It doesn't get much better than sitting on a blanket on a warm summer night, listening to a band play while kids dance up around the stage.
Here's the 2012 version of the Go West Young Mom Guide to Outdoor Musical Performances, divided by days of the week. For full details, check the Go West calendar or click on the links provided. Don’t forget your lawn chair or blanket, some bug spray and for the daytime shows, your hats and sunscreen. All shows are free unless mentioned otherwise.
The Wheaton Park District offers a free Summer Entertainment Series select Monday nights in July at the Memorial Park Bandshell at 7:30 p.m. First up is Johnny Russler & the Beach Bum Band on Monday, July 9.
The city of Elgin has a free Summer Concert Series on select Tuesdays this summer at the Wing Park Band Shell at 7 p.m. The series actually will get underway on Sunday, June 24, with the Barbershoppers performing at 3 p.m. The regular Tuesday night shows start on June 26 with the Chi-Town Showstoppers.
The Batavia Park District’s River Rhapsody Concert Series is held throughout June, July and August, with most shows on Wednesdays. Up first is the Limited Edition Big Band, actually performing on Thursday, June 14, at 7 p.m. After that, the series gets going on Wednesday nights, with BBI performing on Thursday, June 20, during "Family Night at the Riverwalk." The series will run through Aug. 8.
The Geneva Park District's Concerts in the Park are usually held at Island Park. But because of construction there, the shows will be performed this year at Sunset Park. The first show in the free series will be Gallery, a classic rock band, on Wednesday, July 11, at 7 p.m.
The Geneva Commons Summer Concert Series is held on Wednesdays at 6:30 p.m. and Sundays at 5 pm. from June 6 through July 1. On Wednesday, June 6, the band Red Woody (classic rock/alternative) will play.
The Oswegoland Park District is hosting Concerts in the Park on three Wednesdays this summer at Hudson Crossing Park in Oswego. First up is the band Soda on Wednesday, July 11, at 7 p.m.
The Fox Valley Park District has a series of Thursday night Concerts in the Park scheduled this summer in McCullough Park in Aurora and Montgomery Park in Montgomery. Up first is the Yorkville Big Band performing at Montgomery Park at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, June 14. The series runs through Aug. 2.
The St. Charles Park District’s Concerts in the Park series runs on most Thursdays through Aug. 16 at the Lincoln Park gazebo in downtown. The free shows start at 7 p.m. The series gets underway with the band 1969 playing on Thursday, June 14, at 7 p.m. In the event of inclement weather, these shows are moved to the Arcada Theatre on Main Street.
In DeKalb, the Egyptian Theatre offers a Live Lunch Music Series every Thursday from June 7 through Aug. 16 during the Farmers Market, which takes place on Van Buer Plaza.
The Wheaton Municipal Band performs every Thursday night from June 7 through Aug. 9 in Memorial Park, just north of downtown Wheaton. The concerts are usually at 8 p.m. but not always. The "Gala Season Opener" on June 7 will get underway at 8 p.m and will feature marches, overtures and musicals.
Yorkville is offering its Music Under the Stars at 7 p.m. on select Friday nights this summer in the Town Square and Riverfront Park. The first concert is Friday, June 8, a "Music and Wine Night" when the band Trio will play classic hits from the Eagles and more in the Town Square.
Cantigny in Wheaton has Kids' Concert series on select Saturday afternoons this summer. First up is Jeanie B! and the Jelly Beans on Saturday, June 23, at 2 p.m. There is no admission price for the concert, but the $5 parking fee to enter the grounds applies.
Cantigny in Wheaton is also hosting a series of Sunday afternoon concerts nearly every weekend this summer through Sept. 3. Up next is Ac Rock (a capella rock 'n' roll) on Sunday, June 3, at 3 p.m. There is no admission price for the concert, but the $5 parking fee to enter Cantigny applies.
The Geneva Commons Summer Concert Series is held on Wednesdays at 6:30 p.m. and Sundays at 5 pm. from June 6 through July 1. On Sunday, June 10, the band 7th Heaven will play rock and pop.
The Geneva Pak District is offering free concerts at Peck Farm Interpretative Center once a month this summer. Up next is the June 10 show. Guitarist, singer and songrwriter Greg Boerner will be performing at 5:30 p.m.