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The Mix: Navy Pier’s 100th, and more fun this weekend in Chicago


Everybody’s got Pitchfork on their radar this weekend in Union Park. But there’s a whole lot more to enjoy around town in the next 72 hours. Country music fans and barbecue aficionados should definitely check out the Windy City Smoke Out while hard rock diehards should head to Bridgeview for Chicago Open Air. Need some more suggestions? Here are some sure to fill the bill:


Chicago’s Navy Pier celebrates its 100th birthday on July 15 with a slew of activities and special events. Free slices of Eli’s Cheesecake, games/activities for the kids kick off a daylong celebration at 10 a.m. Friday. Chicago Shakespeare Theater will be presenting a free performance of “Twelfth Night” (75 minutes) at 6:30 p.m. at the outdoor stage at the Pier’s East End Plaza. A special anniversary toast takes place at 9:25 p.m. followed by a fireworks extravaganza at 9:30 p.m. in honor of the milestone birthday. On July 16, take in the music of the legendary “Human Beatbox” Yuri Lane at 2 p.m. in the Miller Lite Beer Garden. “Navy Pier has meant so much to the city for so long. From those who danced in the now Aon Grand Ballroom during the pier’s golden age of the 1920s, to those who underwent military training here, to the students who pursued college degrees here at what was once a college campus, to those who now bring their families here today, Navy Pier has been an integral part of life in Chicago for 100 years,” said Marilynn Gardner, President and Chief Executive Officer of Navy Pier, Inc., the non-profit organization that operates Navy Pier,in a prepared statement. For complete details visit

Gregg Allman performs at the Ryman Auditorium on January 13, 2015 in Nashville, Tennessee. | Photo by Terry Wyatt/Getty Images
Gregg Allman performs at the Ryman Auditorium on January 13, 2015 in Nashville, Tennessee. | Photo by Terry Wyatt/Getty Images


Gregg Allman is the musicmaker behind this weekend’s Laid Back Festival, July 16 at the FirstMerit Bank Pavilion on Northerly Island. The music lineup, in addition to Allman (the fest is named after his 1973 solo debut album), includes Peter Frampton, Blackberry Smoke, and Jaimoe’s Jasssz Band, and a showcase of Alligator Records artists including Lil’ Ed & The Imperials, Eddy “The Chief” Clearwater, Roomful of Blues, and Rick Estrin & The Nightcats. Plenty of food and drink will also be on tap for the extravaganza. Tickets and complete details are available at


The stars have been coming to Chicago to help their favorite radio stations celebrate the summer, and this weekend it’s V103’s turn. Erykah Badu is the headliner for the station’s Summer Block Party, starting at 6 p.m. July 15 at FirstMerit Bank Pavilion at Northerly Island. Also on the bill: Jazmine Sullivan, SWV, Tank and Guordan Banks. For tickets, $29.50 to $129.50, go to

The Martin Luther Kings of Comedy | Provided photo
The Martin Luther Kings of Comedy | Provided photo


Seven young Chicago comedians work together as a collective called the Martin Luther Kings of Comedy, which presents a podcast as well as a monthly variety show at the Revival, 1160 E. 55th St. in Hyde Park, featuring actors, musicians, poets and dancers. The next installment of “Black Friday” begins at 8 p.m. July 15. For tickets, $10, go to

And check out these fab neighborhood festivals:

Ben Fest, July 15-17, St. Benedict Parish, 2215 W. Irving Park; visit

Celebrate Clark Street World Music Festival, July 16-17, Clark Street (between Lunt and Estes); visit