St. Louis summers are filled with free concerts and other events. One of the most popular is the Whitaker Music Festival at the Missouri Botanical Garden. The outdoor festival is a great way to spend a summer night in St. Louis. You can see the beauty of the Botanical Garden and enjoy free performances from some of the area's best musicians.
When and Where
The Whitaker Music Festival is held each summer on Wednesday evenings from June through early August.
In 2017, the festival is May 31 through August 2. The free concerts are held at the Cohen Amphitheater inside the Missouri Botanical Garden. The music starts at 7:30 p.m., but you can arrive early. Admission to the Garden is free on Wednesdays from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m.
2017 Schedule of Musicians
May 31 - Roland Johnson & Soul Endeavor
June 7 - Jack Grelle
June 14 - The Gaslight Squares
June 21 - Hazard to Ya Booty
June 28 - Big Mike Aguirre and the Blu City All Stars
July 5 - Beth Bombara
July 12 - Ptah Williams
July 19 - Kevin Bowers
July 26 - The Mighty Pines
August 2 - Brothers Lazaroff
Food and Drinks
Visitors are allowed to bring blankets, chairs, coolers and picnic baskets into the Garden during the Whitaker Music Festival. Many people arrive an hour or two before the music begins to enjoy a picnic dinner. The Garden also sells sandwiches, hot dogs, desserts, beer, wine and soda for those who prefer not to bring their own.
Bar-b-que grills and large tables are not permitted. The Garden also asks that visitors limit the amount of glass bottles and containers they bring in. Broken glass is a safety hazard and negatively impacts the beauty of the Garden. Organizers recommend beer in cans, boxed wine or using other kinds of refillable drink ware.
Kids can run around and burn off some energy before the concerts begin. The Children's Garden is open from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m., on festival nights with free admission for everyone. The Children's Garden has plenty of fun activities for kids of all ages including slides, caves, rope ladders, a fort and treehouse. On particularly hot nights, the splash area is a great place for cooling off. There's also a creek with boats and a lock and dam system. All kids at the Children's Garden must be accompanied by an adult.
Where to Park
Parking is available at the Garden at the Ridgway Visitor Center. There are also several parking lots near Shaw Boulevard and Interstate 44. Another option is to park along Tower Grove Avenue, though street parking there is limited. For more information on parking, see the Garden's parking map. Pedestrians can also enter the Garden at the pedestrian gates on Alfred Avenue, as well as, two additional entrances along Tower Grove Avenue at Shaw Boulevard and Cleveland Avenue.