The weather isn’t the only thing heating up in Minnesota.

The summer concert season is in full swing and a myriad of concerts are on tap with a little of something to suit any music lover’s fancy.  Once considered “flyover” territory, now a stop in the Twin Cities is an almost must for any touring artist.

Some of the artists exercising their vocal cords are making a return trip to the area and some are much anticipated first timers. And the venues are as diverse as the artists coming to grace our various stages. In either case, get your popcorn ready … it’s about to be showtime.

Maybe the most anticipated concert takes place about 30 minutes south of the metro area, but no distance is too far for Miss Jilly from Philly. Mystic Lake is the destination for Jill Scott’s June 21 performance in the Twin Cities. It has been more than 10 years since Ms. Scott has blessed the area with her beautifully melodic and sometimes operatic voice. This show is at the top of most fans’ wish list, and one that shouldn’t be missed.

OK, if Jilly from Philly isn’t the most anticipated area show, then surely, it’s the arrival of royalty. King Hova (Jay-Z) and Queen Bey (Beyoncé) will give US Bank Stadium a workout Aug. 8 when the On the Run II tour makes its way to Minneapolis.

Another soul/neo-soul sister will bless our area’s ears. The powerful voice of Avery*Sunshine will be on display at the Dakota Jazz Club. While it is her voice that shines, Avery*Sunshine is equally known for her live show, in which the performer is as much an actor and comedian as she is musician.

Apple Valley may be known as home to Tyus Jones and Tre Jones, two of the greatest basketball talents to come out of the area, but it’s also home to some great concerts courtesy of the Minnesota Zoo. Music icons such as Chaka Kahn (June 29), Buddy Guy (June 28) and Ziggy Marley (Aug. 27) will all grace the zoo stage. Fan favorites Black Violin (July 2), and Trombone Shorty (June 15 and June 16) are also on tap at the zoo.

Reggae lovers are in for a treat when Jamaica’s Earthkry comes to the Icehouse June 8. Earthkry’s most recent Minneapolis performance sold out Bunkers and this show will surely pack the house at one of the area’s best intimate concert venues.

Two legendary soul groups, the Temptations and the Four Tops will bring their soulful sounds to the Ordway Center for the Performing Arts in St. Paul on June 17. Readers of Insight News are being offered a 20 percent discount with the code, SOULTTFT when purchasing online at www.ordway.org.

Minnesota’s “Great Get-together,” the State Fair brings soul music legends Earth, Wind & Fire to town Aug. 26 for a Grand Stage performance. R&B divas En Vogue will perform two free shows at the fair Aug. 27 and Aug. 28.

Some guy from Canada is coming that has people pretty excited. Drake takes over the X (Xcel Energy Center) Aug. 1. Still technically summer, hip-hop counterpart J Cole hits the Target Center Sept. 19.

An artist whose music has stood the test of time is Raphael Saadiq. A member of the ‘90s soul favorite, Tony Toni Tone, Saadiq’s solo career has been equally – if not more – successful and his July 20 First Ave show has been on music lovers’ radars since the day it was announced.

For those with “more refined” tastes, six-time Tony Award winner Audra McDonald will be belting out Broadway showtunes with the Minnesota Orchestra July 13 at Orchestra Hall.

Flyover territory? Nope, not at all. Prince put Minnesota on the musical map and now it’s a must visit destination spot. And we’re here for all of it. This is going to be one hot summer.

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