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Free outdoor concerts abound this summer

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Sounds of Summer

Graphic illustration by Dan Talsky,

With June’s arrival comes a wealth of opportunity to listen to live music in the great outdoors, for free.

From Downtown’s weekly Music on the Monument series to the Beachside Oasis’ many musical offerings, the Racine Concert Band’s Sunday nights of music at the Racine Zoo — plus two Thursday night concert series’ in Western Racine County — there aren’t many summer days that will pass without live music floating on the breeze.

In most cases, all you need to do is bring a chair or blanket, stake out a spot at the venue, and enjoy (those venues that provide seating are noted). Food and/or beverages are sold at some of the sites, and all welcome listeners to bring their own picnic fare.

Here are some of the basics to get you started on your outdoor summer music journey, brought to you free of charge by the sponsorship of many area businesses and organizations.

Music on the Monument

This weekly series offers a variety of local and regional performers, playing from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Fridays on Monument Square, June through August. Some seating provided. This year’s series will feature:

• June 7: Final Approach, everything from classic rock to The Scorpions and Sheryl Crow,

• June 14: Big Joe Kennedy, blues piano,

• June 21: Real Deal, jazz/R&B/funk/rock show band,

• June 28: Group Therapy, blending R&B/funk/reggae/guitar-heavy rock with the blues,

• July 5: Twang Dragons, original roots rock/Americana (plus covers),

• July 12: James Yorgan Sextet, jazz,

• July 19: Nino Castaneda, Latin jazz guitar

• July 26 : Lake Effect, smooth yet aggressive jazz grooves.

• Aug. 2: Mean Jake, blues/rock/rockabilly,

• Aug. 9: The Sentinels, covering everybody from the Beatles to the Talking Heads,

• Aug. 16: Juli Wood, Chicago-based jazz saxophonist,

• Aug. 23: Full Flavor, blues/rock,

• Aug. 30: Folkswagon, acoustic/Americana/folk rock,

Waterford River Rhythms

In its seventh year, this every-other-Thursday concert series offers a variety of music in the beautiful riverside setting of Waterford’s Village Hall Park (behind the public library). Shows run from 6:30 to 9 p.m. on the first and third Thursdays of the month.

And a different food vendor is on the grounds for each concert. This year’s line-up will feature seven shows, including a special, early-start double bill on July 4 with WRR favorite Dan Trudell, Roy Edwards’ Group Therapy, and a couple, surprise national guest artists.

Here’s the full schedule:

• June 6: Lunchmoney Bullies, rockin’ dance music,

• June 20: Torn Soul, soul/ska/reggae/R&B,

• July 4: Group Therapy (4 p.m.) R&B/funk/reggae/rock/blues,; Dan Trudell and the River Rhythms All Stars, jazz/funk/organ, (7 p.m.)

• July 18: Fibonacci Sequence, progressive rock,

• Aug. 1: Jackie Brown, original acoustic rock,

• Aug. 15: Anthony Gomes, blues guitar,

• Aug. 29: Kashmir, Chicago-based Led Zeppelin tribute band,

For more, including food vendors, directions and parking info, go to

Racine Concert Band

On July 7, the Racine Concert Band will open its 90th summer of free concerts at the Racine Zoo’s Kiwanis Amphitheater, 2131 N. Main St.

The nationally recognized band, under the direction of Mark Eichner, will present eight Sunday evening concerts through Aug. 25, featuring everything from traditional marches to theater music and classical selections.

Regional vocalists and band soloists will also be featured. July concerts begin at 7:30 and August concerts at 7 p.m. Don Rosen, program director of WRJN radio, will be the Master of Ceremonies.

The zoo opens for free admission to the amphitheater 30 minutes before each concert. For more, go to

B-Town Sounds

Burlington also offers a Thursday night concert series that complements Waterford’s River Rhythms.

B-Town Sounds is back for its second season, with shows held in Echo Park, 589 Milwaukee Ave., on the second and fourth Thursday, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m., June through September.

In case of inclement weather, concerts will be held inside the park’s Veterans Terrace (no food or chairs can be brought inside the terrace, but food and beverages will be sold inside that facility).

Schedule is as follows:

• June 13: Glenn Davis, traditional blues,

• June 27: Brew City Big Band, Big Band sound,

•  July 11: Cumberland River, new age bluegrass,

•  July 25: The Jimmys, blues/classic rock,

•  Aug. 8: Jeannie Holliday, old school soul, check her out on Facebook

• Aug. 22: Natty nation, reggae,

•  Sept. 12: Piper Road Spring Band, bluegrass,

For more, go to

Beachside Oasis

Racine’s Beachside Oasis brings live music to North Beach Wednesday through Sunday, with many of the area’s popular bands.

Saturday's and Sunday’s shows are in the afternoon, while evening entertainment is offered Wednesday through Friday. And listeners can enjoy the tunes against the backdrop of Lake Michigan.

Food and beverages are available for sale at the Oasis.

Upcoming performers and times — as well as weather updates for the beach — are posted on the Beachside Oasis Facebook page at


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