Whitaker Music Festival

Birds singing in the warm, rose-scented evenings signal it’s time for the summer Whitaker Music Festival. The open-air festival presents free Wednesday evening concerts under the stars every June through August.

Visitors are welcome to bring their own picnic supper, baskets or coolers. Picnic fare, beer, wine, soda and sno-cones are also available for purchase on-site.

The festival is funded by the Whitaker Foundation, which supports St. Louis arts and parks to promote common heritage, celebrate diversity and encourage vitality within the community.


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2016 Whitaker Music Festival Schedule

August 3 Joe Mancuso
Award-winning vocalist Joe Mancuso earns critical and popular acclaim for his powerful and dynamic range of baritone jazz stylings. A master at placing notes with the most tasteful use of syncopation, Mancuso swings! The St. Louis native has phrasing that is exciting, fresh, and unique. Don’t miss Joe’s intense, raw energy delivered with complete control. Mancuso’s debut album Cut to the Chase won “Best Album (2014) and he earned “Best Musical Act” (2014) from the Riverfront Times (RFT) Readers Poll — the premier entertainment news of St. Louis. After taking a 15 year hiatus from live performances, tragic events inspired Joe to return to the music scene in 2011. Within months of his comeback, Mancuso won “Best Vocalist” (2012) in the RFT Readers Poll and his popularity has sky-rocketed ever since! Whether performing a ballad, bossa nova, blues or up-tempo swing tune, Joe Mancuso is a crowd-pleaser that takes the audience on an emotional ride every time. Mancuso earned his Bachelor’s degree in Jazz Studies from Webster University. He grew up on “The Hill” -- the little Italy of St. Louis -- playing guitar and performing original music in talent shows.


Previous Performances This Season

June 1 The Feyza Eren Group
Internationally acclaimed jazz vocalist Feyza Eren returned to her hometown of St. Louis in 2011, from Istanbul, after spending 16 years singing jazz with Turkey's finest musicians. She performed at various concert halls and jazz clubs, and was invited to prestigious jazz festivals throughout Turkey, including the ‘Val De Jazz’ festival in France with the Ricky Ford Orchestra. Feyza was recently featured in HEC-TV's, I Love Jazz with Don Wolff. She has performed at many notable venues in St. Louis including the Sheldon Concert Hall’s Notes from Home series, the Jacoby Arts Center, and the Chesterfield Jazz Festival in 2015. Feyza also celebrated the release of 6 CDs in 2014-2015 with Steve Davis, including their newest 2016 release, Imagination. The group will play a mix of jazz standards and pop influenced tunes as well as some originals, with unique arrangements.

June 8 The Steve Ewing Band
St. Louis based musician Steve Ewing is best known as the golden voice behind the seven piece powerhouse The Urge. Formed in high school back in late '80s, The Urge took their eclectic mix of punk, reggae, hip hop, ska, and sent a sonic shockwave from the Midwest that can still be felt to this day. Since The Urge, Steve has been involved in a multitude of projects including production work for artists such as Lojic, Egress, and many others. However, the passion still lies in performing and he tears it up onstage every chance he gets in for a stellar mix of classic covers, Urge favorites and outstanding selections from any one of the six independently released albums including the latest, Zodiac.

June 15 ClusterPluck
ClusterPluck mixes bluegrass, folk, rock, and country into a hearty sonic stew. Throwing tradition aside while utilizing banjo, guitar, bass, , violin, mandolin, and dobro, this St. Louis, Mo 4-piece produce an up-beat, grassy energy with a little country jam for listeners of all ages to savor.

June 22 The Grooveliner
The Grooveliner is a St. Louis funk/rock band comprised of six seasoned local musicians. If it grooves, they play it.        

June 29 Saint Louis Social Club
Every professional musician has a “dream band”. It is made up of members who have crossed paths for years doing memorable shows after which there was a feeling unlike any other and a certainty that if the chance arose, they would work together again.
This is that band for all the members of the Saint Louis Social Club.

July 6 Jay Farrar
As a founding member of Uncle Tupelo and Son Volt, songwriter Jay Farrar helped popularize the alt-country movement of the 1990s. He also launched a solo career during the following decade, making it plain that his musical ambitions stretched far beyond the retro-leaning twang of his contemporaries.

July 13 Ptah Williams
Ptah Williams is one of St. Louis' finest jazz pianists. He makes the piano breathe and dance. One of his great strengths is that he is able to shine both as a soloist and as an accompanist. As a soloist, he assumes centerstage with grace and confidence; as an accompanist he supports the soloist with a style that is varied and innovative, yet never overpowering.

July 20 Erin Bode Group
The Erin Bode Group creates music forged from the Americana of its members' midwestern roots, infused with jazz grooves and made magic by Bode's bell-like voice. Sophisticated arrangements and attention to phrasing, both vocal and instrumental, further distinguish the band's fresh sound.

July 27 The Cree Rider Family Band
The Cree Rider Family Band is rooted in a country music sound, with elements of folk, americana and rock n’ roll. One part Gram Parsons and Emmylou Harris, one part Neil Young and Crazy Horse, the Family Band stays true to its own instincts to create a modern honky-tonk country sound that is rooted in tradition but firmly planted in the here and now. Vocals and harmony are a focus, but the full band expertly compliments each song. Known for their energetic and engaging live shows, the Cree Rider Family Band has been called a “subversive country band that wears its heart on its sleeve. You’ll dance, cry, laugh, and sing along.” Cree Rider Family Band has had songs placed episodes of Justified, True Blood, Bloodline, John Leguizamo’s Comedy Special Ghetto Klown, as well as other television shows and independent films.

Hours & Admission

Wednesdays, June 1 to August 3 
Music begins at 7:30 p.m.
Last entry at 9 p.m.

Free admission after 5 p.m.
The Children’s Garden remains open with free admission from 5 to 7 p.m.

RSVP and tell your friends on Facebook!

Event Information

The Garden is a tobacco-free campus; smoking is not allowed anywhere, indoors or outside, and visitors will be asked to extinguish or discard tobacco items. Soliciting is not permitted. Please no pets or barbecue grills.

In case of rain
Check for the latest updates on Facebook and Twitter.
View current forecast

Pedestrian Access
Beginning at 5 p.m. on Whitaker Festival performance evenings, visitors may access the Garden through additional pedestrian gates on Alfred Ave. (west side of the Garden) and Tower Grove Ave. (one near the intersection of Tower Grove and Shaw and another at the intersection of Tower Grove and Cleveland Ave.).

Hit a Green Note!

green music noteHelp us create a "waste-free" Whitaker and ensure a sustainable festival experience!

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Free public parking is available at the Ridgway Visitor Center and at other authorized lots nearby, as well as along Tower Grove Avenue. Download a parking map

Please respect our neighbors and refrain from parking on neighborhood residential streets. 

Bicycle Parking
Bike racks provided by Trailnet are located at the Ridgway Visitor Center.