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Need plans? Check out these free & cheap outdoor summer concerts across Kansas City

It’s the season for outdoor concerts, and Kansas City has all genres on deck. If you’re not looking to pay big bucks for a headliner at Starlight, there’s still plenty to check out.

All around the city are free concerts and performances that anyone can sit back and enjoy. Bring a lawn chair, set up a picnic and enjoy the show.

JAMMIN’ ON THE GREEN

Shawnee Town Museum hosts free concerts on the last Wednesday of each month, and they even provide snacks and water bottles. You’re encouraged to bring your own chairs, since picnic tables and benches are limited.

A variety of performances are scheduled for this season, including:

  • June 28: Betse & Clarke String Band, 7 to 8:30 p.m.

  • July 26: Grand Marquis, 7 to 8:30 p.m.

  • Aug. 23: AnnaLee and the Lucky So & Sos, 7 to 8:30 p.m.

  • Sept. 20: Hot Club KC: 6:30 to 8 p.m.

KANSAS CITY SYMPHONY

The Symphony hosts the free Future Stages Festival on June 11 from noon to 5 p.m. at the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts. The community festival showcases hundreds of Kansas City-based youth performers.

Performances are happening inside Helzberg Hall, Muriel Kauffman Theatre, the outdoor stage and on the symphony’s Mobile Music Box. Find out which local bands and schools are performing here.

The Kansas City Symphony also brought back its “Mobile Music Box” for the summer weather and free concerts are already underway. Check out our breakdown of what to expect and the scheduled dates below. More will be announced throughout the season.

  • June 4 at 7 p.m., AdventHealth South Overland Park, 7820 W. 165th St., Overland Park

  • June 6 at 6 p.m., Smith’s Fork Park Campground, 1601 DD Highway, Smithville

  • June 7 at 9:15 a.m., Liberty North High School, 1000 N.E. 104th St., Liberty

  • June 7 at 6 p.m., Meadowbrook Park, 9101 Nall Ave., Prairie Village

KANSAS CITY MUSEUM

The museum on 3218 Gladstone Boulevard is hosting summer concerts on the east lawn starting on June 9 and every second Friday of the summer months. Bring your picnics and lawn chairs and enjoy the shows. All shows run from 7 to 9 p.m. and the gates open at 6:30 p.m.

It’s $5 for each adult and kids ages 12 and under are free as long as an adult accompanies them. Dogs and cats are also welcome to join the party.

LEMONADE PARK

Check out this outdoor venue in the West Bottoms for a wide selection of artists, ranging from local acts to tribute bands. Prices range from $8.51 to $42.49 per ticket.

There are shows every Friday and Saturday, with special shows scattered throughout the weekdays from now until Sept. 24. Check out the full schedule of performers here.

You have to be age 18 and up to attend any of these shows.

Lemonade Park in the West Bottoms offers shows every Friday and Saturday.
Lemonade Park in the West Bottoms offers shows every Friday and Saturday.

LENEXA’S CONCERT SERIES

Enjoy free concerts in Sar-Ko Park’s grand pavilion in Lenexa. From 5 to 6:30 p.m., enjoy performances from artists of all genres, including:

  • June 4: JJ and the Old School Players

  • June 11: Hard @ Play

  • June 18: Stolen Winnebagos

  • Sept. 17: Back Alley Brass Band

  • Sept. 24: Vigil Annie

That’s not all that takes place in Lenexa, as the Lenexa Public Market hosts its Friday Night Sound Bites series. Take a look at the schedule below:

  • June 2: The Butch Carson Band

  • June 9: KC Groove Therapy

  • June 16: Suburbans

  • June 23: The HooDoo’s

  • June 30: Velvet Jackson

Each performance has a special dinner and dessert to accompany the show from local food trucks. Lenexa Public Market will announce more concerts as the season rolls on.

VELO GARAGE

The North Kansas City backyard concert series is on for the summer, and they’re still taking bookings for Kansas City and Lawrence performers. If you fit the bill, submit an application here and you could be performing at a show later this season.

Each show costs $5 and showtimes vary for each performance:

  • June 9: Major Matt Mason USA and Big Fat Cow Band at 7 p.m.

  • June 10: Dan Jones and The Squids and The Proceeders at 7 p.m.

  • July 8: Keelon Vann and Nichi Weibel at 8 p.m.

  • July 14: Killer City and The Fur and the Fang at 8 p.m.

  • July 28:Escape Goats and Mic the Mains at 8 p.m.

  • July 29: Golden Groves and Beau Jennings at 8 p.m.

Tickets to each concert cost $5 and you must be at least 21 years old to attend.

OLATHE LIVE!

The free concerts return to Stagecoach Park in Olathe for the summer. Shows start at 7 p.m., and you can bring blankets, lawn chairs, food and non-alcoholic beverages.

  • June 9: Surfin’ USA - A tribute to the Beach Boys with The Instamatics

  • June 16: Maria the Mexican with Unfit Wives

  • July 7: Liverpool, a Beatles tribute band, with Mikey Needleman & Touch-A-Truck

  • July 14: The Original Silver Bullet - A Tribute to Bob Seger with Goddesses of Rock

  • July 21: Almost KISS with Brody Buster

ZONA ROSA

Summer concerts in the park return to Zona Rosa. Every Friday and Saturday starting on June 10, see a free show by a local artist in Central Park, right next to Bravo Italian Cucina. Each performance is scheduled to go from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.

  • June 9: The Zeros

  • June 16: Big Time Grain Co

  • June 23: Right On Red

  • June 30: Run With It

  • July 7: Boogie Nights KC

  • July 14: Stolen Winnebagos

  • July 21: Howard Mahan & Friends

  • July 28: The Suburbans

  • August 4: KC Rukus

New this year are fall concerts in the park. Zona Rosa said these concerts start Sept. 8 and run every Friday until Oct. 13.

KNUCKLEHEADS

The saloon on 2715 Rochester Ave. have shows lined up at all four stages — the Courtyard Theater, Knuckleheads Garage, the Saloon Stage and the Gospel Lounge — all summer long. Local acts, cover bands and open jam sessions are scheduled for nearly every Wednesday through Sunday.

Check out the schedule and buy tickets to any show here.

SHAKESPEARE IS HERE

If that’s not enough, check out The Heart of America Shakespeare Festival, running from June 13 to July 2 at Southmoreland Park, right by the Nelson-Atkins Art Museum. While this event is free to attend, you can also get reserved seating for $25 on Sunday through Thursday performances or $35 for performances on Friday and Saturday shows.

You can visit the schedule, click on your preferred date and reserve your seats there.

KC WINE CO.

Head over to KC Wine Co. in Olathe for free performances from local acts in the vineyard. You have to be 21 and older to attend these events and they all run from 2 to 5 p.m on Saturdays all summer long.

$5 Fridays also run throughout the summer, with live music and $5 pints, glasses of wine and flatbread pizza. Check out the schedule of performances here.

THEATRE IN THE PARK

“Freaky Friday,” a play based on the Disney hit movie, is coming to the amphitheater inside Shawnee Mission Park from June 3 to 11. More plays are scheduled after, including “Meet Me in St. Louis,” “13,” “White Christmas,” and “Footloose,” from now until Aug. 5.

Tickets are $10 for adults, $6 for kids ages 4-10 and free for children ages three and under. Buy tickets here.

WARD PARKWAY PERFORMANCES

The Ward Parkway shopping center is hosting a free summer concert series. Starting after Memorial Day and running until Labor Day, enjoy free music from local artists every Friday and Saturday from 7 to 9 p.m. in the Restaurant Pavilion.

We will be adding to this list as more events are announced. If we’re missing one of your favorite places to visit or you think there’s something everyone can enjoy, let us know at kcq@kcstar.com.