LIBERTYVILLE – Attention music lovers, dance lovers and outdoors lovers: Get ready for award-winning performers playing under the stars at the Concerts in the Plaza music series.
Eight concerts will take place at Independence Grove Forest Preserve in Libertyville at 7:30 p.m. Tuesdays through Aug. 16. The concerts are at the preserve’s outdoor Millennia Plaza overlooking a 115-acre lake.
A bonus concert in neighboring North Chicago is scheduled for June 24 at the outdoor amphitheater at Greenbelt Cultural Center.
From Beatles tributes to the blues, from rock and bluegrass to swing and jazz, there’s something for just about any music taste in this season’s entertainment schedule. This year’s concerts are supported by North Shore Gas (platinum sponsor), Libertyville Bank and Trust (bronze sponsor) and the Lake County Journal (media sponsor).
• June 28 is Trop rock. Calling itself the ultimate party band, Johnny Russler & the Beach Bum Band celebrate the beach, warm summer sun and island fun. Playing plenty of Jimmy Buffett favorites, they also jam out to hits by Bob Marley, Jimmy Cliff, Paul Simon, Dick Dale, Jerry Jeff Walker and many others.
• July 5 is a Beatles tribute. Kaleidoscope Eyes pays homage to the band that’s the official soundtrack of generations of families. Come see and hear why audiences across the Chicago area are raving about this captivating, crowd-engaging band. There’s a reason why they’re one of Chicago’s best and most fun lovin’ acoustic Beatles tribute bands.
• July 12 is folk and pop rock. The Pete Kilpatrick Band has shared the stage with the Dave Matthews Band, Barenaked Ladies, Grace Potter and the Nocturnals, Rusted Root, Blues Traveler and more. Maine folk-pop singer, songwriter and band leader Pete Kilpatrick has released nine albums, including “Echo.” He has been named Maine’s best act four times in the Portland Best Music Awards.
• July 19 is blues and R&B. Laura Rain & the Caesars blend their favorite elements of vintage soul, funky ’60s organ boogaloo, lowdown blues, dance music and old school R&B. Rain and producer-songwriter George Friend have created a unique style, winning a prestigious Detroit Music Award for Outstanding Blues Songwriters and heavily touring the U.S., Canada and Europe.
• July 26 is the blues. Led by Chicago Hall of Fame harmonica master and songwriter Pierre Lacocque, Mississippi Heat is a world-class Chicago Blues Band. Their motto is traditional blues with a unique sound. They present fresh, yet vintage-based musical ideas.
• Aug. 2 is rock ’n’ roll. Dedicated exclusively to garage rock hits from the 1960s, The Wayouts deliver an authentic revival of rock ’n’ roll’s first generation with hits from The Kinks, The Animals, The Troggs, The Monkees, The Rascals and more. Veterans of the Chicago music scene, they have diverse musical resumes.
• Aug. 9 is reggae. Formed in 1992, Gizzae has become a fan favorite in the Chicago and Midwest reggae scene. The group’s brand of jam-reggae is always backed with strong guitar solos and riffing, warm pads and ambient vibes from the dual keyboardists. If you like live jams and wicked solos, come dance the night away with Gizzae.
• Aug. 16 is roots rock. The Adam Ezra Group from Boston again will make a stop in Lake County. The acoustic roots/rock band has been compared to the Dave Matthews Band. They’re known for smart well-written lyrics and powerful musicianship and recently won Song of the Year at the New England music awards.
Concert at Greenbelt
For the second year, a concert is scheduled for a venue in North Chicago. The John Primer blues band will perform at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, June 23, in the outdoor amphitheater at the Greenbelt Cultural Center in North Chicago. The musician brings his signature electric slide guitar, soulful R&B vocals and the influence of blues legends he has played with, including Muddy Waters, Junior Wells, Willie Dixon and Magic Slim.
Bring chairs and blankets. Arrive at Greenbelt early as parking is limited. Cars are turned away when the parking lot is full. To help offset the cost to host this concert, there is a vehicle entrance fee of $10. There is no rain date.
The entrance to Greenbelt Cultural Center is on the east side of Green Bay Road (Route 131) between 10th and 14th streets, south of Route 120 (Belvidere Road) in North Chicago.
“The concerts have always been a popular attraction during the summer. We are thrilled to again provide the musical performance at Greenbelt this season,” said Angelo Kyle, president of the Lake County Forest Preserves.
Independence Grove entrance fee and concert details
Entrance is $10 a car after 5 p.m. on event nights. For your safety and as a courtesy to preserve neighbors, please park in preserve lots only. Cars will be turned away when parking lots are full.
For concert reminders, weather updates or to learn if a concert has been canceled, call 847-968-3499. There is no rescheduling if a concert is canceled.
Concerts are open to all ages and are at the preserve’s outdoor amphitheater overlooking a 115-acre lake. Bring a blanket or lawn chair for seating. Arrive early to secure your spot.
Pack a picnic or purchase a light dinner, snack or beverage from the preserve’s walk-up café or from the Beer Garden at Independence Grove.
To make your concert outing even more memorable, call 847-968-3499 to reserve a pontoon boat for groups of up to six.
Pets are not permitted with the exception of service animals. Dogs, horses and other pets are not permitted at Independence Grove.
The entrance to Independence Grove is on Buckley Road (Route 137) just east of Milwaukee Avenue (Route 21) and west of River Road in Libertyville.
If you are interested in learning about concert sponsorship opportunities, call the Preservation Foundation of the Lake County Forest Preserves at 847-968-3434.