Your Kansas City summer fun 2022 entertainment guide

Stella McDaniel

The Kansas City Symphony’s Celebration at the Station on May 29 will mark more than just the kickoff of the local summer season. The hugely popular concert also will mark a return to normalcy.

Like many other events, Celebration at the Station was canceled the past two years because of the pandemic. The area will boast a full schedule of events this summer for the first time since 2019.

Even more good news, given the rising cost of almost everything, is that the 2022 summer offerings are dotted with freebies — Celebration at the Station and the Heart of America Shakespeare Festival, which will stage “Romeo and Juliet,” chief among them.

Other highlights, all charging admission, will include Boulevardia, which moves to the Crown Center area from the West Bottoms and Stockyards District for its seventh edition; stadium concerts by Kenny Chesney, George Strait and Def Leppard and Mötley Crüe; and a full slate of musicals and concerts at Starlight Theatre.

Also, Union Station’s next major exhibition, “Maya: The Great Jaguar Rises,” will open after being postponed from May 13. Tickets are available online for July 13 through Dec. 31.

Here then is this year’s guide to summer fun, with a spotlight on free entertainment.

Celebration at Station.JPG
Celebration at the Station with the Kansas City Symphony will return to Union Station on Memorial Day weekend after a two-year absence because of COVID-19. ALLISON LONG The Kansas City Star

17 big events

“‘Paw Patrol’ Live! The Great Pirate Adventure,” 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. May 28-29, Music Hall: Our pups will ride to the rescue and search for pirate treasure. $15-$138.

Kansas City Symphony, Celebration at the Station, 7 p.m. May 29, Union Station: The Memorial Day weekend concert typically draws about 50,000 people. Free.

“Romeo and Juliet,” Heart of America Shakespeare Festival, 8 p.m. June 14-July 3 (not on Mondays), Southmoreland Park: The festival celebrates its 30th anniversary season with Shakespeare’s timeless love story. Free, first come, first served; reserved seating, $25-$35.

Boulevardia, 4-11 p.m. June 17, 11 a.m.-11 p.m. June 18, Crown Center and Washington Square Park: Music by Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats, Dashboard Confessional and many others, plus beer, food, makers market and Ferris wheel. $40 through May, $45 in June, $55 at gate.

“Ain’t Too Proud: The Life and Times of The Temptations,” opens 7:30 p.m. June 21; runs through June 26, Music Hall: Broadway in Kansas City closes its 2021-22 season with the story of The Temptations’ journey from the streets of Detroit to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. $36-$106.

Big Slick Celebrity Weekend, 5 p.m. June 24, 8 p.m. June 25, Kauffman Stadium and T-Mobile Center: This event from hometown celebrities Paul Rudd, Jason Sudeikis, Rob Riggle, Eric Stonestreet and David Koechner has been raising funds for Children’s Mercy since 2010. Celebrity softball game, $20-$103; Big Slick Party and Show, $75-$375.

Kenny Chesney, 4:45 p.m. July 2, Arrowhead Stadium: The country superstar, with support from Dan + Shay, Old Dominion and Carly Pearce, will bring his Here and Now Tour to Arrowhead. $35-$375.

KC Riverfest, July 4, Berkley Riverfront Park: The event’s website has yet to post details, but in previous years the gates opened at 4 p.m. and fireworks went off at about 10 p.m. Free.

“Maya: The Great Jaguar Rises,” 10 a.m.-5 p.m. July 13-Dec. 31, Union Station: Learn the story of a sophisticated ancient civilization that thrived in the heart of the rainforest. $14-$19.50.

Kansas City Fringe Festival, July 15-31, multiple venues: Returning to live, in-person shows for the first time since 2019, the area’s biggest celebration of the arts and culture will present performers from around the nation and the world. $10 per event in past years, plus $5 Fringe Button.

Machine Gun Kelly, 7:30 p.m. July 8, T-Mobile Center: The tall Texas rap sensation played in the area last October at Azura Amphitheater and in 2019 at what was then Silverstein Eye Centers Arena (now Cable-Dahmer); with Avril Lavigne and Iann Dior. $29.50-$129.50.

Def Leppard and Mötley Crüe, 4:30 p.m. July 19, Kauffman Stadium: Take a trip to the rock ’n’ roll world of the late 20th century, with an emphasis on heavy metal. $49.50-$945.

George Strait, 4:45 p.m. July 30, Arrowhead Stadium: You’ll have to pay a hefty price to see the country legend in concert; with Chris Stapleton and Little Big Town. $185-$2,345.

“Sister Act,” 8 p.m. Aug. 16-21, Starlight: This musical comedy based on the 1992 movie features music by eight-time Oscar winner Alan Menken; a Starlight production. $15-$98.

Kendrick Lamar.jpg
Kendrick Lamar is coming to Kansas City in August. Amy Harris Invision/AP

Kendrick Lamar, 7:30 p.m. Aug. 21, T-Mobile Center: “Mr. Morale & the Big Steppers” is the hip-hop superstar’s first studio album since “Damn” in 2017, and this will be his first concert in Kansas City since that year; with Baby Keem and Tanna Leone. $55-$175.

Alicia Keys, 8 p.m. Aug. 24, Starlight: After her Starlight concerts were postponed in August 2020 and August 2021 because of COVID-19, the 15-time Grammy Award-winning artist will try again this summer. $39.50-$249.50.

Kansas City Irish Fest, 5-11 p.m. Sept. 2, 11 a.m.-11 p.m. Sept. 3-4, Crown Center: In addition to some of the world’s top purveyors of Irish music, the three-day affair will offer shopping, food and Irish-themed activities. $20 through Aug. 1, $30 through Sept. 1, $35 at gate; $55-$70 for weekend.

Alicia Keys, whose concerts at Starlight Theatre were postponed in August 2020 and August 2021, is scheduled to perform there Aug. 24. Chris Pizzello Invision/Associated Press

Free music alternatives

Miller Lite Hot Country Nights, Coors Light Block Party and Friday Night Live, KC Live!,

Sunset Music Fest, Town Center Plaza: June 9, The Elders with The Cowardly Lions; June 16, A1A with Bryton Stoll; June 23, Summer Breeze with The Zeros.

Light Up the Lawn, Nerman Museum lawn: Aug. 19, Calvin Arsenia; Aug. 26, Making Movies; Sept. 2, Victor & Penny.

Other summer music series

Downtown Lee’s Summit.

Garment District.

Linden Square, Gladstone.

Macken Park, North Kansas City.

Park Place, Leawood.


R Park, Roeland Park.

Rotary Park, Blue Springs.

Sar-Ko-Par Trails Park, Lenexa.

Shawnee Town 1929.

Stagecoach Park, Olathe.

Town Center Greenspace, downtown Raytown.

Ward Parkway Center.

Zona Rosa.

The free exhibit “Curious George: Let’s Get Curious!” will run May 28-Sept. 5 at the Crown Center Showplace. Crown Center

Five more free alternatives

Kansas City Folk Festival, noon-6 p.m. May 22, Washington Square Park.

“Curious Gorge: Let’s Get Curious!” 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Mondays-Saturdays and noon-5 p.m. Sundays May 28-Sept. 5, Crown Center Showplace.

Dragon Boat Festival & Races, time TBA June 11, Brush Creek on Country Club Plaza.

Kansas City’s Lawn Party, 4-8 p.m. July 17, Donald J. Hall Sculpture Park and Theis Park.

Santa-Cali-Gon Festival, noon-11 p.m. Sept. 2, 10 a.m.-11 p.m. Sept. 3-4, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Sept. 5, Independence Square.

The Heart of America Shakespeare Festival has presented “Romeo and Juliet” multiple times in previous seasons. A new production will run June 14-July 3 at Southmoreland Park. The Kansas City Star


“The Price,” Kansas City Actors Theatre, May 25-June 5, City Stage.

“Dazzling Divas – Judy, Barbra, Liza,” June 3-26, Quality Hill Playhouse.

“For the Culture: Nina Simone, Sam Cooke and Otis Redding,” June 3-4, Ruby Room, MTH Theater at Crown Center.

“Something Rotten,” June 3-1l, Theatre in the Park.

“Hairspray,” June 7-12, Starlight.

“When/Time,” No Divide KC, June 7-12, MTH Theater at Crown Center.

Future Stages Festival, June 12, Kauffman Center.

“Ella Enchanted,” June 14-July 2, City Stage.

“Titanic,” June 16-July 3, MTH Theater at Crown Center.

“Battle of Fire,” Westport Center for the Arts, June 17-July 1, Just Off Broadway Theater.

“Disney’s Descendants: The Musical,” June 17-25, Theatre in the Park.

Riverdance, June 17-19, Starlight.

“Alice’s Wonderland,” June 21-Aug. 7, The Coterie.

Blue Man Group, June 24-26, Starlight.

“School of Rock,” July 1-9, Theatre in the Park.

“Roald Dahl’s Matilda,” July 2-24, Lewis and Shirley White Theatre.

“Disney’s Freaky Friday The Musical,” July 7-Sept. 11, New Theatre & Restaurant.

“Spider’s Web,” Kansas City Actors Theatre, July 14-31, Goppert Theater.

“Soul Sisters – Aretha, Billie, Ella,” July 15-Aug. 7, Quality Hill Playhouse.

“Zombie Prom,” July 15-23, Theatre in the Park.

“Jungle Book,” July 20-30, City Stage.

“Let It Be: John, Paul, George, and Ringo,” July 29-30, Ruby Room, MTH Theater at Crown Center.

“SpongeBob the Musical,” July 29-Aug. 6, Theatre in the Park.

“Seussical the Musical,” Culture House, Aug. 5-6, Kauffman Center.

“Anastasia,” Aug. 9-14, Starlight.

“About Alice,” Kansas City Actors Theatre, Aug. 10-28, City Stage.

“Cabaret,” Aug. 11-28, MTH Theater at Crown Center.

“RuPaul’s Drag Race,” Aug. 14, Uptown.

“First Date,” Barn Players, Aug. 19-28, Johnson County Arts & Heritage Center.

“Twelfth Night,” Sept. 6-25, Spencer Theatre.

“Dot,” Kansas City Actors Theatre, Sept. 7-25, City Stage.


Bassem Youssef, May 26-28, Comedy Club of Kansas City.

Pinky Patel, June 5, Kansas City Improv.

Chelcie Lynn, June 9, Uptown.

Bruce Bruce, June 10-12, Kansas City Improv.

Margaret Cho, June 16-18, Comedy Club of Kansas City.

Deon Cole, June 24-26, Kansas City Improv.

Sebastian Maniscalco, June 26, Arvest Bank Theatre at the Midland.

Kurtis Conner, July 17, Uptown.

Celeste Barber, July 20, Uptown.

John Mulaney, July 23, Starlight.

Andrew Dice Clay, July 28-30, Comedy Club of Kansas City.

Tim Heidecker, Aug. 8, The Truman.

Paul Rodriguez, Aug. 19-20, Comedy Club of Kansas City.

Leanne Morgan, Aug. 27, Arvest Bank Theatre at the Midland.

Kenny Chesney, who performed at April’s CMT Music Awards, is set to come to Arrowhead Stadium on July 2. Mark Humphrey AP

Big concerts

Judy Collins and Madeleine Peyroux, May 22, Yardley Hall.

Limp Bizkit, May 24, Cable Dahmer Arena.

Phoebe Bridgers, May 31, Starlight.

Tori Amos, May 31, Music Hall.

AJR, June 1, Starlight.

Haim, June 4, Starlight.

Lord Huron, June 5, Starlight.

Jackson Browne, June 7, Music Hall.

Slipknot with Cypress Hill and Ho99o9, June 7, Azura Amphitheater.

The National, June 9, GrindersKC.

Snarky Puppy, June 9, Kauffman Center.

Tech N9ne with Joey Cool, X-Raided and ¡Mayday!, June 11, Arvest Bank Theatre at the Midland.

Billy Bob Thornton and The Boxmasters and Los Lobos with McKinley James, June 10, Knuckleheads.

Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, June 10, Uptown.

Rex Orange County, June 13, Starlight.

Béla Fleck, June 14, Kauffman Center.

Chris Tomlin with Hillsong United, June 14, T-Mobile Center.

REO Speedwagon and Styx with Loverboy, June 14, Starlight.

Bon Iver, June 15, Starlight.

Banda MS de Sergio Lizarraga, June 18, T-Mobile Center.

Chicago and Brian Wilson, June 20, Starlight.

Make Music Kansas City, June 21, citywide.

Why Don’t We with The Aces and JVKE, June 22, Starlight.

Cody Johnson, June 23, Azura Amphitheater.

Glenn Miller Orchestra, June 25, Kauffman Center.

Maverick City Music and Kirk Franklin, June 28, T-Mobile Center.

Barenaked Ladies with Gin Blossoms and Toad the Wet Sprocket, June 29, Starlight.

Third Eye Blind with Taking Back Sunday and Hockey Dad, June 30, Starlight.

Classic R&B Concert featuring Howard Hewett, Miki Howard and more, July 1, Music Hall.

Rod Wave and Friends, July 3, T-Mobile Center.

Brandi Carlile, July 6, Starlight.

Chris Isaak and Lyle Lovett, July 7, Starlight.

Ozark Mountain Daredevils, July 8, Uptown.

Mandy Moore, July 10, Uptown.

Earth, Wind & Fire, July 12, Starlight.

Oak Ridge Boys, July 15, Ameristar.

Kansas, July 16, Azura Amphitheater.

Mary Chapin Carpenter, July 17, Liberty Hall.

Maren Morris, July 21, Starlight.

Sheryl Crow, July 21, GrindersKC.

Josh Groban, July 22, Starlight.

Kidz Bop Live, July 29, Starlight.

Big Time Rush, July 30, T-Mobile Center.

Goo Goo Dolls, Aug. 1, Starlight.

Pat Benatar and Neil Giraldo, Aug. 2, Uptown.

Breakaway Music Festival, Aug. 5-6, Azura Amphitheater.

OneRepublic, Aug. 5, Starlight.

Bonnie Raitt with Mavis Staples, Aug. 6, Starlight.

David Gray, Aug. 7, Starlight.

Father John Misty with Suki Waterhouse, Aug. 9, Arvest Bank Theatre at the Midland.

Imagine Dragons, Aug. 9, T-Mobile Center.

Incubus with Sublime with Rome, Aug. 12, Azura Amphitheater.

The Decemberists, Aug. 13, GrindersKC.

The Lumineers, Aug. 13, T-Mobile Center.

Melissa Etheridge, Aug. 14, Liberty Hall.

Alice in Chains and Breaking Benjamin, Aug. 19, Azura Amphitheater.

Midwest Reggae Fest, Aug. 19, Gem Theater.

Turnpike Troubadours, Aug. 20, Azura Amphitheater.

A Day to Remember with The Ghost Inside, Beartooth and Bad Omens, Aug. 21, Azura Amphitheater.

Happy Together, Aug. 21, Kauffman Center.

Chris Botti, Aug. 24, Yardley Hall.

Alan Jackson, Aug. 27, T-Mobile Center.

Jack White, Aug. 29, Starlight.

The Kid Laroi, Aug. 31, Arvest Bank Theatre at the Midland.

“Weird Al” Yankovic, Sept. 2, Kauffman Center.

Roger Waters, Sept. 3, T-Mobile Center.

Shinedown, Sept. 3, Azura Amphitheater.

Dancefestopia, Sept. 6-11, LaCygne.

Classical music and dance

Dorrance Dance, May 27, Kauffman Center.

Kansas City Symphony, “Saint-Saëns’ Organ Symphony, World Premiere of Rogerson’s Violin Concerto,” June 3-5, Kauffman Center.

Spire Chamber Ensemble, “There is a Balm in Gilead,” June 4, Village Presbyterian Church.

Kansas City Symphony, “Windborne’s The Music of the Rolling Stones: Mick Jagger & Keith Richards 1969,” June 9-10, Kauffman Center.

Landlocked Opera, “Tartuffe,” June 10 and 12, Atonement Lutheran Church.

Heartland Men’s Chorus, “Unbreakable,” June 11-12, Folly.

Symphony in the Flint Hills, June 11, Chase County.

Kinnor Philharmonic Orchestra, June 12, Lewis and Shirley White Theatre.

Kansas City Symphony, “Sleeping Beauty with Sibelius’ Violin Concerto,” June 17-19, Kauffman Center.

Kansas City Symphony, “Ode to Joy: Beethoven’s Ninth,” June 24-26, Kauffman Center.

Heartland Chamber Music Summer Festival, July 29-Aug. 6, Johnson County Community College.

Visual arts

“Between Myth and Reality,” June 3-April 29, 2024, Nelson-Atkins Museum.

“The Regional,” June 3-Sept. 11, Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art.

Prairie Village Art Show, June 10-12, Prairie Village.

Downtown Overland Park Art Fair, June 24-25.

“Women to Watch – A New World: 2024,” June 24-Oct. 16, Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art.

“American Art Deco: Designing for the People, 1918-1939,” July 9-Jan. 8, Nelson-Atkins Museum.

Boulevardia will run June 17-18 at Crown Center and Washington Square Park. Its first six editions were held in the West Bottoms and Stockyards District. Jill Toyoshiba [email protected]

Festivals and fairs

Lawrence Busker Festival, May 27-30, Downtown Lawrence.

Old Shawnee Days, June 2-5, Shawnee Town 1929 Museum.

Downtown Days, June 3-5, Lee’s Summit.

Festa Italiana, June 3-5, Zona Rosa.

Food, Art, Drink Festival, June 3-4, Linden Square, Gladstone.

Meadowbrook Park Festival, June 3, Prairie Village.

Strawberry Festival, June 4, Vaile Mansion.

Tacos & Tequila Festival, June 4, Legends Field.

Arts in the Park, June 10-11, Macken Park, North Kansas City.

KC Pridefest, June 10-12, Theis Park.

Sugar Creek Slavic Festival, June 10-11, Sugar Creek.

Enchanted Faire, June 11, Overland Park Arboretum & Botanical Gardens.

Fiesta Filipina, June 11, Filipino Cultural Center.

Juneteenth, June 11, Johnson County Arts & Heritage Center.

KC Pridefest Parade, June 11, Westport.

Boulevardia, June 17-18, Crown Center.

Frontier Days, June 17-18, Edgerton.

JuneteenthKC Heritage Festival, June 18, 18th & Vine District.

Lake Fest, June 17-18, Smithville.

Parked!, June 24, Stump Park, Shawnee.

Waterfest, June 24-25, Excelsior Springs.

Clay County Fair, July 8-9, Smithville.

Bingham-Waggoner Antique and Craft Fair, July 9, Bingham-Waggoner Estate.

Cass County Fair, July 12-17, Pleasant Hill.

Wyandotte County Fair, July 12-16, Kansas City, Kansas.

Amelia Earhart Festival, July 16-17, Atchison.

Platte County Fair, July 20-23, Platte City.

Festival of Butterflies, July 21-Aug. 7, Powell Gardens.

Roots 22 Reggae Music and Jerk Festival, July 22-24, Berkley Riverfront Park.

Grand Carnivale, July 23-Aug. 7, Worlds of Fun.

Miami County Fair, July 23-31, Paola.

Water Lantern Festival, July 23,Theis Park.

Leavenworth County Fair, July 26-30, Tonganoxie.

Johnson County Fair, July 31-Aug. 6, Gardner.

Missouri State Fair, Aug. 11-21, Sedalia.

Ethnic Enrichment Festival, Aug. 19-21, Swope Park.

Parkville Days, Aug. 19-21, Downtown Parkville.

India Fest, Aug. 21, Overland Park Convention Center.

De Soto Days Festival, Sept. 1-3, De Soto.

Kansas City Renaissance Festival, Sept. 3-Oct. 16, Bonner Springs.

Other events

Memorial Day Weekend, May 27-30, National WWI Museum.

JuneteenthKC Cultural Parade, June 4, 18th & Vine District.

Wine & Brew on the Square, June 4, Independence Square.

Concours d’Elegance and Heartland All British Car and Cycle Meet, June 11, Crown Center Square.

Symphony Designers’ Showhouse, June 10-July 3, Loose Park area.

“Welcome To Night Vale,” June 18, Liberty Hall.

“Cheer” Live, June 23, Cable Dahmer Arena.

Great Lenexa BBQ Battle, June 24-25, Sar-Ko-Par Trails Park.

Teddy Bear Picnic, July 8, Roanoke Park.

VFW National Convention, July 16-21, Bartle Hall.

The Great Car Show, July 17, National WWI Museum.

Jazzoo, Aug. 26, Kansas City Zoo.

Kansas City Air Show, Sept. 3-4, New Century Air Center.

This story was originally published May 22, 2022 5:00 AM.

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Dan Kelly has been covering entertainment and arts news at The Star for 10 years. He previously worked at the Columbia Daily Tribune, The Miami Herald and The Louisville Courier-Journal. He also was on the University of Missouri School of Journalism faculty for six years, and he has written a historical novel, “Soaring with Vultures.”

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