15 Things To Do In KC This Weekend, June 20-23

Flatland Calvary. Photo by Fernando Garcia.

Here are 15 great things to do in Kansas City this weekend, June 20-23, including: two BBQ battles, Flatland Calvary and The Flaming Lips.

The Heart Of America Shakespeare Festival

Neighbors of Southmoreland Park, next to the Nelson and KC Art Institute, will tell you they know it’s summer when they see the outdoor theater scaffolding go up in the park. This year, the festival will present Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar. The summer Shakespeare performances start June 11, but run weekends through the end of June. 

June 11–30. Weekends. Gates open 6 pm, show at 8 pm. Southmoreland Park.

Shakespeare Festival. Photography by Jeff Bhusted.
Coffee Club At Central Park

Parents can take a break to caffeinate with Busy Bean Play Cafe, with an activity and photo opp for the family. There’s also a storytime with local author Katie Marie and Sensible Play sensory fun, including a kids book exchange and Macaroni KID activities. Families can enjoy the fresh air in Central Park while the kids play at the playground, splash fountain, along with the provided activities every Thursday morning during summer. Pop-ups and activities change weekly. 

June 20. 9-11 am. Central Park (Zona Rosa).

Warren Zeiders

Miller Lite Hot Country Nights is back for the summer season, bringing renowned country artists every Thursday to KC Live! In P&L. This week there will be a performance by Warren Zeiders, a rising country singer-songwriter known for blending traditional country roots and modern influences.

June 20. 7 pm. KC Live!

Deep Dark Nothingness

In this new play by KC native Sarah Aptilon, presented by Paso a Paso Productions in association with The Living Room Theatre, Midwest Trust Center, and JCCC, a family vacation goes awry as history repeats itself in this new dark comedy by Sarah Aptilon. Deep Dark Nothingness is directed by Rusty Sneary and features Vanessa Davis, Bob Elliott, Peggy Friesen and Nellie Maple.

June 20–23. Times vary. Bodker Black Box Theatre at Midwest Trust Center.

Deep Dark Nothingness. Courtesy photo.
Friday Summer Concerts In Central Park 

Enjoy live music with the free summer concerts in Central Park at Zona Rosa every Friday in June and July (minus Fourth of July weekend). Guests are encouraged to arrive early to dine and unwind at a nearby restaurant or to grab a patio spot at Bravo Italian Kitchen, which overlooks the stage. Come early and bring a lawn chair or blanket to snag the perfect spot to enjoy live music. This week, Big Time Grain Co. will be performing.

June 21. 6:30 pm. Central Park (Zona Rosa).

Zona Rosa concert. Courtesy photo.
Off the Wall

The Library’s annual summer film series returns with free movies to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the library and the 20th anniversary of the Central Library branch. Co-presented by Young Friends of the Kansas City Public Library, the 2024 Off the Wall series on Central Library’s Rooftop Terrace starts with summer 2023’s blockbuster Barbie.

June 21. 8:45 pm. Rooftop terrace on the Central Library.

Great Lenexa BBQ Battle

Started over 40 years ago with 12 contestants and 12 judges, then-Governor John Carlin declared the contest the official Kansas State Championship in 1984. In the decades since, the Great Lenexa BBQ Battle has attracted cooks from all over to compete for the coveted title of Grand Champion. This two-day fest includes free children’s activities like face painters, balloon artists and bounce houses, a performance by Superstar Mafia and food and drinks available for purchase—and of course, tons of smoking, grilling and barbecue. Competition judging begins Saturday morning and the BBQ Battle contest winners are announced later that day.

June 21 & 22. Times vary. Sar-Ko-Par Trails Park.

Courtesy photo.
Q BBQ Fest

The fourth-annual Q BBQ Fest returns for two-days of smoking, grilling and eating, along with A Live Fire Experience with celebrity chef Tyler Florence. This elevated barbecue festival gives guests the chance to sample the best barbecue from local and national pit masters on the Chiefs’ home turf, with VIP tickets available for an additional All-You-Can Drink experience.

June 21 & 22. Times vary. GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium, Lot C.

Elsewhere Festival and Conference

The brand-new Elsewhere Festival and Conference was created and produced by Midtopia, a Wichita-based artist and music worker collective, and both the festival and conference will take an unconventional approach to supporting regional arts by building community and opportunity for musicians and music workers in the Midwest. The festival will feature performances from Killer Mike, Lane 8, Vince Staples, Steve Aoki and more, as well as programming designed to support local creatives.

June 21 & 22. Various times. Various locations in Wichita. 

Killer Mike. Photo by Shane Smith.

Now in its 41st year, Waterfest is Excelsior’s annual family-friendly summertime celebration. The two-day event features live music, a Waterfest parade, hot air balloon rides, an annual quilt showcase, a beer garden, kids’ games, a car and bike show, fireworks and more. Broadway is transformed into a showcase featuring nearly 100 booths with handmade arts, crafts and clothing, along with a variety of festival food and drinks.

June 21 & 22. Times vary. W. Broadway St, Excelsior Springs, MO.

Stern’s Farewell with Sibelius and Barber

Kansas City Symphony presents Stern’s Farewell with Sibelius and Barber, as the season’s closing program. To celebrate Michael Stern’s illustrious and triumphant tenure as conductor for the Kansas City Symphony, they are performing Felix Mendelssohn’s “Overture to A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” Samuel Barber’s “Symphony No. 1” and Jean Sibelius’ “Symphony No. 2,” each a powerful and moving testament to the longtime conductor and musical craft.

June 21 & 22. 8 pm. Helzberg Hall.

Photography by Todd Rosenberg.
Kaw River Roots Festival

The 4th annual Kaw River Roots Festival features Grammy winner the Tim O’Brien Band, and playing for the first time in five years, Split Lip Rayfield. Plus, almost two dozen other acts in picturesque Abe & Jakes Landing, overlooking the Kaw River. Bonus: a new addition this year is a Bluegrass Brunch on Sunday.

June 21–23. Times vary. Abe & Jakes Landing, Lawrence.

Flatland Cavalry 

Texas-based Country-Americana band Flatland Cavalry exploded in popularity after writing and recording for The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes. They are hitting KC’s favorite outdoor venue in support of their newest album, released late last year.

June 22. 6 pm. Grinders.

Flatland Calvary. Photo by Fernando Garcia.
The Flaming Lips

Formed in Oklahoma City in 1983, The Flaming Lips became an important fixture in psychedelic rock, although not reaching mainstream popularity until the late ’90s and early aughts. This tour celebrates the 20-year anniversary of the album Yoshimi Battles The Pink Robots.

June 23. 7 pm. Uptown Theater.

French Cassettes

San Francisco based indie trio French Cassettes are coming to one of KC’s most intimate venues in support of their recently released third album, Benzene, the follow up to 2020’s highly anticipated Rolodex. Daniel Gum and The Creepy Jingles open.

June 23. 7 pm. recordBar.

Photo by Marisa Bazan.

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