The Chicago Defender Official 2023 #SummerTimeChi


No other term captures the vibe, energy or essence of Chicago in the Summer like #SummerTimeChi, coined by native son Kanye West. Speaking of which, our #SummerTimeChi calendar is the source for all things fun happening in and around the city this season.

Below is a list of Summer events we are eagerly anticipating: 


Chicago Gospel Music Festival (June 3)

This free event — yes, I said FREE — features Gospel supernova Tye Tribbett and the inimitable Karen Clark Sheard, among others. The event takes place this Saturday at the Jay Pritzker Pavilion in Millennium Park. Good music for the soul for free? What more can you ask for, honestly? Go here for more information.  

Rhomania Sigma Explosion Fest & TORCH Awards hosted by Delta Sigma Chapter (June 3)

Anytime Bilal and RES are on the bill, you’ll get that good music, that real neo-soul we still cherish. They headline the Rhomania Sigma Explosion Fest & TORCH Awards. This Saturday event is brought to you by the Delta Sigma Alumnae Chapter of Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Inc. Head here for ticket info.

Hadiya’s Promise Presents: The 10th Annual Party4Peace (June 3)

We will always remember Hadiya Pendleton. That’s why we’re glad that Party4Peace continues to honor her memory. This event at Hadiya Pendelton Park will offer food, music, fun and bouncy houses for the little ones. As the name indicates, this is a party in the name of peace — a cause truly worthy of your support. Head here for more info on this free event.

Incognito with Special Guest Loose Ends Featuring Jane Eugene (June 3)

Let’s call this event the British soul invasion. Incognito and Loose Ends, two of the most revered music groups from across the pond, perform at the Hard Rock Casino in Northern Indiana this Saturday evening. Great music by these veteran performers makes for what should be an unforgettable experience. Tickets are available through Ticketmaster.

Sunday Service: In The Garden (June 4)

If DJ Duane Powell presides over the music, it promises to be a soulful and futuristic religious experience. Really. He will host “Sunday Service: In The Garden” outdoors at the charming Kenwood Gardens at 6929 S. Kenwood. Be prepared to dance, sing, shout, and fellowship with the community. Bring your percussive instruments, tambourines, dancing spirit and lawn chairs. Check this Facebook page for more info on this free event.

Rest.Rise.Move.Nourish.Heal. World Premiere (June 8-10)

Red Clay Dance Company closes its 14th season with some heat! This unique experience is described as “a site-responsive dance ritual created by Founder and Artistic Director Vershawn Sanders-Ward and Company in collaboration with composer/music director avery r. young, filmmaker Jovan Landry, and Kelley KFLEYE Moseley and Evelyn Danner.” For ticket info, head on over here 

Chicago Blues Festival (June 8-11)

The largest free Blues fest in the world is back! Blind Boys of Alabama with Bobby Rush, Los Lobos and Mud Morganfield are the headliners. Even if you aren’t into the Blues like that, this fest promises a great time. Hit this link for more info. 

Godfrey at the Chicago Improv Comedy Club (June 8-11)

It’s a homecoming for this comedian, who grew up in Chicago and went to Lane Tech. He’s been setting stages on fire around the world for years with his keen, cutting and insightful brand of comedy. A must follow on Instagram, by the way. Head here for tickets.

Chaka Khan Live at the MCA (June 10)

Speaking of homecomings, there will be none quite as huge and meaningful as this one. Chaka Khan — that’s Ms. Khan, to you —returns to the crib to perform at the Museum of Contemporary Art. If you have the bread, go. Where else can you see a bonafide music legend in the flesh? Tix are available at this link.  

16th Annual Chicago Defender Men of Excellence (June 16)

Powerful, distinguished Black men from Chicago will be honored at the Tinley Park Convention Center, including Chicago Mayor Brandon Johnson. This annual event proves that brothers are making serious moves out here. Put on your good clothes for this one. Tickets are available here

Meshell Ndegeocello at Thalia Hall (June 16)

Few artists have the discography, artistic integrity and virtuosity that Ndegeocello possesses. And even fewer have been able to evolve and still remain dope. Her shows are something else too. Find out more by heading to this link

Hyde Park Summer Fest (June 17-18) 

Formerly known as the Hyde Park Brew Fest, this multicultural, multi-generational festival of food, music, culture and vibes returns to the Midway Plaisance. This event blew up, as evidenced by this year’s performers — Clipse, 2 Chainz, Lil Kim, Robert Glasper and Tobe Nwigwe. Tickets are available at the Summer Fest site

Chicago Pride Fest (June 17-18) 

This landmark festival in Northalsted is all about music, fun, freedom and above all, pride. It’s just a $15 suggested donation to experience it all. Click here to learn more. 

Juneteenth Celebration at the Village of Richton Park (June 17)

This celebration rings in the Juneteenth Holiday Weekend with live music, food trucks, vendors, kids activities and a beer garden. This Facebook page has all the info you need. 

Juneteenth Village Fest (June 18)

Food, fun, family, tradition and dope music all day long. That’s what this Douglass Park event promises. Internationally-renowned Black music artists will perform like Angie Stone, Talib Kweli, Marsha Ambrosius, BJ The Chicago Kid, Kindred the Family Soul and more. This is a party with a purpose for real. Get your tickets here

Juneteenth Community BBQ (June 19)

The DuSable Black History Museum and Education Center hosts this Juneteenth celebration that features BBQ, family fun and tradition. To get in the know, click the event page here.  

Chicago House Music Festival (June 23-24)

It’s house music all day and all night long in the city that birthed it. Here are the DJs that are expected to spin — DJ Roy Davis Jr., DJ Psycho-B, NoshaLuv, DJ Emmaculate, and DJ V. Click here for more info.   

Pride in the Park Chicago 2023 (June 23-24)

This two-day festival returns to Grant Park with more music and revelry. Saweetie and DJ Lady D are the headliners for Saturday. Head to this site for ticket info.  

Rhythm and Beats Chicago RnB+AfroBeats Block Party (June 24)

Dance your soul out at this glorious block party that features music from around the globe. This event takes place at City Hall (restaurant) by Fulton Market. Info on this event can be found here.

The Chicago Pride Parade (June 25)

The 52nd annual pride parade returns on the final Sunday of the month, and it might be the biggest one yet. Last year, the Pride Parade came back strong, attracting over one million revelers. Expect this year to be no different. For more information, visit this site.  

Syleena Johnson at City Winery (June 29-30)

The Grammy-nominated, powerhouse vocalist returns home to perform at City Winery Chicago. One thing you’re gonna get from Johnson is a true shot of soul, straight from the gut. That voice of hers just does something to us, too. For more information, visit the City Winery Chicago site.  

Anita Baker at the United Center (June 30)

A landmark Summer concert featuring one of the most distinctive voices in R&B. Anita Baker is truly in a class all by herself, and you can witness living greatness at the UC. Tickets are available here.  



Terisa Griffin at City Winery (July 1)

There’s a reason they refer to Griffin as “The Empress of Soul.” She is a renaissance woman who has a track record for putting on memorable performances. Head to City Winery Chicago for more info. 

NASCAR Chicago Street Race (July 1-2)

NASCAR takes over Chicago to host a racing event on a 2.140 mile street circuit. This race has the whole city buzzing, and it hasn’t even started yet. Interested parties should visit the race site for ticket info. 

30th Anniversary African/Caribbean International Festival of Life (IFOL) (July 1-4)

The very best reggae and soul music will be featured at this long-running, family-friendly event taking place in Washington Park. Featured performers include Heatwave, Capleton and Roody Roodboy! Bring your appetite as well because vendors are going to be serving up Grade A jerk, seafood and vegan dishes. We can’t think of a better family outing event than this one. Get your tickets here!

Chosen Few Picnic & Festival 2023 (July 8)

This destination event at Jackson Park has always had a family reunion feel. The vibes are blissful. Plus, there’s a good chance you’ll run into someone you haven’t seen in a long time. The lineup for this year’s celebration is fire as usual — Wayne Williams, Jesse Saunders, Tony Hatchett, Alan King, Terry Hunter, Andre Hatchett, Mike Dunn and more. Tickets are going fast. 

Millennium Park Summer Film Series — Black Panther: Wakanda Forever (July 25)

The sequel to Black Panther gets the outdoor treatment at Millennium Park on a 40-foot screen. This is the perfect event for the little ones. Visit this site for more info.

Deon Cole at Hard Rock Casino Northern Indiana (June 29)

This is basically a homecoming for one of the most accomplished comedians around. Cole is truly Chicago’s own and few of the new guys have reached his level of stardom. Plus, dude is hilarious. Head here for more info on this event.  

18th Annual Silver Room Sound System Block Party 2023 (July 29-30)

This multigenerational block party has always been a Chicago summer staple. Expect more of the same for this year’s edition, which takes place at Oakwood Beach — beautiful people, fantastic live music, great food and really swell energy. Get your tix here.  

Bantu Fest 2023 (July 29-31)

Another summertime destination for Black Chicagoans. This event brings together people from 30 countries to the Midway Plaisance for a celebration of love, unity, music and fun. You have to get in on this one. Head over to the official Bantu Fest site to do so.  



Lollapalooza 2023 (August 3-6)

One of the world’s largest music festivals is back in Chicago, proving there is no such thing as too much music. With 170 bands from around the world performing on nine stages, the amount of music that will be at Grant Park is absolutely mind boggling. Here are the featured Lolla artists who really have our attention: Kendrick Lamar, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Pusha T, Tems, Lil Yachty, Billie Eilish and J.I.D. Get your tickets here.

My House Music Festival 2023 (August 12-13)

Let this serve as your official save the date for this bubbling house music festival. More details about My House will be made known in the coming weeks. Check this Facebook page for more details.

Chicago Caribbean Carnival (August 19)

My peoples from the West Indies continually represent at this lovely, celebratory event that occurs every year at the Midway Plaisance. Be prepared to be enthralled by the music, dancing and pure joy that the Caribbean Carnival brings. For more info, go here.

Musiq Soulchild live at City Winery Chicago (August 28-September 1)

If there are two things that Musiq Soulchild has it’s hits and bops. An entire bag of them. Thankfully, Chicagoans can get their fill when he performs eight shows over four nights at City Winery. Click this link to get your tickets.


All Summer Long

Jazzin’ at the Shedd

Live jazz is the ultimate elixir for the mid-week blues. That’s what this Shedd Aquarium event brings you every Wednesday throughout the summer. Jazzin’ lasts from June 7 – August 30, from 5 – 10pm. Go here to get your ticket fix. 

Millennium Park Summer Film Series

Not many experiences can top watching a great movie outdoors with loved ones as the Lake Michigan summer breezes caress the skin. Those are the vibes of the Millennium Park Summer Film Series.  Here’s what’s even better — it’s free! Fan favorites that will get the outdoor treatment at the Jay Pritzker Pavillion include Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, Summer of Soul, Top Gun: Maverick, and Barbershop, among others. The Summer Film Series runs every Tuesday at 6:30 p.m. from July 11-August 29. More info can be found here.

Millennium Park Summer Music Series

Critically-acclaimed musicians from every corner of earth are featured during the Millennium Park Summer Music Series, which occurs Mondays and Thursdays from June 22 – August 21 at the Jay Pritzker Pavilion. This year’s lineup features notable acts like Stephen Marley, Big Freedia, Shemekia Copeland and PJ Morton. Get the 4-1-1 at this link

Ravinia Festival

This summer outdoor music series in Highland Park is an institution. Every year, Ravinia offers something for everyone. Notable acts playing this summer include Santana, The Isley Brothers, Boyz II Men, Lauryn Hill, Buddy Guy, George Benson, John Legend and Ne-Yo. Visit the Ravinia site for more info.   

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