out to Research Park for the summer event you won’t want to miss, thanks to Krannert Center for the Performing Arts.
For your outdoor listening pleasure, we’ve listed free and low-cost outdoor summer concerts below. Settings range from neighborhood parks to city streets to festivals. Click on the links to find the detailed schedule for each venue.
And if you know of a concert we didn’t include on this list, submit your event here.
Friday, August 23, 2019
Downtown Champaign, 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm
FRIDAY NIGHT LIVE | EVERY FRIDAY | MAY 31 - AUGUST 23 | 6-8PM | DOWNTOWN CHAMPAIGN FRIDAY NIGHT LIVE KICKS OFF May 31, 2019 Check the 40 North page for weekly lineups coming soon! Downtown Champaign is the backdrop for 40 North's Friday Night LIVE, a free street-side performance…read more…
Saturday, August 24, 2019
Sugar Creek Shelter, Middle Fork River Forest Preserve, 5:00 pm - 7:00 pm
Concert will be held at the Sugar Creek Shelter in Middle Fork River Forest Preserve (Penfield). Hot Iron String Band is back, performing original songs and classic favorites in their lively modern bluegrass style. Drawing inspiration from Bill Monroe’s driving tempo and Django Reindhart’s gypsy jazz, this band’s unique sound…read more…
Downtown Urbana, 5:00 pm - 8:00 pm
The Downtown Get Down features live concerts, DJs, an artist’s street market, kids zone, teen maker lab, inflatables, games, live arts demos, performances, and so much more!
Sunday, August 25, 2019
Hessel Park, 3:00 pm - 7:00 pm
Men and Women’s SAFE House 22nd Annual Gospel Jazz Benefit Concert Tasha Page-Lockhart is the National Recording artist who won Season 6 BET’s hit singing competition “Sunday Best” in 2013. Page is a 2x Stellar Award Winner taking home the coveted “Contemporary Female Vocalist of the year” Award earlier this year (2019). …read more…
Saturday, August 31, 2019
Alto Vineyard, 7:30 pm - 10:30 pm
A night under the stars with family and friends while listening to some of the great musicians we have in the Champaign Urbana area = priceless. $5.00 Admission fee. Alto has both wine and beer available for purchase. No outside alcohol can be brought onsite. Under 21 is allowed. They…read more…
Saturday, September 21, 2019
Downtown Monticello, 10:00 am - 11:00 pm
Enjoy food, live music, vendors, kids activities, and more! Last year featured a kiddie tractor pull, magicians, an exotic petting zoo, multiple bounce houses, an antique Hodge-hand car train ride for kids, face painting, ballon artist, LIVE music and so much more.