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Taste of Chicago announces headliners

Performers from the 2014 Taste of Chicago include Nickle Creek (clockwise from above), Janelle Monae, Jeff Tweedy and Saints of Valory.
Performers from the 2014 Taste of Chicago include Nickle Creek (clockwise from above), Janelle Monae, Jeff Tweedy and Saints of Valory.

CHICAGO — The city of Chicago and the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE) is pleased to announce the lineup of performers at the Petrillo Music Shell for the 34th annual Taste of Chicago, July 9-13 in Grant Park. Admission is free, and festival hours are 11 a.m. – 9 p.m. Wednesday through Friday and 10 a.m. – 9 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

“We are thrilled to announce this fantastic lineup of performers for this year’s Taste of Chicago,” said Mayor Rahm Emanuel. “The free admission Taste draws a million plus residents and visitors to downtown Chicago each summer to experience award-winning entertainers while enjoying a taste of Chicago’s diverse culinary scene.”

Tickets for the seating area at the Petrillo Music Shell went on sale on May 22 at the Taste website, tasteofchicago.us.

AWOLNATION will headline the Petrillo Music Shell on July 9 to kick off the Taste of Chicago. The dynamic electronic rock band was formed and fronted by Aaron Bruno, formerly of Under the Influence of Giants, Hometown Hero and Insurgence. The band’s 2011 debut album “Megalithic Symphony” includes the mega hits “Sail,” “Not Your Fault” and “Kill Your Heroes.” The band is currently working on a second studio album and they released two new songs from that album, “ThisKidsNotAlright” and “Some Kind of Joke.”

The alternative rock band Saints of Valory from Austin, Texas, is set to open for AWOLNATION on July 9. The band is fronted by lead singer and bass guitarist Gavin Jasper, along with guitarist Godfrey Thomson, drummer Gerard Labou and keyboardist Stephen Buckle. The band’s most recent album, “Possibilities” in 2013 via Atlantic Records, includes the hits “Long Time Coming” and “Neon Eyes (Into the Deep).”

Janelle Monáe, the award-winning songwriter, performer, producer and “avant-garde funkstress” will headline the Petrillo Music Shell on July 10, presented by Illinois Lottery. With her 2013 album “The Electric Lady,” Monáe presents a collection inspired by her life experiences while the powerful women in her life were inspiration for the first single “Q.U.E.E.N.” Her “superpowers” are sure to be on full display for Chicago fans.

The musical universe of Gary Clark Jr. will take over Taste when he opens for Monáe on July 10 with his soulful sounds. The 2014 Grammy Award winner for “Best Traditional R&B Performance” for “Please Come Home” from his debut album “Black And Blu” has been hailed by the New York Times as “the next Hendrix.” Entertainment Weekly said of Clark, “Every generation has its chosen one and right now, this is Clark’s time.”

Nickel Creek, the Grammy Award-winning root music trio, is celebrating 25 years as a group and has returned to the stage after a seven-year hiatus. They’ll perform for Taste-goers on July 11, the concert is presented by Bud Light. Their 2002 album “This Side” garnered a “Best Contemporary Folk Album” Grammy and was followed by successes that led to their decision to take a break to grow musically and personally away from the spotlight. With their new album, “A Dotted Line,” the musical strengths of violinist Sara Watkins, mandolinist Chris Thile and guitarist Sean Watkins foresee an exciting future for this trio.

Twelve-time Grammy Award-winner Emmylou Harris will grace the Petrillo stage on July 11. Just off her 2014 award-winning collaboration, ‘Old Yellow Moon’ with Rodney Crowell, Harris is one of the most prominent harmony vocalists and songwriters of our time. As a legendary American musician, Harris’ performance at the Taste of Chicago will be a special treat.

Opening the Petrillo Music Shell on July 11 is Oklahoma native Parker Millsap. Millsap, who was brought up in the Pentecostal church, first picked up the guitar at age 9, the now 21-year-old singer/songwriter delivers a powerful show with the fire-and-brimstone fervor of a preacher. Most recently, Millsap was cheered at South-by-Southwest (SXSW) in Austin, Texas, with a vigorous performance and was the talk of the festival.

Chicago’s Jeff Tweedy is one of America’s most accomplished musicians and on July 12 he will bring his brand of contemporary rock to Taste of Chicago, presented by 93XRT. Best known as the founder and leader of Wilco, Tweedy tours quite often as a solo artist. Showcasing his talent as a songwriter with a 400-plus collection of songs to pull from, he also displays his skill on the guitar, a charismatic stage presence and a unique sense of humor. Additional artists will be announced at a later date.

Aloe Blacc will bring the mega hit “Wake Me Up” and “The Man” from his recent album, “Lift Your Spirit.” “Wake Me Up,” which he sang and co-wrote for Swedish DJ Avicii, was a No. 1 hit in 102 countries and garnered more the 320 million hits on YouTube. Headlining the Petrillo stage on July 13, Blacc has proven himself as an adventurous singer/songwriter, who started as a rapper while pushing further into folk, soul and pop fusion with incisive lyrics, huge hooks and feel good grooves.

With more than 250 million albums sold worldwide, reggae superstars the Wailers will celebrate the 30th anniversary of the release of the Legends album featuring their greatest hits when they open for Blacc on July 13. Best known for their legendary collaboration with Bob Marley, the Wailers are considered the greatest living exponents of Jamaica’s reggae tradition. The Wailers have performed for an estimated 24 million people across the globe.

Taste of Chicago is presented by the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events and sponsored in part by Aquafina, Blue Bunny Ice Cream, Bud Light, Chicago Tribune, Chicago Transit Authority, Communications Direct, CLTV-Chicagoland’s Television, Eli’s Cheesecake Co., Gallo Family Vineyards, Humana, Hyundai, Illinois Lottery, LaGrou Distribution System, Martin’s Famous Pastry Shoppe, Pepsi, Radio Disney AM 1300, Shoreline Sightseeing, Southwest Airlines, WGN-Television, WTTW 11’s Check, Please and 93XRT.

For more information on the 34th annual Taste of Chicago, visit tasteofchicago.us.

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