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Taste of Chicago

Chaka Khan, Calexico, Mucca Pazza, and plenty of unsold Petrillo seats

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The city has downsized this year's Taste of Chicago, cutting its length in half and moving it off the Fourth of July holiday, but it's still bringing a diverse and impressive music schedule to Grant Park. The Petrillo Music Shell, at the northeast corner of Columbus and Jackson, hosts the big national names each evening at 5:30 PM (except Sun 7/15, when the show starts at 3:30), and for the first time the city is selling reserved seats close to the stage—they're $25 a pop, but thankfully it's still free to watch from the lawn. (Sales haven't exactly been brisk—as of July 5, almost two-thirds of the tickets for these concerts were still available.) The lineup goes like so: on Wed 7/11, Jennifer Hudson and Luke James; on Thu 7/12, Death Cab for Cutie and Calexico; on Fri 7/13, Michael Franti & Spearhead and Fitz & the Tantrums; on Sat 7/14, funk legend Chaka Khan and Raphael Saadiq; and on Sun 7/15, Dierks Bentley and Lindi Ortega. Plus on Saturday morning at 11:30 AM, Petrillo hosts a Radio Disney kids' concert with Roshon Fegan and Shealeigh; seats for that one are free. The Bud Light Stage (Balbo and Columbus) hosts themed lineups of mostly local musicians every day of the fest from noon till 8 PM. Thursday is "Wear Your Dancing Shoes" Day, with performers including Mucca Pazza (see Soundboard), Troy D, and Dozens. Friday is "Rock 'til You Drop" Day, with My My My, Fort Frances, and Milano, to name a few. Saturday is Tribute Day, with Robbie Fulks playing Lynyrd Skynyrd, the Waco Brothers doing some Johnny Cash, Grana Louise singing the songs of Koko Taylor, and more. Sunday is Variety Day (not all that different from Wednesday's "Anything Goes" Day), and acts include the Hillbenders, the 92s, and Furious Frank. The Summerdance stage (west of Columbus between Jackson and Congress) hosts a DJ spinning a different style of music every night from 7:30 to 9 PM; the Soul Summit DJs kick it off on Wed 7/11 and Lawrence Peters (playing country) wraps up the fest Sun 7/15. Admission is free, and obviously there will be tons of great food. For more info and full lineups, see Fairs & Festivals listings by day, call 312-744-3370, or visit explorechicago.org.

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