We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: this summer is gonna be packed. Don’t believe us? Just take a peek at our 2024 guide to summer festivals, fairs, music series, and more. Oh, and add a big new series to that guide: the just-announced Summer of Soul: Outdoor Marketplace & Concert Series.

Curated and organized by local engagement marketing firm Culture x Design, Summer of Soul will take place every other Wednesday, from July 10 through September 18, on the Peck Pavilion and outdoor lawn of the downtown Marcus Performing Arts Center. The series will feature free shows from national artists like The Robert Randolph Band and Talib Kweli, as well as local stars like Growing Nation and De La Buena. All Summer of Soul events will be free and open to the public, and will run from 5-10 p.m.

Here’s the music lineup, with blurbs courtesy of Culture x Design:

Wednesday, July 10 – GROWING NATION
A local favorite over the past 25 years for its unique fusion of R&B, Soul, and Hip-Hop, Growing Nation reunites for its first live performance in over a year, providing a rare opportunity to experience the band’s classic material.

Known for their electrifying live shows, The Robert Randolph Band, led by its pedal steel guitarist namesake, will lead festivalgoers in a joyous, gospel-infused genre-bending performance courtesy of their multiple Grammy-nominated studio albums.

Wednesday, August 7 – MOONCHILD
A favorite among local fans of jazzy soul, the L.A.-based alternative R&B trio, fronted by Amber Navran’s at-ease vocals, brings its lush, Soulquarians-inspired grooves back to Milwaukee.

Wednesday, August 21 – TALIB KWELI
With a nearly two-decade career, Brooklyn MC Talib Kweli boasts a resume that includes albums with rapping partner Mos Def as one-half of Black Star and super-producer Hi-Tek for Reflection Eternal, not to mention collaborations with Kanye West and Pharrell Williams for his catalog of landmark solo material.

Wednesday, September 4 – BREW CITY SOUL
A dynamic collective of premier local musicians, Brew City Soul delivers an eclectic mix of R&B, Soul, Jazz, and Hip-Hop, catering to nearly every musical taste.

Wednesday, September 18 – DE LA BUENA
This celebrated ten-piece band, a mainstay of Milwaukee’s summer festival season, combines Afro-Cuban and Latin Jazz influences, offering a sophisticated Latin dance vibe with a psychedelic touch.

The marketplace aspect of Summer of Soul, meanwhile, will feature “a diverse array of over 50 vendors, including local artists, restaurateurs, crafters, and makers, each adding their unique touch to the event.”

“Summer of Soul is a unique opportunity for our community to come together and enjoy world-class entertainment at no cost, breaking barriers and fostering a strong sense of belonging,” says Geraud Blanks, Managing Director of Culture x Design, in a press release. “It’s a tribute to Milwaukee’s rich culture, creativity, and community, where diversity thrives and individuals from all walks of life immerse themselves in limitless artistic expressions. And the best part? It’s free!”

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Milwaukee Record’s 2024 guide to summer festivals, fairs, music series, more

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Co-Founder and Editor

Matt Wild weighs between 140 and 145 pounds. He lives on Milwaukee's east side.