Official Opinions: Taste of Chicago Music Guide

If you live in Chicagoland, odds are you’ve been to the Taste of Chicago. Not only is it the city’s biggest festival, it’s also the largest food festival in the world. Warm weather, free admission, and a host of Chicago culinary favorites make the Taste a can’t-miss event.

Aside from the giant turkey legs and Rainbow Cones, the Taste also offers incredible live performances from some major musical acts. In past years, artists like Carlos Santana, Kenny Rogers, and Trey Songz have all graced the Grant Park stage.

In 2011, the run of great performers continues. Each day’s entertainment has a theme, with most shows happening at the Illinois Lottery Stage while the headliner plays the Petrillo Music Shell on South Columbus Drive. Let’s take a look at what remains for this year’s lineup.

Wednesday, June 29: Celtic Music Day: Enjoy two hour blocks of Celtic dance performances at noon and at 2:40 pm, and then enjoy a headliner double dose at 5 pm featuring Liz Carroll, John Doyle and John Williams, followed by renowned fiddler Natalie MacMaster.

Thursday, June 30: Variety Day: Get your calypso fix at noon with local quartet Steelin’ Jazz. After grabbing lunch at the festival, White Mystery hits the stage at 4 pm with some brother-sister garage rock. Grammy-winning headliner Natalie Cole will take the stage at the Petrillo Music Shell at 6 pm, and you don’t want to miss such an “Unforgettable” performance.

Friday, July 1: Country & Americana Music Day: At 1:20 pm, Whitey Morgan and the 78s bring honky tonk country to the Taste. The headliner duo of Court Yard Hounds – which boasts sisters Martie Maguire and Emily Robison of Dixie Chicks fame – and country music icon Loretta Lynn is sure to have Grant Park jumping.

Saturday, July 2: Variety Day: Chicago Yestet, a HUGE jazz collective, brings their unique blend of brass, spoken word, and activism to the Illinois Lottery Stage at noon. At 3 pm, headliners will be the recently reunited country rockers The Jayhawks, as well as Everest. Run over and check out retro soul group The Congregation at 4 pm; the band is a Metromix Chicago Rock ‘n’ Vote 2011 finalist!

Sunday, July 3: Alligator Records 40th Anniversary Party: Taste 2011 ends on a high note, as the city celebrates legendary blues label Alligator Records. With all the classic blues in the air, it’ll be tough to focus on the food. At noon, enjoy Lil’ Ed & The Blues Imperials and at 2:40 pm Smokin’ Joe Kubek and Bnois King will take the crowd into the evening.

As much as it’s a celebration of the world-class food that Chicago offers, the Taste is also one of the best (and cheapest) ways to enjoy diverse, quality Chicago music. And few things go better with good food than good music.

The Taste runs daily from June 24-July 3rd, with gates opening at 11 am. Admission is free and food/drink tickets are $8 for a strip of 12.


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Delivering a mind-blowing musical performance at an event is an art and planning it is a science. Stitely Entertainment has mastered both by planning and executing thousands of events.

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