6 Loud And Proud Things To Do In Kansas City This Weekend

Jun 1, 2017

Musician Tom Petty.
Credit NRK P3 / Flickr — CC

There are times for quietness and humility. This weekend isn’t one of those times.

Loud and proud things to do over the next few days include dynamic declarations of personal identity, a titanic celebration of great American rock bands and overt demonstrations of spirit-lifting silliness, from riding horses that aren’t really there to whipped pie bubble blowing.

It’s a cavalcade of different ways to get whatever’s inside out. That’s right, all of it. C’mon now!

​1. Kansas City PrideFest

Dance the days and nights away at this yearly fest devoted to the Kansas City area community of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people, their families and friends and all who believe in the fundamental human right to inevitably be yourself – because, really, who else would you be?

Friday’s PrideFest performers include Madonna/Lady Gaga tribute act Material Girl and DJ Citizen Jane; Saturday offers male string quartet Well Strung and Australian electro-pop star Betty Who; and it’s a wrap Sunday with shows by “American Idol” belters David Hernandez and Frenchie Davis.

Friday, 6 p.m.-midnight; Saturday, noon-midnight; Sunday, noon-7 p.m.; Berkley Riverfront Park, Riverfront Drive, Kansas City, Mo.; daily admission: $10; free for ages 12 and younger (free to everyone noon-1 p.m. Sunday).

2. Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers with Joe Walsh

It was a compliment when rock radio listeners in 1977 may have mistaken Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers’ early single, “American Girl,” for Roger McGuinn and the Byrds. The wonderfully nasally Petty and his outstandingly jangly band were instantly classic and kept the good tunes coming for years. Now basically on the high-toned nostalgia circuit, Petty and original Heartbreakers Mike Campbell on guitar, Benmont Tench on keys and bassist Ron Blair are in the midst of their band’s 40th anniversary tour.

Extra: Petty and company won’t be the only rockers onstage with a four-decade anniversary to loudly tout. Concert opener Joe Walsh’s first album with the Eagles was “Hotel California” in 1977. Ooh.

Friday, 8 p.m.; Sprint Center, 1407 Grand Blvd., Kansas City, Mo.; tickets: $77.50-$143.

3. Old Shawnee Days

Ready for an old-fashioned blast of fun? Go to Old Shawnee Days, where an abundance of games can be enjoyed with hula hoops, whipped pies, water balloons and other summer-centric instruments of family friendly amusement. Fido will also be part of the plan, thanks to several rounds of Flying Houndz Frisbee. And a variety of local and national talents will be ringing out, such as Saturday evening’s main stage headliner, Night Ranger, whose 1984 power ballad, “Sister Christian,” still doesn’t have to make much if any sense in order to pleasingly resemble Badfinger doing the Beatles. No wonder they still have fans!

Thursday (carnival only) and Friday, 6-10 p.m.; Saturday, 10 a.m. (parade)-10 p.m.; Sunday, 11:30 a.m.-6 p.m.; Shawnee Town 1929, 11501 W. 57th St., Shawnee, Kan.; admission: free except for carnival.

4. ‘Disney’s The Little Mermaid’

The story of Ariel the mermaid finding true love was a double dip of Disney success, first as a hit animated movie and in more recent years as a hit Broadway musical. The tale’s ever-appealing message: When you follow your heart, there’s no holding back – go for it! That also goes for the singalong-happy audiences that’ll take in “Disney’s The Little Mermaid” at Starlight Theatre.

Saturday and Sunday, 8 p.m.; Starlight Theatre, Kansas City, Mo.; tickets: $15-$142.

5. ‘Spamalot’

If you’re a knight without a steed, no problem. Simply pretend to ride on horseback while a lackey obediently clops two coconut half-shells together to emulate the sound of galloping hooves. Such utter silliness can only be the stuff of the cult film comedy, “Monty Python and the Holy Grail,” and the Broadway musical it spawned, “Spamalot.” Why is the show filled with so many loudly sung ridiculous songs? Because when you’re this goofy, you don’t whisper it, you shout it! Prithee, sirs and madams, enter the odder-than-ever realm of King Arthur, replete with killer rabbits, good shrubberies and bringing out your dead…just be sure to have a club handy if any of them object.

Friday, Saturday and Sunday, 8:30 p.m.; Theatre in the Park at Shawnee Mission Park, 7900 Renner Road, Shawnee Kan.; tickets: $8, $6 for ages 4-10.

6. Rockfest 2017

The change in venue from Penn Valley Park to the Kansas Speedway should especially work for Sammy “I Can’t Drive 55” Hagar at this year’s 25th anniversary edition of Rockfest, featuring more than 15 bands on two stages. Besides Hagar (is there any way he can drive on stage?) the loud and proud lineup includes Godsmack, Volbeat, Ratt, Halestorm, Collective Soul and Cinderella front man Tom Keifer. The rocking ends with the bang of fireworks at midnight.

Saturday, noon-midnight; Kansas Speedway, 400 Speedway Blvd., Kansas City, Kan.; tickets: $69.50

Brian McTavish is a regular arts and culture contributor to KCUR 89.3. You can reach him at brianmctavish@gmail.com