There’s something about live music being carried on a summer breeze that just makes you want to celebrate. And as we know so well in Wisconsin, just the fact that it’s summer is something to be celebrated. That’s why it’s fitting that on any given night in the Milwaukee area, you will probably be able to find a venue for outdoor live music. These concerts bring communities together, support local businesses, artists, and culture, and introduce listeners to music they might not otherwise be familiar with. Outdoor music is frequently a hidden gem in communities, so we thought we would compile a list of our favorite outdoor music venues to share with you. The extra benefit? These concerts are generally FREE unless otherwise noted.
Musical Mondays – Lake Park – July 2 to August 27 at 6:30pm. Musical Mondays offers a variety of music genres including woodwind quartets, folk, celtic, and barbershop quartets.
Chill on the Hill – Humboldt Park – June 5 to August 28 at 6:00pm. Chill on the Hill features local musicians. Bring your own food and drink or patron one of the food or beverage vendors on site.
Skyline Music Series – Kadish Park – 2018 TBA. This community music series is provided by COA Youth & Family Centers and features family-friendly food, fun and music in the Riverwest neighborhood.
River Rhythms – Pere Marquette Park – June 13 to August 29 at 6:00pm. Priding itself in being Milwaukee’s most diverse outdoor concert series, River Rhythms features everything from salsa to reggae to cover bands. Both local and national artists are featured.
Tosa Tonight – Rotary Performance Pavillion (68th and State) – June 13, 20; July 4, 11, 25; August 8, 15, & 29 at 6:00pm. Tosa Tonight features a unique blend of genres and artists. Concert-goers are encouraged to bring lawn chairs and come hungry. Food and beverage purchases from vendors directly raise money for the operation of the Rotary Performance Pavilion and Tosa Tonight concerts.
Waterfront Wednesdays – Lakefront Park, Pewaukee – June 6 to August 29 at 6:00pm. Everything from classic rock to Irish music can be enjoyed on the beach of Pewaukee Lake.
Wednesdays at the Shell – Washington Park – June 27 to August 29 (excluding July 4) 6:00pm. A variety of local artists of various sorts (including dancers, musicians, children’s performances and more) make up this concert series. Follow their Facebook page for specifics as they are released.
Wonderful Wednesdays – Lake Park – June 20 to August 8 (excluding July 4) at 6:30pm. Wonderful Wednesdays is a series of seven concerts specifically geared toward children and their families.
Florentine Wednesdays– Colectivo – June 13 (Humboldt) & July 25 (Mequon) at 7:00pm. This unique concert series highlights music from the Florentine Opera at different Colectivo locations in the area. Can’t make a Wednesday? Check out Florentine Opera at the Lake on Thursdays!
Concerts on the Green – Enderis Park – June 21, July 12, July 26, & August 16. A multi-genre four concert series in Enderis Park. This year features everything from cello-infused alt-rock to New Orleans style horns.
Concerts in the Gardens – Boerner Botanical Gardens – 2018 TBA. This concert series offers a wide variety to please every musical palette, featuring dance, blues, soul, classical, and indie-infused rock to name a few. Admission to the gardens is free to concert goers after 6:00pm and attendees are invited to explore the gardens during the concert.
Jazz in the Park – Cathedral Square – May 31 to August 30 at 5pm. This unique lineup includes jazz, big band, funk, R & B, reggae, blues and more. Vendors offer Happy Hour from 5-6pm with the music starting at 6pm.
Florentine Opera at the Lake – Colectivo – June 14, 28; July 12, 26 at 7:00pm. This unique concert series highlights music from the Florentine Opera at Colectivo Lakefront on Thursday nights. Can’t make a Thursday? Check out a Florentine Wednesday!
Music On Main – Old Settlers Park, West Bend – June 7 to Sept 6 at 6:30pm. Also featuring a variety of locally and nationally acclaimed artists of various genres, this concert series also offers an indoor venue in the case of inclement weather.
Friday Night Live – Historic Downtown Waukesha – June 1 to August 24 at 6:30pm. Park on the outskirts of downtown and walk your way into the heart of Waukesha. Roam the streets listening to live, local music from numerous artists on different stages. Grab some snacks along the way at the open vendors. For 2018, the event will include 9 stages featuring over 70 musical performers from all genres.
Summer Sounds – Cedar Creek Park, Cedarburg – June 15 to August 17 at 6:30pm. Enjoy Cedarburg’s beautiful Cedar Creek Park for music, food, and fun. Pack a picnic or enjoy one of many vendors and food trucks.
Sounds of Summer – East Silver Spring, Whitefish Bay – August, Date TBD from 5:30-10pm. A musical street festival on the east end of Silver Spring presented by Whitefish Bay’s Civic Foundation.
And of course, no post about music in the summer in Milwaukee would be complete without mentioning The Big Gig. What would Milwaukee be without Summerfest? Known as the world’s largest music festival, this annual event draws crowds from far and wide to the famous Summerfest grounds for a music experience unlike any other!
Point to note :: Definitely does NOT fall into the FREE category. But, they do offer Children’s Fest on July 5th. Admission that day is FREE from 12-3pm. Summerfest is definitely a Bucket List kind of activity! June 27 – July 1 / July 3 – 8.