The big tickets for the big Chicago music festivals are going fast, but here are some music events to look forward to a little closer to home:
• After not visiting Ravinia for quite some time, I reintroduced myself last summer and found a completely fresh concert experience. The addition of trendy new dining options — including the brand spanking new upstairs BMO Club overlooking the lawn — makes it an appealing option for a summer evening. The schedule is jammed with stellar performances many nights of most weeks during the season, but a few intriguing options caught my eye: Jennifer Hudson making her Ravinia debut Sunday, July 14, for a Reach Teach Play benefit show; a Chicago Symphony Orchestra-accompanied screening of the original “Ghostbusters” movie Sunday, July 21; and Queen Latifah and Common sharing a bill Saturday, Aug. 31. Ravinia Festival, 418 Sheridan Road, Highland Park. See schedule and ticket info at ravinia.org.
• Local music reaches a summer apex when the 7th annual Homegrown Arts & Music Festival takes over BaseCamp Pub at the tail end of July. The largest celebration of original music in the suburbs will showcase nearly 30 Chicago-area bands and plenty of acoustic performers across three stages, along with art vendors and food at this family-friendly event. Since I started going four years ago, Homegrown has been the place to see, meet and work with many incredible musicians. And with the killer lineup stretching across two days this year, I couldn’t be happier if I hand-picked it myself. 1 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, July 27 and 28, at BaseCamp Pub, 5750 Lakeside Drive, Lisle. $18 per day; $35 for two-day pass at homegrownartsandmusicfestival.com; discounted tickets are available from band members while supplies last.
• Schaumburg’s going country with the Freedom & Dignity Festival, set for Saturday, Aug. 10, at Schaumburg Boomers Stadium. The daylong celebration of country music features headliner Toby Keith, with support from Clay Walker, Colt Ford, Craig Campbell and Chicago’s own Six String Crossing. The stage is in the outfield, so guests can listen in the field, the seats or standing room only up front; check the seating chart for a map of seating tiers. Proceeds from the concert will benefit Café Liberty, a culinary training program to help veterans and their family members learn the skills necessary to earn a job in the food industry. Gates open at 3 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 10, at Schaumburg Boomers Stadium, 1999 S. Springinsguth Road, Schaumburg. Berm tickets along left and right field are $30; $50 for seats around the diamond; field seats are $75; and VIP passes are $175; Tickets for Veterans packages are also available. $20 general stadium parking passes and $30 VIP parking passes must be purchased in advance; no parking passes will be sold at the stadium. freedomanddignityfestival.com.
• What seemed like a crazy idea when I first heard it turned into one of the most interesting events in the Northwest suburbs. Restaurants, bars and shops throughout Mount Prospect throw open their doors for the 56 Music Fix, a weekend of nonstop music of all different genres in both the expected and a few offbeat locations. I wandered a bit and caught some hot rock at a bar and live piano out on the street before eventually settling in for an afternoon acoustic set by Evidence of Time Travel at a cute boutique downtown. The second annual event is set for late August and is poised to be even bigger than last year’s, including the addition of Saturday’s 56 Artisan Fix, a juried art show and market at the Lions Park Memorial Band Shell. Check out the ever-growing list of venues, artists and acts at 56musicfix.org. Friday through Sunday, August 23-25, in downtown Mount Prospect. Free. Check locations and schedules at 56musicfix.org.
• Just as I’ll be starting to come down from my Riot Fest rush, Punk the Burbs 3 swoops in to save the day. The September fest brings together some of the best punk, ska and pop-punk bands the region has to offer playing side-by-side on the Basecamp stage with national touring acts such as Tsunami Bomb and The Mr. T Experience. PTB3 is also growing into a two-day extravaganza, so come prepared to dance. 3 p.m. Friday and Saturday, Sept. 20 and 21, at BaseCamp Pub, 5750 Lakeside Drive, Lisle. $20 per day; $30 for a two-day pass at ticketweb.com.
• Brian Shamie is a Daily Herald multiplatform editor and local music junkie. Find him on Facebook or follow him on Twitter at @thatshamieguy. Brian also keeps tabs on the Chicago-area music scene at chicagosoundcheck.com.