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The Festival To-DosLetter


Just Hangin' Around
Just Hangin' Around



Chicagoans: Come Out & Play-yay! It's Festival Season!

June 13th Update: The SummerDance and African Diaspora International Film Festival schedules are released!

June 2nd Update:  The Jazzin' at the Shedd Schedule is released! Detour JazFunk opens on June 22nd!

What is a festival?  According to, it's a period or program of festive activities, cultural events or entertainment.  Well, at Soleil's To-Dos, we err on the side of reckless abandon when it comes to our festival schedule!  You'll find big fests, neighborhood fests, film fests, book fests, music fests, food fests and more!

57th Street Art Fair 57th Street Art Fair

Okay - it may not feel like it, with the weather fluctuating between 84 degrees and freezing, but festival season is here!  I started out the season this past weekend by trying out the Lakeview MayFest at 3100 N. Ashland.  They bill themselves as the "kickoff" to the festival season.  Not!  Why not?  Because it's a small, parking lot "asphalt fest" with hokey music and $10 admission.  (I couldn't even bring myself to pay it!)  In our book, the festival season still kicks off on the first weekend of June with the 57th Street Art Fair! This sprawling festival provides a nice variety of art, food and fun for the whole family (including dogs!) as you meander through a small neighborhood park and tree-lined streets.  And it's free!

Soleil's To-Dos will continue to bring you our pick of festivals and more, with a little commentary on what you can expect.  And here's a rundown on what you can expect this season!

Natalie Cole Natalie Cole - At The Taste

Taste of Chicago:  For a while it was uncertain as to whether there would actually be an admission charge for The Taste this year.  Well, there will be no admission charge, but the City has found other ways to cut costs.  This year, Viva! Chicago Latin Music Festival, the Chicago Country Music Festival, Celtic Fest Chicago and the Chicago Gospel Music Festival will be incorporated into The Taste, with each fest representing a themed day of music.  The music line-up suggests that some cost-cutting was done - the only names I recognize are Loretta Lynn and Natalie Cole.  It's a shame that four of our music fests have been cancelled, but at least they'll still have a chance to represent!

SummerDance:  Happy Fifteenth Anniversary, SummerDance!  Every year, that dance floor gets tighter and tighter, but this year, a dance floor expansion is underway!  That's right - the dance floor expands from 4,600 to 5,000 square feet.  Okay, that's a little roomier, but not as roomy as SummerDance In the Parks! As in the past couple of years, on select Wednesdays you'll be able to enjoy SummerDance at Humboldt Park Boathouse, Jackson Park/63rd St Beach and the Athletic Field Park.  If you want to spread out your blanket or chill in a lawn chair with some food and libations, SummerDance In the Parks is a nice, uncongested opportunity to get your picnic on!  SummerDance starts on July 7th, but schedule hasn't been released yet.  You can bet we'll have it posted as soon as we get it!

Outdoor Film Festival:  Cancelled, but . . .

Let's Do It Again Let's Do It Again

Movies In the Parks:  Isn't!  There are tons of movies being shown in parks all over the City!  We're especially excited about some documentaries such as Straight, No Chaser - Thelonious Monk; Listen Up: The Lives of Quincy Jones; and, The Hip-Hop Project.  Young and old will enjoy The Wiz; Let's Do It Again and ET.   We've made our picks based on neighborhoods (parks we love and parks we'd like to discover) and the movies themselves, but you can also explore the full schedule on the Chicago Park District website.  At MIP, you'll find plenty of room to spread out and barbeque.  Amble on in at your leisure and you'll still find room to enjoy the flick!  MIP is free(!) and a perfect night out for families, loving couples and . . . hmmm GROUP OUTINGS!!!  Yeah, I'll pick a movie and a date and I'll bring the mojitos (uh . . . I mean fresh lemonade with mint leaves, Officer)!!!  Stay tuned for details on this Soleil's Simply Social Outing . . .

Stephanie! African Festival of the Arts Photo by Lee Bey

On behalf of Soleil's To-Dos, in order to make things easier for you To-Do it - I get out To-Do it myself!  Please be sure to check out SunSpots for my blog posts that cover a number of summer To-Dos - with more to come this summer!  Stay with us as we continue to update the festival schedule and provide you with a comprehensive guide to your summer faves - all in one place!  Take advantage of our calendar features to set e-mail or text reminders, forward To-Dos to friends & visitors, receive e-mail or text notices of updates and so much more!

Don't forget about Bike the Drive on Sunday, May 29th and Musician's Network MECCA's Music Mondays kicks off at the Harbor on Monday, May 30th with the Best  of the Best Open Mic performers from 2010!

Whatever you decide To-Do, have a wonderful Memorial Day Weekend!




Movies in the Parks


Ravinia Park Music Festival

Music Without Borders

Tuesdays On the Terrace

Jazzin' at the Shedd

Music On the Esplanade

Country Club Hills Theater

Hot Summer Nights

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