16 Weeks of Summer in KC: Disney exhibit, Olivia Rodrigo, theater, festivals galore

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Astronomically speaking, summer runs from the June solstice to the September equinox, meaning June 20 to Sept. 22 this year.

But we know better.

The 14 (occasionally 15) weeks from Memorial Day to Labor Day define summer for most people, but even that isn’t long enough this year in Kansas City.

With so many big events — highlighted by the opening of “Disney100: The Exhibition” at Union Station — happening the week before Memorial Day, we’re compelled to begin our summer entertainment guide a bit early.

And the week of Labor Day merits mention as well because it kicks off the 2024-25 indoor theater scene locally with the Kansas City Repertory Theatre’s production of “Once.”

So, we wind up with 16 Weeks of Summer for 2024. Here is a breakdown of the top entertainment options, with one featured event each week:

May 20-26

“Disney100: The Exhibition,” opening May 24 in Union Station, will celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Walt Disney Co. The exhibition in the 20,000-square-foot Bank of America Gallery will feature interactive installations and artifacts, works of art, costumes, props and memorabilia drawn from films. 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Monday-Friday, 10 a.m.-7 p.m. Saturday, 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Sunday (through Sept. 2); 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Saturday, 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Sunday (Sept. 3-Nov. 30). $18.50-$50. unionstation.org.


Fortopia, May 23-Sept. 2, Powell Gardens. powellgardens.org

Lawrence Busker Festival, May 24-26, downtown Lawrence. lawrencebuskerfest.com

“Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood: A Grr-ific Exhibit,” May 25-Sept. 2, Crown Center. crowncenter.com

Kansas City Symphony, Celebration at the Station, May 26, Union Station. kcsymphony.org

Pete Davidson, May 26, Uptown. uptowntheater.com

“The Cher Show” will run May 28-June 2 at Starlight Theatre.
“The Cher Show” will run May 28-June 2 at Starlight Theatre.

May 27-June 2

“The Cher Show,” which ran on Broadway in 2018-19, will kick off Starlight Theatre’s seven-show AdventHealth Broadway Series. The jukebox musical features three women sharing the title role as the pop star grows into a superstar and an icon. 8 p.m. May 28-June 2 ($12-$100). kcstarlight.com.


Enchanted Faire, May 31-June 3, Overland Park Arboretum and Botanical Gardens. artsandrec-op.org

Big Slick Celebrity Weekend, May 31 at Kauffman Stadium, June 1 at T-Mobile Center. bigslickkc.org

Festa Italiana, May 31-June 2, Zona Rosa. zonarosa.com

Kansas City Symphony, “Joshua Bell and Ravel,” May 31-June 2, Kauffman Center. kcsymphony.org

Tacos and Tequila Festival, June 1, Legends Field. kctacosandtequila.com

Phase Fest featuring Yellowcard, Bayside and more, June 2, Legends Field. notjustaphasefest.com

June 3-9

This will be the biggest weekend of the summer — maybe of the year — for music in Kansas City. Check out this lineup:

James Taylor and His All-Star Band, 8 p.m. June 5, Starlight ($189.75; other price levels sold out). kcstarlight.com.

Noah Kahan, 6:30 p.m. June 5, Azura Amphitheater ($299.50; other price levels sold out). azuraamp.com.

Lionel Richie with Earth, Wind & Fire, 7:30 p.m. June 6, T-Mobile Center ($35.95-$495.95). t-mobilecenter.com.

Kansas City Symphony, “An Evening With Yo-Yo Ma,” 7 p.m. June 6, Kauffman Center (sold out). kcsymphony.org.

Kansas City Symphony with Katharine McPhee, Symphony in the Flint Hills, 1 p.m. June 8 ($50-$110), Red Ranch in Greenwood County. symphonyintheflinthills.org.

Randy Travis, 7:30 p.m. June 8, Folly ($46-$126). follytheater.org.

Tim McGraw with Carly Pearce, 7 p.m. June 8, T-Mobile Center ($34.50-$360). t-mobilecenter.com.

Sarah McLachlan with Feist, 7:30 p.m. June 9, Starlight ($25.50-$150.50). kcstarlight.com.


Old Shawnee Days, June 6-9, Shawnee Town 1929. oldshawneedays.org

Downtown Days, June 7-9, downtown Lee’s Summit. downtownls.org

KC PrideFest and Parade, June 7-9, Theis Park. kcpridealliance.org

Midwest Fest 2024, June 7-9, Hy-Vee Arena. midwestfest24.com

June 10-16

The annual Heart of America Shakespeare Festival in Southmoreland Park will produce “Julius Caesar,” with veteran stage, TV and movie actor John Rensenhouse starring in the title role. 8 p.m. Tuesday-Sunday June 11-30 (free). kcshakes.org.


Chris Stapleton with Marcus King and Allen Stone, June 12, T-Mobile Center. t-mobilecenter.com

Boulevardia, June 14-15, Crown Center. boulevardia.com

Frontier Days, June 14-15, Edgerton. edgertonfrontierdays.com

Wanda Sykes, June 15, Music Hall. ticketmaster.com

JuneteenthKC Heritage Festival, June 15, 18th & Vine District. juneteenth-kc.com

Monster Jam, June 15, Arrowhead. monsterjam.com

Kansas City Symphony music director Michael Stern will bid farewell June 21-23 at the Kauffman Center.
Kansas City Symphony music director Michael Stern will bid farewell June 21-23 at the Kauffman Center.

June 17-23

Michael Stern will conclude his 19-year run as music director of the Kansas City Symphony before Matthias Pintscher takes over with “Stern’s Farewell With Sibelius and Barber” at the Kauffman Center. 8 p.m. June 21-22, 2 p.m. June 23 ($39-$135). kcsymphony.org.


Punch Brothers, June 18, Kauffman Center. kauffmancenter.org

REO Speedwagon with Night Ranger, June 19, Starlight. kcstarlight.com

Waterfest, June 21-22, Excelsior Springs. visitexcelsior.com/waterfest

June 24-30

It will be throwback week at the Starlight with musical groups that shone in the late 1980s and 1990s.

Pixies and Modest Mouse with Cat Power, 6:30 p.m. June 24 ($24.75-$129.50). kcstarlight.com.

New Kids on the Block with Paula Abdul and DJ Jazzy Jeff, 7 p.m. June 25 ($29.95-$199.95). kcstarlight.com.


Country Stampede, June 27-29, Azura Amphitheater. azuraamp.com

Lyle Lovett, June 28, Uptown. uptowntheater.com

July 1-7

The city’s biggest Fourth of July celebration, the Stars and Stripes Picnic on the grounds of the National WWI Museum and Memorial, will include music and other activities throughout the late afternoon and evening, capped by a fireworks display. 3 p.m. July 4 (free). theworldwar.org.


“Disney’s Newsies,” July 5-Sept. 8, New Theatre and Restaurant. newtheatre.com

Kenny Chesney, 5 p.m. July 6, Arrowhead ($45-$294). ticketmaster.com

July 8-14

The KC Fringe Festival will celebrate its 20th year with its usual array of theater, dance, film and more at venues in downtown, midtown and beyond. July 12-28 (prices TBA). kcfringe.org.


“Disney’s The Little Mermaid,” July 9-14, Starlight. kcstarlight.com

Teddy Bear Picnic, July 12, Swope Park. kcparks.org

The Beach Boys, July 14, Uptown. uptowntheater.com

The Great Car Show, July 14, National WWI Museum. thegreatcarshow.com

July 15-21

Music, food trucks, art activities and lawn games will fill the area from the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art to Brush Creek for Kansas City’s Lawn Party. 4-8 p.m. July 21 (free). kcparks.org.


“Barbie the Movie”: In Concert, July 15, Starlight. kcstarlight.com

Niall Horan, July 16, Starlight. kcstarlight.com

Amelia Earhart Festival, July 18-20, Atchison. visitatchison.com

Lindsey Stirling, July 19, Starlight. kcstarlight.com

Pop sensation Olivia Rodrigo will come to the T-Mobile Center on July 26.
Pop sensation Olivia Rodrigo will come to the T-Mobile Center on July 26.

July 22-28

Taylor Swift came to Arrowhead Stadium for last summer’s two most buzzworthy concerts in Kansas City. This summer, Olivia Rodrigo at T-Mobile Center will take the top spot. 7:30 p.m. July 26 (sold out). t-mobilecenter.com.


Maren Morris, July 22, Midland. midlandkc.com

“Moulin Rouge! The Musical,” PNC Broadway in Kansas City, July 23-Aug. 4, Music Hall. broadwayinkc.com

“Shrek the Musical,” July 26-28, Starlight. kcstarlight.com

Johnson County Fair, July 28-Aug. 4, Gardner. jocokansasfair.com

July 29-Aug. 4

For country music fans, two nights of Morgan Wallen’s One Night at a Time tour at Arrowhead likely is the summer’s highlight; with Lainey Wilson, Nate Smith and Ella Langley. 6 p.m. Aug. 1-2 ($155-$699.75). chiefs.com.


Melissa Etheridge and Jewell, July 31, Starlight. kcstarlight.com

Jon Anderson, Aug. 2, Azura Amphitheater. azuraamp.com

Boyz II Men with Robin Thicke, Aug. 4, Starlight. kcstarlight.com

Aug. 5-11

Kansas City Actors Theatre will present “Trouble in Mind,” a comedy-drama by actress-turned-playwright Alice Childress set in the world of 1950s Broadway, at City Stage Theatre. Opens 7:30 p.m. Aug. 7; runs through Aug. 25 ($20-$52). kcactors.org.


The Revivalists with Flipturn, Aug. 6, Grinders KC. grinderskc.com

Blink-182 with Pierce the Veil, Aug. 9, T-Mobile Center. t-mobilecenter.com

Hozier, Aug. 9, Azura Amphitheater. azuraamp.com

“Come From Away,” Aug. 6-11, Starlight. kcstarlight.com

The Ethnic Enrichment Festival will feature dancing, along with other arts and food, Aug. 16-18 at Swope Park.
The Ethnic Enrichment Festival will feature dancing, along with other arts and food, Aug. 16-18 at Swope Park.

Aug. 12-18

The traditions and food of more than 60 cultural groups will take center stage during the Ethnic Enrichment Festival at Swope Park. 6-10 p.m. Aug. 16, noon-10 p.m. Aug. 17, noon-6 p.m. Aug. 18 ($5). eeckc.org.


The Smashing Pumpkins, Aug. 14, Starlight. kcstarlight.com

Luke Bryan, Aug. 15, T-Mobile Center. t-mobilecenter.com

Turnpike Troubadours with Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit and more, Aug. 16, Azura Amphitheater. azuraamp.com

“Bluey’s Big Play — The Stage Show,” Aug. 17-18, Kauffman Center. kauffmancenter.org

Spotlight: Charlie Parker, the annual August tribute to the jazz legend and Kansas City native, will include a Kansas City Jazz Orchestra concert Aug. 24 at the Folly.
Spotlight: Charlie Parker, the annual August tribute to the jazz legend and Kansas City native, will include a Kansas City Jazz Orchestra concert Aug. 24 at the Folly.

Aug. 19-25

Spotlight: Charlie Parker will celebrate the homegrown saxophone legend with events throughout the area during August, highlighted by a Kansas City Jazz Orchestra concert at the Folly. 7 p.m. Aug. 24 (prices TBA). spotlightcharlieparker.org.


Green Day, Aug. 20, Azura Amphitheater. azuraamp.com

Zach Bryan with Levi Turner Matt Maeson, Aug. 20, T-Mobile Center. t-mobilecenter.com

“West Side Story,” Aug. 20-25, Starlight. kcstarlight.com

Dierks Bentley, Aug. 23, T-Mobile Center. t-mobilecenter.com

Aug. 26-Sept. 1

Labor Day weekend in these parts traditionally means three popular festivals:

Kansas City Irish Fest, 5-11 p.m. Aug. 30, 11 a.m.-11 p.m. Aug. 31-Sept. 1, Crown Center ($8-$60). kcirishfest.com.

Santa-Cali-Gon Days Festival, noon-11 p.m. Aug. 30, 10 a.m.-11 p.m. Aug. 31-Sept. 1, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Sept. 2, Independence Square (free). santacaligon.com.

Kansas City Renaissance Festival, 10 a.m.-7 p.m. weekends Aug. 31-Oct. 13, plus Sept. 2 and Oct. 14 (closes at 5 p.m. on Oct. 14), Bonner Springs ($12.50-$24.95). kcrenfest.com.


Barry Manilow, Aug. 25, T-Mobile Center. t-mobilecenter.com

Glass Animals with Eyedress and Blondshell, Aug. 31, Azura Amphitheater. azuraamp.com

Sept. 2-8

Kansas City Repertory Theatre will kick off its 2024-25 season at Spencer Theatre with the musical “Once,” based on the 2007 Irish movie of the same name. Opens Sept. 3; runs through Sept. 22 (single tickets will go on sale July 17). kcrep.org.


O.A.R., Sept. 5, Starlight. kcstarlight.com

Marc Maron, Sept. 7, Midland. midlandkc.com

Great Gatsby Party, Sept. 7, Union Station. greatgatsbyparty.com