Trust us. You should just take the entire first week of July off. There are so many wonderful Summer activities happening outside, you shouldn’t have to choose. In fact, just about every one of our recommendations is an outdoor event (and free!). Throw on your breeziest sundress and dancing shoes, head Downtown, and don’t worry about the door entry because THERE ISN’T ANY. This is the time to feel the breeze and slow things down.
Lawrence City Band Concerts
The Lawrence City Band Concerts are already in full swing, but you’ve only got three more opportunities to take in this Summer favorite. Under the direction of Paul Popiel and Marion Roberts, the band will treat audiences to themed shows. July 3rd will celebrate Independence Day (this one’s usually accompanied by a grand finish full of fireworks), a celebration of Kansas Musical Legends on the 10th, and the Grand Finale on July 17. Bring your lawn chairs and picnic blankets, these shows are not to be missed.
Lawrence 4th of July Celebration with Dylan Guthrie and the Good Time Guys / Play Dead / Maria the Mexican
Burcham Park, July 4
If Burcham Park ever dries out, we’ll have one heck of a 4th of July celebration. The Granada will be throwing a party complete with vendors, balloon art, face painters, hoola hoops, an inflatable kid zone, and (of course) live music.
Dylan Guthrie and the Good Time guys will be providing some danceable tunes along with Cory Philips. Play Dead and Maria The Mexican will also be treating everyone to lively music. The event is free and all ages, and ends with all eyes on the sky for the big fireworks show from the best seat in town.
Live on Mass Presents
1000 Block of Mass Street
In a grand stroke of luck, Live on Mass is back with not one, but TWO events this Summer. Typically, the Granada blocks off the entire street between 11th and 10th on. Massachusetts and invites EVERYONE out. No, really. This event is free.
The first one kicks off (you guessed it) during the holiday weekend on Saturday, July 6th with Kansas City heavy-hitters Madisen Ward and the Mama Bear. The soulful folk duo will be joined by Pony Bradshaw and local crooner Sky Smeed. A week later, Jason Boland and the Stragglers pick things up with a wild country show. They’ll be joined by Cody Canada and True North.
These events are free, but VIP tickets are available, with the proceeds going towards Safe Bar Alliance and the Sexual Trauma & Abuse Care Center.
Multiple Venues, July 18, 19, 20
This year, I Heart Local Music was handed the reins for Field Day Fest. So we made it free and all ages, because everyone deserves a chance to check out the local scene.
The festival, now in its 8th year, will be bringing dozens of bands to several venues across Lawrence. The first night kicks off at White Schoolhouse, while the weekend belongs to The Bottleneck, Lucia, and The Granada. What’s notable about the festival this year is that a major national act, Kid Congo and the Pink Monkey Birds, will be headlining the event. The rocker is best known for his work with The Cramps, Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, and the Gun Club.
Other regional acts include The Midnight Devils, Vibralux, The Sluts, NuBlvckCity, The Band the Saved the World, Vedettes, Oxford Remedy, and Stiff Middle Fingers. You can see the full lineup over on the event page, and expect major surprises at the shows (we’re not telling, but know that the theatrics will be high).
Other noteworthy concerts this month:
Tokeback Mountain / Jo Ha Kyu / Concubine at The Replay
Bill Callahan at the Lawrence Public Library Lawn
Tafi / Cuee / AyEl at The Replay
PartyParty at The Nest on Ninth at The Oread
Snail Mail at The Granada
Band of Horses / Nikki Lane at Liberty Hall
Baroness / Torche at The Granada
Empty Moon / The Roseline / Toughies at The Bottleneck
Every Thursday at Noon
Brown Bag Concerts at the corner of 9th and Mass
Fally Afani is an award-winning journalist with a career spanning more than 15 years in media. She has worked extensively in radio, television, newspapers, magazines, and more. Currently, she resides in Lawrence, Kansas, where she works as a music journalist and is the Editor of I Heart Local Mus