Arts & Culture

Summer sounds: Cool music turns up the heat under the sun and stars

Justin Torner/Freelance for Hoopla

Uptown Friday Nights will be rocking the McGrath Amphitheatre in Cedar Rapids from May 18 to Aug. 17. The riverbank amphitheater will be hopping all summer, with outdoor concerts, festivals and food.
Justin Torner/Freelance for Hoopla Uptown Friday Nights will be rocking the McGrath Amphitheatre in Cedar Rapids from May 18 to Aug. 17. The riverbank amphitheater will be hopping all summer, with outdoor concerts, festivals and food.

The hills — and riverbanks and flatlands — will soon be alive with the sound of music, all summer long. Here’s a guide to music under the sun and stars, from free community band concerts and concerts in the parks, to festivals with multiple bands over multiple days and multiple prices. Find even more summer music at


BECKSTER FEST: Polka festival, June 1 to 3, Amana Colonies RV Park, Highways 151 and 220, Amana. Air-conditioned building with wooden dance floor, food and drink on-site, 10:30 a.m. Polka Mass on June 3. Festival passes: $15 single day, $40 three-day.


MCGRATH AMPHITHEATRE: 475 First St. SW, Cedar Rapids; outdoor concerts, festivals and food on the banks of the Cedar River all summer long;

ROCK THE BLOCK: Fridays through Sept. 7, NewBo City Market outdoor stage; local bands; free admission, bring seating; food, drink and games in Market Yard;

UPTOWN FRIDAY NIGHTS: Fridays, May 18 to Aug. 17, 5:30 p.m. gates open, 6 p.m. music, McGrath Amphitheatre, 475 First St. SW, Cedar Rapids; $5, restricted to ages 21 and older;

CEDAR RAPIDS MUNICIPAL BAND: 18 free concerts, generally 7:30 p.m. Wednesday and Sunday, June 6 to Aug. 5; professional ensemble performing in metro area parks and neighborhoods. Joint concert with Marion Community Band at 7 p.m. June 13, Lowe Park, Marion.

PRAISE ON THE RIVER: 3 to 7 p.m. June 10, McGrath Amphitheatre, 475 First St. SW, Cedar Rapids. Benefit for His Hands Free Clinic, with worship bands, gospel choir from area churches. Bring seating, food vendors on-site; freewill donation; free mug with Freedom Festival button.


CONCERTS AT THE CREEK: Indian Creek Nature Center, 5300 Otis Rd. SE, Cedar Rapids. June 16: Middle Western, Kingbolt, 6:30 p.m., Amphitheater; June 23: Andy Frasco & The U.N., Strays, 6:30 p.m., Amphitheater; July 21: Susan Werner, Amelia & Melina, 6:30 p.m., Patio. Tickets: $15-$23,

BALLOON GLOW: 6 to 10 p.m. June 19, Brucemore front lawn, 2160 Linden Dr. SE, Cedar Rapids; music by Alisabeth Von Presley, food, tethered hot-air balloons; free with $5 Freedom Festival button, available at gate;

CEDAR RAPIDS BBQ ROUNDUP: June 21 to 24, McGrath Amphitheatre, 75 First St. SW, Cedar Rapids; 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Thursday, 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday. Food, live music, family-friendly entertainment; free admission with Freedom Festival button.

IOWA SUMMER JAM: 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. June 30, McGrath Amphitheatre, 475 First St. SW, Cedar Rapids. Hip-hop, pop and R&B. Bring seating. Tickets: $25 advance, $30 event day, free ages 12 and under 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

319 FEST: July 28. Music and arts. Details to come at and

JAZZ UNDER THE STARS: Thursdays in August. Details to come at

TOURNAMENT OF DRUMS: 7 p.m. Aug. 3, Kingston Stadium, 907 15th St. SW, Cedar Rapids; competition drum corps from Iowa, Florida, California, Louisiana, Minnesota, New Hampshire; $15 gate, $13 advance,

NEWBO EVOLVE: Aug. 3 to 5, NewBo District and other Cedar Rapids sites and venues. Celebrating the creative bohemian spirit through music, art, fashion, dance, food and technology. Celebrity talent: Adam Berinsky, Clint Harp, Carson Kressley, Alexis Ohanian, Adam Rippon, The Shadowboxers, Christian Siriano, John Waters. Three-day festival passes: $402.50 with tax. Concerts: Aug. 3 Kelly Clarkson, festival pass or $54.50-$107.50; Aug. 4 Maroon 5, festival pass or $70-$134.50.

CABARET IN THE COURTYARD: featuring local artists on the national scene, 7:30 p.m. Aug. 9 to 11 and 16 to 18, Brucemore courtyard, 2160 Linden Dr. SE, Cedar Rapids; $20-$30,

CZECH VILLAGE BLUES: Aug. 11, Czech Village, Cedar Rapids; gates open 5 p.m., music at 6 p.m. Headliner: Ruf Records Blues Caravan as 2018 featuring Bernard Allison, Mike Zito and Vanja Sky; also, Shane Johnson’s Blue Train and Tim & TheTrutones; $15, $80 VIP.


Thank you for signing up for our e-newsletter!

You should start receiving the e-newsletters within a couple days.

BRUCEMORCHESTRA: Sept. 15, Brucemore front lawn, 2160 Linden Dr. SE, Cedar Rapids; gates open 5:30 p.m., Orchestra Iowa concert 7 p.m. Details and tickets to come:


CORALVILLE 4THFEST: July 1 to 4, S.T. Morrison Park, 1513 Seventh St.; 5K run/walk, entertainment, food, carnival, free concert by Rick Springfield on July 3, parade and fireworks July 4;


80/35: July 6 and 7, Western Gateway Park, 13th and Locust streets, Des Moines; Headliners: Kesha and Phantogram. Tickets: $49 one-day; $75-$195 two-day passes,

HINTERLAND MUSIC FESTIVAL: Aug. 3 and 4, Avenue of the Saints Amphitheatre, 3357 St. Charles Rd., St. Charles, south of Des Moines. Passes: $49 Friday only, $59 Saturday only, $95 two-day,

IOWA STATE FAIR: Aug. 9 to 19: Fairgrounds, East 30th Street and East University Avenue, Des Moines. Midway rides, food on a stick, exhibits, livestock, free and ticketed music, contests, Butter Cow. Grandstand lineup: Casting Crowns, 8 p.m. Aug. 9, $30-$45; Reba McEntire, 8 p.m. Aug. 10, $50-$65; Old Dominion, 8 p.m. Aug. 12, $21-$51; comedian Jim Gaffigan, 8 p.m. Aug. 14, $32-$45; Thomas Rhett, 8 p.m. Aug. 15, $43-$60; Earth, Wind & Fire, 8 p.m. Aug. 16, $37-$47; Sugarland, 8 p.m. Aug. 17, $52-$67; Florida Georgia Line, 8 p.m. Aug. 19, $70-$80;

515 ALIVE MUSIC FESTIVAL: Aug. 17 and 18, Water Works Park, 2201 George Flagg Pkwy., Des Moines. Music on five stages, food, beverages, art, clothing graffiti demonstration, on-site camping. Tickets: $19.99-$159.99,


BACK WATERS STAGE, outdoors, Q Casino, 1855 Greyhound Park Rd.: Kickoff to Summer, May 25; Summer Last Blast 19, Aug. 24 and 25. Back Waters Summer Concert Series: June 16 Colt Ford and Moonshine Bandits; Aug. 9 Seether; Aug. 11 The Eli Young Band; Aug. 31 Aaron Lewis; tickets $35 and up,


OFF BROADWAY MULTICULTURAL MUSIC FESTIVAL: noon to 4 p.m. May 12, former Kmart parking lot, 901 Hollywood Blvd. Latin music from Grupo Realidad, blues and gospel from Gloria Hardiman and Craig Erickson; bring seating, food trucks on-site. Rain date: May 13, same time and location.


FRIDAY NIGHT CONCERT SERIES: 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. May 18 to Aug. 31, Pentacrest on Iowa Avenue in between Clinton and Dubuque streets; free admission; bring seating. Rain site: Chauncey Swan Parking Ramp, Washington and Gilbert streets.

IOWA ARTS FESTIVAL: June 1 to 3: Downtown. Features local and national artists, food, kids’ activities, local and national musicians. Friday: Joan Osborne, 9 p.m.; Saturday: Parker Millsap, 7 p.m., Trampled by Turtles, 9 p.m. Sunday: Soul Sherpa, 2:45 p.m. Free admission.

IOWA CITY COMMUNITY BAND: June 2 to July 8; free concerts in various Iowa City/Coralville area sites;

IOWA CITY JAZZ FESTIVAL: June 29 to July 1, downtown Iowa City; local, regional, national and international jazz artists, fireworks finale; free admission. Headliners: Friday: 7 p.m. Behn Gillece Quartet, 9 p.m. Hot Tamale Louie; Saturday: 7 p.m. Rene Marie & Experiment in Truth, 9 p.m. Jane Ira Bloom Quartet; Sunday: 6 p.m. Matt Wilson’s Honey & Salt, 8 p.m. Joshua Redman’s Still Dreaming.

IOWA SOUL FESTIVAL: Aug. 17 to 18, downtown Iowa City; dance, music, food and art of the African and African-American communities; free admission;


CAMP EUFORIA: July 12 to 14, Jerry’s Farm, 5335 Utah Ave. SE, Lone Tree. More than 20 artists on multiple stages; camping. $90-$125,


MARION BY MOONLIGHT: 6 p.m. food, 6:30 p.m. music, every Thursday in June, City Square Park, Seventh Avenue and 10th Street, Marion; different band each week; free, bring seating;

MARION COMMUNITY BANDS: 7 p.m. June 12 and July 3, City Square Park; jazz and concert bands; free, bring seating;

MARION BIG BAND: 7 p.m. Thursdays in July, City Square Park; free, bring seating;

UPTOWN GETDOWN: 6 to 9 p.m. Thursdays in August, City Square Park; free, bring seating.



GREAT JONES COUNTY FAIR: July 18 to 22, fairgrounds. Carnival, food, exhibits, grandstand concerts by Jason Aldean on July 19, $70-$75; Luke Bryan on July 20, $83; Kid Rock and Ted Nugent on July 21, $55-$65; Casting Crowns on July 22, $30-$35.


NORTH LIBERTY BLUES & BBQ: 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. July 14, Centennial Park, 1565 St. Andrews Dr. 5K, 10K, 1-mile fun run 9 a.m., kids’ activities 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., food and drink 11 a.m., music at 1 p.m.; free admission.


RIVERSIDE CASINO OUTDOOR SUMMER CONCERTS: Brothers Osborne, 8 p.m. June 22, $35-$65; comedian Gabriel Iglesias, 8:30 p.m. June 23, $30-$65; Three Doors Down & Collective Soul, 8 p.m. July 28, $35-$75; Casino Gift Shop or


BOURBON & BLUES FEST: 6 to 9 p.m. July 6 to 8, Cedar Ridge Winery & Distillery, 1441 Marak Rd., Swisher; live blues music, specialty BBQ menu and bourbon cocktails;


VILLAGE GREEN SUMMER CONCERT SERIES: 7 p.m. Fridays, June 1 to 29, Village Green, Parkside Drive and Main Street. Kickoff: May 18, West Branch High School Jazz Band. Schedule: June 1: Jordan Danielsen; June 8: The Tornadoes Blues Band; June 15: Brass Transit Authority; June 22: Royce Johns; June 29: Banjoy. Bring seating. Inclement weather site: town hall or fire station. Details: or (319) 643-2541.

Give us feedback

We value your trust and work hard to provide fair, accurate coverage. If you have found an error or omission in our reporting, tell us here.

Or if you have a story idea we should look into? Tell us here.


Give us feedback

We value your trust and work hard to provide fair, accurate coverage. If you have found an error or omission in our reporting, tell us here.

Or if you have a story idea we should look into? Tell us here.