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.
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. pawpatrollive.com.
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. kcsymphony.org.
“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. kcshakes.org.
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. boulevardia.com.
“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. broadwayinkc.com.
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. bigslickkc.org.
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. ticketmaster.com.
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. kcriverfest.com.
“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. unionstation.org.
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. kcfringe.org.
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. t-mobilecenter.com.
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. ticketmaster.com.
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. ticketmaster.com.
“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. kcstarlight.com.
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. t-mobilecenter.com.
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. kcstarlight.com.
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. kcirishfest.com.
Free music alternatives
Miller Lite Hot Country Nights, Coors Light Block Party and Friday Night Live, KC Live!, powerandlightdistrict.com/events.
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. towncenterplaza.com.
Light Up the Lawn, Nerman Museum lawn: Aug. 19, Calvin Arsenia; Aug. 26, Making Movies; Sept. 2, Victor & Penny. jccc.edu/midwest-trust-center/events.
Other summer music series
Downtown Lee’s Summit. downtownls.org/events.
Garment District. kcparks.org/gdg2022.
Linden Square, Gladstone. lindensquare.info.
Macken Park, North Kansas City. nkc.org.
Park Place, Leawood. parkplaceleawood.com.
R Park, Roeland Park. roelandpark.org.
Rotary Park, Blue Springs. bluespringsgov.com.
Sar-Ko-Par Trails Park, Lenexa. lenexa.com.
Shawnee Town 1929. shawneetown.org.
Stagecoach Park, Olathe. olatheks.org.
Town Center Greenspace, downtown Raytown. raytown.live.
Ward Parkway Center. wardparkwaycenter.com/events.
Zona Rosa. zonarosa.com.
Five more free alternatives
Kansas City Folk Festival, noon-6 p.m. May 22, Washington Square Park. kansascityfolkfestival.org.
“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. crowncenter.com.
Dragon Boat Festival & Races, time TBA June 11, Brush Creek on Country Club Plaza. chinagardensociety-kc.org.
Kansas City’s Lawn Party, 4-8 p.m. July 17, Donald J. Hall Sculpture Park and Theis Park. kcparks.org.
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. santacaligon.com.
“The Price,” Kansas City Actors Theatre, May 25-June 5, City Stage. kcactors.org
“Dazzling Divas – Judy, Barbra, Liza,” June 3-26, Quality Hill Playhouse. qualityhillplayhouse.com
“For the Culture: Nina Simone, Sam Cooke and Otis Redding,” June 3-4, Ruby Room, MTH Theater at Crown Center. mthkc.com
“Something Rotten,” June 3-1l, Theatre in the Park. theatreinthepark.org
“Hairspray,” June 7-12, Starlight. kcstarlight.com
“When/Time,” No Divide KC, June 7-12, MTH Theater at Crown Center. nodividekc.org/whentime
Future Stages Festival, June 12, Kauffman Center. kauffmancenter.org
“Ella Enchanted,” June 14-July 2, City Stage. tya.org
“Titanic,” June 16-July 3, MTH Theater at Crown Center. mthkc.com
“Battle of Fire,” Westport Center for the Arts, June 17-July 1, Just Off Broadway Theater. wcakc.org
“Disney’s Descendants: The Musical,” June 17-25, Theatre in the Park. theatreinthepark.org
Riverdance, June 17-19, Starlight. kcstarlight.com
“Alice’s Wonderland,” June 21-Aug. 7, The Coterie. thecoterie.org
Blue Man Group, June 24-26, Starlight. kcstarlight.com
“School of Rock,” July 1-9, Theatre in the Park. theatreinthepark.org
“Roald Dahl’s Matilda,” July 2-24, Lewis and Shirley White Theatre. thejkc.org/2021-22-season/roald-dahl-s-matilda-the-musical
“Disney’s Freaky Friday The Musical,” July 7-Sept. 11, New Theatre & Restaurant. newtheatre.com
“Spider’s Web,” Kansas City Actors Theatre, July 14-31, Goppert Theater. kcactors.org
“Soul Sisters – Aretha, Billie, Ella,” July 15-Aug. 7, Quality Hill Playhouse. qualityhillplayhouse.com
“Zombie Prom,” July 15-23, Theatre in the Park. theatreinthepark.org
“Jungle Book,” July 20-30, City Stage. tya.org
“Let It Be: John, Paul, George, and Ringo,” July 29-30, Ruby Room, MTH Theater at Crown Center. mthkc.com
“SpongeBob the Musical,” July 29-Aug. 6, Theatre in the Park. theatreinthepark.org
“Seussical the Musical,” Culture House, Aug. 5-6, Kauffman Center. culturehouse.com
“Anastasia,” Aug. 9-14, Starlight. kcstarlight.com
“About Alice,” Kansas City Actors Theatre, Aug. 10-28, City Stage. kcactors.org
“Cabaret,” Aug. 11-28, MTH Theater at Crown Center. mthkc.com
“RuPaul’s Drag Race,” Aug. 14, Uptown. uptowntheater.com
“First Date,” Barn Players, Aug. 19-28, Johnson County Arts & Heritage Center. thebarnplayers.org
“Twelfth Night,” Sept. 6-25, Spencer Theatre. kcrep.org
“Dot,” Kansas City Actors Theatre, Sept. 7-25, City Stage. kcactors.org
Bassem Youssef, May 26-28, Comedy Club of Kansas City. thecomedyclubkc.com
Pinky Patel, June 5, Kansas City Improv. improvkc.com
Chelcie Lynn, June 9, Uptown. uptowntheater.com
Bruce Bruce, June 10-12, Kansas City Improv. improvkc.com
Margaret Cho, June 16-18, Comedy Club of Kansas City. thecomedyclubkc.com
Deon Cole, June 24-26, Kansas City Improv. improvkc.com
Sebastian Maniscalco, June 26, Arvest Bank Theatre at the Midland. arvestbanktheatre.com
Kurtis Conner, July 17, Uptown. uptowntheater.com
Celeste Barber, July 20, Uptown. uptowntheater.com
John Mulaney, July 23, Starlight. kcstarlight.com
Andrew Dice Clay, July 28-30, Comedy Club of Kansas City. thecomedyclubkc.com
Tim Heidecker, Aug. 8, The Truman. thetrumankc.com
Paul Rodriguez, Aug. 19-20, Comedy Club of Kansas City. thecomedyclubkc.com
Leanne Morgan, Aug. 27, Arvest Bank Theatre at the Midland. arvestbanktheatre.com
Judy Collins and Madeleine Peyroux, May 22, Yardley Hall. jccc.edu/midwest-trust-center/events
Limp Bizkit, May 24, Cable Dahmer Arena. cabledahmerarena.com
Phoebe Bridgers, May 31, Starlight. kcstarlight.com
Tori Amos, May 31, Music Hall. ticketmaster.com
AJR, June 1, Starlight. kcstarlight.com
Haim, June 4, Starlight. kcstarlight.com
Lord Huron, June 5, Starlight. kcstarlight.com
Jackson Browne, June 7, Music Hall. ticketmaster.com
Slipknot with Cypress Hill and Ho99o9, June 7, Azura Amphitheater. azuraamp.com
The National, June 9, GrindersKC. grinderskc.com
Snarky Puppy, June 9, Kauffman Center. kauffmancenter.org
Tech N9ne with Joey Cool, X-Raided and ¡Mayday!, June 11, Arvest Bank Theatre at the Midland. arvestbanktheatre.com
Billy Bob Thornton and The Boxmasters and Los Lobos with McKinley James, June 10, Knuckleheads. knuckleheadskc.com
Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, June 10, Uptown. uptowntheater.com
Rex Orange County, June 13, Starlight. kcstarlight.com
Béla Fleck, June 14, Kauffman Center. kauffmancenter.org
Chris Tomlin with Hillsong United, June 14, T-Mobile Center. t-mobilecenter.com
REO Speedwagon and Styx with Loverboy, June 14, Starlight. kcstarlight.com
Bon Iver, June 15, Starlight. kcstarlight.com
Banda MS de Sergio Lizarraga, June 18, T-Mobile Center. t-mobilecenter.com
Chicago and Brian Wilson, June 20, Starlight. kcstarlight.com
Make Music Kansas City, June 21, citywide. makemusicday.org/kcmo
Why Don’t We with The Aces and JVKE, June 22, Starlight. kcstarlight.com
Cody Johnson, June 23, Azura Amphitheater. azuraamp.com
Glenn Miller Orchestra, June 25, Kauffman Center. kauffmancenter.org
Maverick City Music and Kirk Franklin, June 28, T-Mobile Center. t-mobilecenter.com
Barenaked Ladies with Gin Blossoms and Toad the Wet Sprocket, June 29, Starlight. kcstarlight.com
Third Eye Blind with Taking Back Sunday and Hockey Dad, June 30, Starlight. kcstarlight.com
Classic R&B Concert featuring Howard Hewett, Miki Howard and more, July 1, Music Hall. ticketmaster.com
Rod Wave and Friends, July 3, T-Mobile Center. t-mobilecenter.com
Brandi Carlile, July 6, Starlight. kcstarlight.com
Chris Isaak and Lyle Lovett, July 7, Starlight. kcstarlight.com
Ozark Mountain Daredevils, July 8, Uptown. uptowntheater.com
Mandy Moore, July 10, Uptown. uptowntheater.com
Earth, Wind & Fire, July 12, Starlight. kcstarlight.com
Oak Ridge Boys, July 15, Ameristar. ameristarkansascity.com
Kansas, July 16, Azura Amphitheater. ameristarkansascity.com
Mary Chapin Carpenter, July 17, Liberty Hall. libertyhall.net
Maren Morris, July 21, Starlight. kcstarlight.com
Sheryl Crow, July 21, GrindersKC. grinderskc.com
Josh Groban, July 22, Starlight. kcstarlight.com
Kidz Bop Live, July 29, Starlight. kcstarlight.com
Big Time Rush, July 30, T-Mobile Center. t-mobilecenter.com
Goo Goo Dolls, Aug. 1, Starlight. kcstarlight.com
Pat Benatar and Neil Giraldo, Aug. 2, Uptown. uptowntheater.com
Breakaway Music Festival, Aug. 5-6, Azura Amphitheater. breakawayfestival.com
OneRepublic, Aug. 5, Starlight. kcstarlight.com
Bonnie Raitt with Mavis Staples, Aug. 6, Starlight. kcstarlight.com
David Gray, Aug. 7, Starlight. kcstarlight.com
Father John Misty with Suki Waterhouse, Aug. 9, Arvest Bank Theatre at the Midland. arvestbanktheatre.com
Imagine Dragons, Aug. 9, T-Mobile Center. t-mobilecenter.com
Incubus with Sublime with Rome, Aug. 12, Azura Amphitheater. azuraamp.com
The Decemberists, Aug. 13, GrindersKC. grinderskc.com
The Lumineers, Aug. 13, T-Mobile Center. t-mobilecenter.com
Melissa Etheridge, Aug. 14, Liberty Hall. libertyhall.net
Alice in Chains and Breaking Benjamin, Aug. 19, Azura Amphitheater. azuraamp.com
Midwest Reggae Fest, Aug. 19, Gem Theater. eventbrite.com
Turnpike Troubadours, Aug. 20, Azura Amphitheater. azuraamp.com
A Day to Remember with The Ghost Inside, Beartooth and Bad Omens, Aug. 21, Azura Amphitheater. azuraamp.com
Happy Together, Aug. 21, Kauffman Center. kauffmancenter.org
Chris Botti, Aug. 24, Yardley Hall. jccc.edu/midwest-trust-center/events
Alan Jackson, Aug. 27, T-Mobile Center. t-mobilecenter.com
Jack White, Aug. 29, Starlight. kcstarlight.com
The Kid Laroi, Aug. 31, Arvest Bank Theatre at the Midland. arvestbanktheatre.com
“Weird Al” Yankovic, Sept. 2, Kauffman Center. kauffmancenter.org
Roger Waters, Sept. 3, T-Mobile Center. t-mobilecenter.com
Shinedown, Sept. 3, Azura Amphitheater. azuraamp.com
Dancefestopia, Sept. 6-11, LaCygne. dancefestopia.com
Classical music and dance
Dorrance Dance, May 27, Kauffman Center. hjseries.org
Kansas City Symphony, “Saint-Saëns’ Organ Symphony, World Premiere of Rogerson’s Violin Concerto,” June 3-5, Kauffman Center. kcsymphony.org
Spire Chamber Ensemble, “There is a Balm in Gilead,” June 4, Village Presbyterian Church. spirechamberensemble.org
Kansas City Symphony, “Windborne’s The Music of the Rolling Stones: Mick Jagger & Keith Richards 1969,” June 9-10, Kauffman Center. kcsymphony.org
Landlocked Opera, “Tartuffe,” June 10 and 12, Atonement Lutheran Church. landlockedopera.org
Heartland Men’s Chorus, “Unbreakable,” June 11-12, Folly. follytheater.org
Symphony in the Flint Hills, June 11, Chase County. symphonyintheflinthills.org
Kinnor Philharmonic Orchestra, June 12, Lewis and Shirley White Theatre. thejkc.org
Kansas City Symphony, “Sleeping Beauty with Sibelius’ Violin Concerto,” June 17-19, Kauffman Center. kcsymphony.org
Kansas City Symphony, “Ode to Joy: Beethoven’s Ninth,” June 24-26, Kauffman Center. kcsymphony.org
Heartland Chamber Music Summer Festival, July 29-Aug. 6, Johnson County Community College. heartlandchambermusic.org
“Between Myth and Reality,” June 3-April 29, 2024, Nelson-Atkins Museum. nelson-atkins.org
“The Regional,” June 3-Sept. 11, Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art. kemperart.org
Prairie Village Art Show, June 10-12, Prairie Village. pvartshow.com
Downtown Overland Park Art Fair, June 24-25. downtownop.org/events/2022-dop-art-fair
“Women to Watch – A New World: 2024,” June 24-Oct. 16, Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art. kemperart.org
“American Art Deco: Designing for the People, 1918-1939,” July 9-Jan. 8, Nelson-Atkins Museum. nelson-atkins.org
Festivals and fairs
Lawrence Busker Festival, May 27-30, Downtown Lawrence. lawrencebuskerfest.com
Old Shawnee Days, June 2-5, Shawnee Town 1929 Museum. shawneetown.org
Downtown Days, June 3-5, Lee’s Summit. leessummitdowntowndays.com
Festa Italiana, June 3-5, Zona Rosa. unicokc.wordpress.com/home-3/festaitaliana
Food, Art, Drink Festival, June 3-4, Linden Square, Gladstone. lindensquare.info/foodartdrink
Meadowbrook Park Festival, June 3, Prairie Village. jcprdfoundation.org/events
Strawberry Festival, June 4, Vaile Mansion. vailemansion.org
Tacos & Tequila Festival, June 4, Legends Field. kctacosandtequila.com
Arts in the Park, June 10-11, Macken Park, North Kansas City. artsinthepark.org
KC Pridefest, June 10-12, Theis Park. kcpridealliance.org
Sugar Creek Slavic Festival, June 10-11, Sugar Creek. slavicfest.com
Enchanted Faire, June 11, Overland Park Arboretum & Botanical Gardens. artsandrec-op.org/events/enchanted-faire
Fiesta Filipina, June 11, Filipino Cultural Center. filipino-association.org
Juneteenth, June 11, Johnson County Arts & Heritage Center. jcprd.com/1823/Juneteenth-at-the-Johnson-County-Arts-He
KC Pridefest Parade, June 11, Westport. kcpridealliance.org
Boulevardia, June 17-18, Crown Center. boulevardia.com
Frontier Days, June 17-18, Edgerton. edgertonfrontierdays.com
JuneteenthKC Heritage Festival, June 18, 18th & Vine District. juneteenth-kc.com/parade
Lake Fest, June 17-18, Smithville. smithvillechamber.org
Parked!, June 24, Stump Park, Shawnee. shawnee-ks.com/visit-shawnee/event-parked-festival
Waterfest, June 24-25, Excelsior Springs. visitexcelsior.com/category/waterfest
Clay County Fair, July 8-9, Smithville. claycountyfairmo.com
Bingham-Waggoner Antique and Craft Fair, July 9, Bingham-Waggoner Estate. bwestate.net
Cass County Fair, July 12-17, Pleasant Hill. casscountyfairmo.com
Wyandotte County Fair, July 12-16, Kansas City, Kansas. wycofair.com
Amelia Earhart Festival, July 16-17, Atchison. visitatchison.com/event/amelia-earhart-festival
Platte County Fair, July 20-23, Platte City. plattecountyfair.com
Festival of Butterflies, July 21-Aug. 7, Powell Gardens. powellgardens.org
Roots 22 Reggae Music and Jerk Festival, July 22-24, Berkley Riverfront Park. friendsofreggae.com
Grand Carnivale, July 23-Aug. 7, Worlds of Fun. worldsoffun.com/events/grand-carnivale
Miami County Fair, July 23-31, Paola. miamicountykansasfair.com
Water Lantern Festival, July 23,Theis Park. waterlanternfestival.com/kansascity.php
Leavenworth County Fair, July 26-30, Tonganoxie. leavenworthcountyfair.com
Johnson County Fair, July 31-Aug. 6, Gardner. jocokansasfair.com
Missouri State Fair, Aug. 11-21, Sedalia. mostatefair.com
Ethnic Enrichment Festival, Aug. 19-21, Swope Park. eeckc.org/ethnic-enrichment-fest
Parkville Days, Aug. 19-21, Downtown Parkville. parkvillemo.org
India Fest, Aug. 21, Overland Park Convention Center. opconventioncenter.com
De Soto Days Festival, Sept. 1-3, De Soto. desotodays.com
Kansas City Renaissance Festival, Sept. 3-Oct. 16, Bonner Springs. kcrenfest.com
Memorial Day Weekend, May 27-30, National WWI Museum. theworldwar.org
JuneteenthKC Cultural Parade, June 4, 18th & Vine District. juneteenth-kc.com/parade
Wine & Brew on the Square, June 4, Independence Square. indepsquare.com
Concours d’Elegance and Heartland All British Car and Cycle Meet, June 11, Crown Center Square. heartlandallbritish.com
Symphony Designers’ Showhouse, June 10-July 3, Loose Park area. showhouse.org
“Welcome To Night Vale,” June 18, Liberty Hall. libertyhall.net
“Cheer” Live, June 23, Cable Dahmer Arena. cabledahmerarena.com
Great Lenexa BBQ Battle, June 24-25, Sar-Ko-Par Trails Park. lenexa.com
Teddy Bear Picnic, July 8, Roanoke Park. kcparks.org/event/the-teddy-bear-picnic-kc
VFW National Convention, July 16-21, Bartle Hall. vfw.org
The Great Car Show, July 17, National WWI Museum. thegreatcarshow.com
Jazzoo, Aug. 26, Kansas City Zoo. jazzookc.org
Kansas City Air Show, Sept. 3-4, New Century Air Center. kcairshow.org
This story was originally published May 22, 2022 5:00 AM.