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Things to do in Chicago for music fans

For fans of any genre, live music isn’t hard to come by in Chicago. Check out our highlights for concerts, festivals and live performances in and around the city.

Welcome to our highlights for concerts, festivals and live music in Chicago. From free shows at Millennium Park to large festivals like Ravinia and Lollapalooza, and intimate shows at small local venues, our guide has all the latest music entertainment. Bookmark this page and check back for updates on concerts and events.

Logan Center Bluesfest

Bobby Rush
Bobby Rush, Photo by Bill Steber
Bill Steber

WHAT: The Logan Center Bluesfest features intimate concerts, conversations and special events. Headliners include Shemekia Copeland, Ronnie Baker Brooks with guests Lurrie Bell, Steve Bell and Demetria Taylor (Oct. 15); Bobby Rush with Jontavious Willis (Oct. 16) and Avery R. Young with Melody Angel (Oct. 17. Other programs include book signings, interviews and panel discussions.

WHEN: From Oct. 15-17 at Logan Center for the Arts, University of Chicago, 915 E. 60th

TICKETS: for the headliners are $5, $10; all other events are free plus all performances and programs are streamed free.


Chicago Children’s Choir

Chicago Children’s Choir 2019 Red Jacket Optional concert 2, photo by Kype Flubacker
Photo by Kype Flubacker

WHAT: Chicago Children’s Choir begins its 65th season with the annual Red Jacket Optional fundraiser. The musical portion of the event will be livestreamed free and features performances by Grammy Award-winner Kurt Elling, singer-songwriter Natalie Bergman, Eurovision’s Vasil Garvanliev, opera singer Jonathan Green, plus choir ensembles and the premiere of “Still Here,” composed by the choir’s composer-in-residence W. Mitchell Owens III.

WHEN: Livestreams at 8:30 p.m. Oct. 16


Rachel Sage

Rachel Sage
Rachel Sage
Photo by Tom Moore

WHAT: Singer-songwriter Rachel Sage performs songs from her new project, “Poetica,” an adventurous fusion of poetry with jazz, classical and Americana elements. She’ll also offer selections from her extensive repertoire of 14 albums. She’ll be accompanied by violinist Kelly Halloran. Also on bill: The Long Farewells.

WHEN: At 8 p.m. Oct. 14

WHERE: Uncommon Ground Lakeview, 3800 N. Clark



Illinois Philharmonic Orchestra

Stilian Kirov conducts the Illinois Philharmonic Orchestra at Ozinga Chapel.
Stilian Kirov conducts the Illinois Philharmonic Orchestra at Ozinga Chapel.
Ned Rissky

WHAT: Illinois Philharmonic Orchestra begins its 44th season with a program featuring Florence Price’s “String Quartet in G Major,” Eric Ewazen’s “Down a River of Time” and dancers from the Joffrey Academy of Dance performing a piece by choreographer Yoshihisa Arai set to Aaron Copeland’s “Appalachian Spring.”

WHEN: At 5:30 p.m. Oct. 16

WHERE: Ozinga Chapel, Trinity Christian College, 6601 W. College, Palos Heights

TICKETS: Tickets: $27


‘Songs for Nobodies’

Bethany Thomas in “Songs for Nobodies.”  | Photo by Michael Brosilow
Bethany Thomas in “Songs for Nobodies.”
Photo by Michael Brosilow

WHAT: “Songs for Nobodies” is Joanna Murray-Smith’s one-woman tour-de-force that celebrates the iconic work of Judy Garland, Patsy Cline, Billie Holiday, Edith Piaf and Maria Callas. Bethany Thomas stars in the story of the unexpected encounters between these divas and the ordinary women whose lives they changed. Rob Lindley directs.

WHEN: From Sept. 23-Oct. 31

WHERE: Northlight Theatre at North Shore Center for the Performing Arts, 9501 Skokie Blvd., Skokie.

TICKETS: $30-$89

VISIT: For updated information regarding the theater’s Covid 19 vaccination and/or mask policies, visit

World Music Wednesday

Bomba con Buya
Bomba con Buya
Amy Young Photo

WHAT: The Old Town School of Folk Music’s weekly showcase of world music and dance, returns beginning Sept. 1 with Jazz a la Mexicana, a concert featuring traditional and folkloric Mexican music mixed with jazz. A celebration of Segundo Ruiz Belvis Cultural Center’s 50th anniversary follows on Sept. 8 with performances of Puerto Rican bomba music by Bomba con Buya and Mancha E’ Plátano. The current roster of concerts runs through Dec. 1.

WHERE: Old Town School of Folk Music, 4544 N. Lincoln

Admission is free, a $10 suggested donation is appreciated. For updated information regarding the venue’s COVID-19 vaccination and/or mask policies, visit

Chris Foreman
Chris Foreman
Courtesy Origin Records

Chris Foreman at the Green Mill

What: The Green Mill has reopened and that means the return of Chris Foreman, a Friday night fixture at the popular jazz club. Foreman, a jazz organist blind since birth, is a master on the Hammond B3 and regarded as Chicago’s best. His playing is a blend of blues-gospel and jazz honed in his professional experience, which has included work with Hank Crawford, Albert Collins, Bernard Purdie, The Deep Blue Organ Trio and The Mighty Blue Kings.

When: 5-7:30 p.m. Fridays

Where: The Green Mill, 4802 N. Broadway

Cost: No cover charge