The Venue outdoor concerts to open with blues, Beatles and rock

The Venue, a 200-seat music performance space in downtown Aurora, will celebrate its second anniversary and grand re-opening with a full weekend of outdoor concerts.

The summer fun kicks off Friday, June 4, with Mr. Blotto, followed by Lil’ Ed & The Blues Imperials on Saturday, June 5. The weekend will wrap up with a Double Album Covers Tribute to The Beatles’ “Rubber Soul” and “Abbey Road” on Sunday, June 6.

After more than a year of forced closure, and unexpected challenges and changes due to the pandemic, The Venue is more than ready to re-open its doors for outdoor live music performances in the adjacent Mundy Park, a news release stated.

The summer schedule has outdoor performances booked every Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday through the end of September. Patrons can look forward to new artists, new series and new festivals, as well as fan favorites.

“June will feature quite a bit of blues,” notes Executive Director Melissa Mercado. “The reason for this is two-fold. First, June has traditionally been blues month in downtown Aurora, and with the cancellation of this year’s Blues on the Fox Festival at RiverEdge Park, we wanted to fill that gap for blues fans. Second, is that we owe a debt of gratitude to the numerous Chicago blues artists who helped The Venue to help musicians during the pandemic by agreeing to livestream from The Venue during our closure.”

Patrons can look forward to an elevated outdoor experience in Mundy Park, which will include general admission terrace seating where chairs are provided, and general admission lawn seating where you bring your own bag chairs or blankets, a raised stage, additional sound and lights and an expanded bar menu that will include cocktails for purchase, as well as beer, seltzers and wine.

“From rock, blues and country to world music and jazz, there is bound to be a show that calls to you,” organizers said.

All shows will be rain or shine until such time as The Venue can safely return to full indoor capacity as outlined by the CDC. Information and schedules, as well as complete COVID protocols, can be found at themusicvenue.org.

The Venue talks about the artists:

Mr. Blotto, Chicago’s original jam band, kicks off the lineup. Known for their original rock and creative covers, Blotto has been weaving a spicy tapestry of Southern rock, country rock, hard rock and folk music since 1991. They are heroes of the Midwest and always bring a groove to make you move. Their last release, “Live At The Leaf,” was recorded over a weekend in New Orleans at the legendary Maple Leaf in 2018. Showtime is 8 p.m. All general admission tickets cost $20 in advance, $25 at the door.

Lil’ Ed & The Blues Imperials will dish up the first batch of blues on June 5. Internationally known, they bring 30 years of hard-touring experience to every show they perform. Lil’ Ed Williams, nephew of legendary slide guitarist J.B. Hutto, was born into the blues. Along with band members James “Pookie” Young, Mike Garrett and Kelly Littleton, he has made nine albums, played thousands of shows and traveled thousands of miles. The man and the band have an unmatched, unwavering energy. Showtime is 8 p.m. General admission terrace seats cost $20, general admission lawn seats, $15.

“Album Covers Presents: Rubber Soul & Abbey Road” will round out the opening weekend on June 6. “Our first AC show was ‘Abbey Road’,” stated show curator Scott Tipping. “We wanted to reprise it for our one-year anniversary, but it was impossible with the pandemic.” Tipping, with Justin O’Connell, Adam Gardner, Chad Watson and Scott Stevenson, will perform the album in its entirety, and are also adding The Beatles’ 1965 classic “Rubber Soul” to the festivities. Two sets of two classic albums containing hits like “Drive My Car”, “Here Comes The Sun,” “In My Life” and so many more. Should be fab! Showtime is 7 p.m. General admission terrace seats cost $20, general admission lawn seats, $15.

All ticket prices increase by $5 at the door.

Looking ahead

Rico christens this year’s first Thursday show in Mundy Park. On June 10, this multi-textured band will bring its sounds to The Venue. Rico infuses roots music from all over the globe and can be heard on their CDs, “Make Music” (2010) and “Casa De Tambores” (2004). Their world influences stem from a love for the music of Carlos Santana. Whether playing their own material, covers from artists such as Stevie Wonder, Bob Marley, or Santana, the band brings a heavy percussive Afro-Cuban feel to the music. This is Rico’s first time at The Venue. Showtime is 8 p.m. General admission terrace seats cost $20, general admission lawn seats, $15.

About The Venue and Fox Valley Music Foundation

The Venue is owned and operated by the nonprofit Fox Valley Music Foundation, comprised of music lovers, music educators, arts enthusiasts and people who have spent many hours, days and years in the business of music. You can contact the Foundation by visiting foxvalleymusicfoundation.com.