The smell of freshly cut grass and tangy insect repellant; the sounds of cicadas chirping and wind blowing across the rose garden; the feeling of sticky St. Louis humidity fading as night approaches. These senses can only mean one thing: Whitaker Music Festival. Every Wednesday evening from 7:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. in the summer, the Missouri Botanical Garden along with the Whitaker Foundation present nine weeks of free concerts on the garden grounds. Musicians play a variety of music from blues to bluegrass and jazz to folk. You can guarantee an evening of great music and great company.
The summer has already welcomed local legends Marquise Knox, Vince Martin, Miss Jubilee and the Humdingers, The Rockhouse Ramblers and Hamiet Bluiett. This Fourth of July, the Garden is hosting the Air National Guard Band of the Central States. Expect large crowds for July 4th, as everyone will celebrate our Independence Day with military traditional, jazz and big band music! Other bands playing until the end of July include the Ryan Spearman Band, Teresa Jenee and Aaron Kamm and the One Drops.
On Whitaker nights only, visitors are allowed to bring food, beverages, lawn chairs and picnic blankets. The Garden also sells food on site, including brisket sandwiches, hot dogs, cheese and grape plates, sno-cones, chips, cookies, beer, wine and soda.
This particular summer, the Garden has the U.S.’s first-ever authentic Chinese Lantern Festival display. Although the lanterns will not be lit on Whitaker nights, these stunning Chinese lanterns are still awe-inspiring during the day. Lantern nights are Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday, and admission is $22 for adults and $10 for children (Garden members receive discounts).