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Blake Shelton
Blake Shelton brings his "Taste of Country Tour" to Bloomington's U.S. Cellular Coliseum at 6 p.m. Aug. 5. (Courtesy photo)

The sound of music somehow sounds even better when it's drifting forth from a stage under Mother Nature's canopy.

Not that music doesn't sound sweet inside, too, when temperatures rise.

But, let's face it, Nature's canopy trumps the man-made kind most days of the week.

Happily, there are many days and many weeks ahead of us right now with just the kind of climate suited to al fresco concerts and entertainment.

They range from ISU's Concerts on the Quad series to the Bloomington Center for the Performing Arts' CEFCU Summer Stage shows.

For those who prefer more climate-controlled circumstances, venues like the Peoria Civic Center, the U.S. Cellular Coliseum and Bloomington's Castle Theatre are still coming through for us.

Though additions will doubtless be made in the weeks ahead, we can guarantee that the following schedule of area musical events is the most complete you'll find anywhere hereabouts.

For up-to-the-minute additions, consult GO!'s weekly Music Calendar.


• 3: America, the pop band still riding that Horse with No Name 35 years later, 8 p.m., Sangamon Auditorium, Springfield.

• 3: Big James and the Chicago Playboys, Windy City blues favorites, 7 p.m., Castle Theatre, Bloomington.

• 3-12: Peoria Bach Festival, with a full slate of performances, lectures, and more, Trinity Evangelical Lutheran Church, Peoria.

• 4: Blaggards and The Shanties, a night of rockin' Irish, 8 p.m., Castle Theatre.

• 5: 'Weird' Al Yankovic, still poking fun at the bands that feed him after all these years, 7 p.m., Prairie Capital Convention Center, Springfield.

• 5-12: 50th Annual International Carillon Festival, bringing carillon players from around the world to the Thomas Rees Carillon in Springfield's Washington Park.

• 10: Bruce Robison and Kelly Willis, the husband-wife country singers with successful solo careers join forces on stage, 8 p.m., Castle Theatre.

• 10: Zac Brown Band, the two-time Grammy-winning Southern rockers serve up both music and Southern cuisine, 7 p.m., Three Sisters Park, Chillicothe.

• 11: Gabriel Iglesias, comedian, 8 p.m., Peoria Civic Center, Peoria.

• 11: WGLT Summer Concert with Carolyn Wonderland, Hot Club of Cowtown and Hip Pocket, where roadhouse blues meet Texas swing meet B-N's own blues vets, 4:30-9:30 p.m., downtown Bloomington square.

• 15: Alejandro Escovedo, a back-by-popular-demand show for the esteemed Texas master, 8 p.m., Castle Theatre.

• 15: Exile and The JaneDear Girls, country veterans/country newbies, 8 p.m., Sangamon County Fair, New Berlin.

• 16: Eric Church and Colt Ford, country hit-maker and group, 8 p.m., Sangamon County Fair, New Berlin.

• 17: Montgomery Gentry and Still Kickn', country duo and band, 8 p.m., Sangamon County Fair, New Berlin.

• 17: Ronnie Baker Brooks, Lonnie's good blues son, 8 p.m., Castle Theatre.

• 18: Backyard Tire Fire and Matthew Curry & The Blues Fury, hometown favorites, 6:30 p.m., CEFCU Summer State at Bloomington Center for the Performing Arts.

• 18: Josh Turner and Steel Magnolias; country singer and group, 8 p.m., Sangamon County Fair, New Berlin.

• 18: Taxi War Dance Reunion, in which the Central Illinois rockers of yore reunite, 7 p.m., Castle Theatre.

• 24: Beatallica, the schizzy tribute band that fuse the Beatles with Metallica (why not?), 8:30 p.m., Castle Theatre.

• 24: Ernie Haase & Signature Sound, the gospel favorites return, 7:30 p.m., Bloomington Center for the Performing Arts.

• 25: Bishop Hill Midsommar Music Festival, 11 a.m.-dusk June 23, Bishop Hill State Historic Site's Colony Park.

• 27: An Evening of Chamber Music, ISU faculty musicians, 7 p.m., ISU Concerts on the Quad.

• 28: Toad the Wet Sprocket, the '90s rockers with the truly odd moniker are back, 8 p.m., Castle Theatre.

• 30-7/3: Cornerstone Festival, the annual Christian music and arts bash, replete with dozens of name acts on multiple stages, including Classic Petra, Phil Keaggy, P.O.D., Anberlin, Blindside, Servant, Gungor and many more, Cornerstone Farm, Bushnell.


• 1-3: Mississippi Valley Blues Festival, with Joe Louis Walker, Mississippi Heat, Smokin' Joe Kubek, B'Nois King, Mitch Woods & His Rocket 88s and around 25 more acts at the annual outdoor bash, LeClaire Park, Davenport, Iowa.

• 2: Charlie Daniels Band, the veteran Southern rockers fiddle on, 6 p.m., Riverfront Festival Park, Peoria.

• 2: Marty Stuart & His Fabulous Superlatives, old-school country, 7 p.m., Watseka Theater, Watseka.

• 4: Celebrate America, in which The Pantagraph and a big chunk of the Holiday Spectacular crew cook up a brand new musical variety extravaganza for Miller Park's July 4 celebration, starting at 7 p.m. (there's also a pre-Fourth performance on July 3, same time and place).

• 4: Dennis Stroughmatt & Creole Stomp, Cajun sounds for ID4, 7 p.m., ISU Concerts on the Quad.

• 9: Champaign Music Festival, outdoor fest with live bands and events, 6-11 p.m., downtown Champaign.

• 11: The Special Consensus, acoustic bluegrass group, 7 p.m., ISU Concerts on the Quad.

• 15: Bellamy Brothers, veteran country duo, 8 p.m., Watseka Theater, Watseka.

• 15-16: Ain't Nothin' But The Blues Festival, annual blues bash returns with a new name and location with a lineup that includes Bernard Allison, Janiva Magness, Big Time Sarah, Bryan Lee, Cee Cee James, Lionel Young Band, Matthew Curry & The Blues Fury, Steve "The Harp" Blues Band and New & Slightly Used and more; General Electric Employees Club, Bloomington.

• 16: JamBon and Sally Weisenburg, all-star rock-jazz band and area blues queen, CEFCU Summer Stage at Bloomington Center for the Performing Arts.

• 18: An Evening of Jazz, the Concert on the Quad series' annual ISU faculty jazz showcase, 7 p.m., ISU quad.

• 18: KISS, veteran rockers, 7:30 p.m., Prairie Capital Convention Center, Springfield.

• 20: Underoath, Times of Grace, Stray From the Path and LetLive, Christian metal bands, 7 p.m., Castle Theatre.

• 22-24: Central Illinois Metalfest, the annual head-bangers' ball featuring several dozen acts and "32 hours of brutal, (bleeping) metal," Canopy Club, Urbana.

• 25-26: Universal Rhythm Assembly, fifth edition of the music and social issues fest with a band lineup TBA; downtown Peoria Riverfront.

• 27: Clutch, the veteran Maryland rockers head west, or at least Midwest, 7 p.m., Canopy Club, Urbana.

• 30: Downtown Bloomington Pub Crawl, the annual music/brew odyssey, noon to 2 a.m.

• 25: Singing Under the Stars, the annual Concerts on the Quad series closer featuring ISU faculty pipes, 7 p.m., ISU quad.


• 5: Blake Shelton, Easton Corbin, Jerrod Niemann and The Dirt Drifters, country singers and groups, 6 p.m., U.S. Cellular Coliseum, Bloomington.

• 5: David Lee Murphey and David Nail, the country grandstand attractions for this year's McLean County Fair on Bloomington's Interstate Center grounds.

• 12: Jeff Dunham, ringleader of the Suitcase Posse, 8 p.m., Illinois State Fair Grandstand.

• 12-13: Dan Fogelberg Celebration Weekend, with activities, tours and concerts dedicated to the Peoria native and singer; various Peoria locations.

• 12-13: River City Soul Fest, African-American heritage and music fest, Riverfront Festival Park, Peoria.

• 13: 3 Doors Down, the "Kryptonite" crew rock on, 8 p.m., Illinois State Fair Grandstand.

• 15: Illinois Symphony Orchestra, the ISO's annual State Fair freebie, featuring the Chicago cast of the stage hit "Million Dollar Quartet," 8 p.m., Illinois State Fair Grandstand.

• 14: Jason Aldean, Chris Young and Thompson Square, a triple-threat country bill, 8 p.m., Illinois State Fair Grandstand.

• 16: Luke Bryan and Trailer Choir, country singer and group, 8 p.m., Illinois State Fair Grandstand.

• 17: Oak Ridge Boys and Larry Gatlin & The Gatlin Brothers, country veterans emeritus, 8 p.m., Illinois State Fair Grandstand.

• 18: Allstar Weekend, Disney Channel mainstays, 6:30 p.m., Illinois State Fair Grandstand.

• 19: .38 Special, Loverboy, April Wine and The Tubes, '70s-'80s rock redux, 5 p.m., Illinois State Fair Grandstand.

• 20: MC Hammer and Boyz II Men, '90s R&B and soul survivors, 8 p.m., Illinois State Fair Grandstand.

• 21: Lady Antebellum and Stealing Angels, the "Need You Now" trio brings the State Fair grandstand series to a close, 8 p.m.

• 23: B.B. King, 85 years young and headlining a late-summer show, 7:30 p.m., Virginia Theater, Champaign.

• 26: Anders Osborne, Swedish-born blues troubadour, 5:30 p.m., CEFCU Summer Stage at Bruegala, Bloomington Center for the Performing Arts.

• 26-27: Old Capitol Blues & BBQ, a mix of blues bands and baby back ribs cook-off, Fifth and Washington streets, downtown Springfield.

• 27: Amanda Shaw & The Cute Guys, New Orleans-spawned fiddler-singer, 5:30 p.m., CEFCU Summer Stage at Bruegala, Bloomington Center for the Performing Arts.

• 9/2-3: Budweiser Illinois Blues Festival, multi-stage fest with artists still TBA at press-time, downtown Peoria riverfront.

• 9/1: Illinois Symphony Orchestra Pops in the Park, free Labor Day concert with a new location, 7 p.m., CornBelters Stadium, Normal.


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