The grand and glorious KC Irish Fest returns this weekend to Crown Center. With more than 30 bands, plus Irish foods, drinks, dance and traditions, the annual festival tops the week’s schedule of urban arts & entertainment. Roll the highlight reel for what’s happening in Downtown KC this week – Monday to Sunday, Aug. 26-Sep. 1:

Bartle Hall301 W. 13th St. This week, Oddities & Curiosities Expofor lovers of the strange and unusual – this exhibition will showcase vendors on all spectrums of weird, creepy and unusual from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday.

Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats will light up the Big Town on Sunday night with a sold-out show at Crossroads KC.

Crossroads KC, 417 E. 18th St. This week, featuring Black Flag with the Line Cutters at 8 p.m. Monday; Kool & The Gang with The Phantastics at 8 p.m. Friday; and Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats in a sold-out performance with HISS Gold Messenger that begins at 8 p.m. Sunday.

Crown Center, 2405 Grand – This week, the 17th annual Kansas City Irish Fest returns for Labor Day weekend – Friday, Aug. 30 to Sunday, Sept. 1 on the square at Crown Center. Celebrate Celtic Pride with 30+ bands on seven stages, heritage workshops and displays, comedy, genealogy, a massive children’s area and so much more. KC’s largest and greenest party begins at 5 p.m. Friday and continues from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. Click here for complete information.

Folly Theater, 300 W. 12th St. – This week, Katya – Help Me I’m DyingRuPaul’s Drag Race Miss Congeniality and All-Stars S2 finalist, Katya Zamolodchikova brings her new stand-up show to Downtown at 8 p.m. Monday.

A retrospective on the art of Ralph Steadman runs through Sept. 8 at the Central Library. Approximately 100 of Steadman’s original works are featured.

KC Public Library, 14 W. 10th St. This week, the wild and crazy artistic exhibition, Ralph Steadman: A Retrospective, begins its final two weeks in Downtown. Exclusive to the exhibition’s stay in Kansas City: more than a dozen of Steadman’s images from his coverage of the 1976 Republican Convention in KC, where he worked with former White House counsel and key Watergate figure John Dean for Rolling Stone magazine. Approximately 100 of Steadman’s original works are featured in the exhibition that continues through Sunday, Sept. 8 at the Central Library.

Commons, the multi-dimensional artist, will bring his magic touch to the Kauffman Center on Thursday.

Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts1601 Broadway. This week, the Kauffman Center Presents series features appearances by indie folk musician Jose Gonzalez with special guest Bedouine at 7 p.m. Thursday in Helzberg Hall  AND Academy Award, Golden Globe, Emmy and GRAMMY-winning artist, actor and activist, Common at 7:30 p.m. Thursday in the Muriel Kauffman Theatre. Opening for Common is GRAMMY-nominated singer-songwriter, activist, and acclaimed hip-hop artist, Maimouna Youssef aka Mumu Fresh. Each of the Kauffman Center Presents performances will feature these special offers:

  • José González – Link to webpage:
    • 10% off group discount (groups of 10 or more, must be purchased over the phone at 816-994-7222 or at the Box Office)
    • Student rush tickets are available for $15 at the box office in the 90 minutes prior to the performance (valid student ID required)
  • Common – Link to webpage:
    • 10% off group discount (groups of 10 or more, must be purchased over the phone at 816-994-7222 or at the Box Office)
    • Student rush tickets are available for $15 at the box office in the 90 minutes prior to the performance (valid student ID required)

Kid Fest returns to Science City this Saturday for a day filled with fun, science and learning for kids of all ages. Only at Union Station.

Knucklehead’s, 2715 Rochester. This week, the hottest honky tonk in KC will be blazin’ with 11 shows this week, including The Milk Carton Kids at 8 p.m. Wednesday; Uncle Kracker will headline the Kansas City Wing Fest that also features Big Time Grain Company starting at 2 p.m. Saturday; and The Brad Cunningham Band with Rachael Turner at 8:30 p.m. Saturday in the Gospel Lounge.The Midland, 1228 Main – This weekMark Knopfler, co-founder/former lead singer of Dire Straits and a member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, will light up the Big Town at 8 p.m. Wednesday.

Power & Light DistrictThis week, the KC Live! Block will be rockin’ to Wonderfuzz at Friday Live! beginning at 9 p.m. Friday.

Sprint Center, 1407 Grand. Next upJohn Mayer continues his world tour with a Labor Day stop in Downtown KC on Monday, Sept. 2.

The Truman, 801 E. Truman Rd. – Next up, Whitney – the idie/alt band out of Chicago – will rock this town on Monday, Sept. 11.

Union Station – 30 W. Pershing Rd. This week, topping the list of many treasures this week at the Station are these two gems:

  • Kid Zone – Let curiosity be your guide as you explore this dynamic, hands-on science center! Kids of all ages will experience the amazing world of science first-hand through fun and engaging exhibits and programs from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday at Science City.
  • Stonehenge – this remarkable experience has begun its last few weeks in KC. Guests travel back in time – more than 5,000 years –  to discover remarkable stories of the prehistoric people who lived, worked and were buried in the landscape around Stonehenge.  Open daily  through Sept. 29, click here for ticket information.


LIVE THEATER is thriving on Downtown stages, this week including:

  • In the Heights – tells the universal story of a community on the brink of change, full of hopes, dreams and pressures, where the biggest struggles can be deciding which traditions you take with you, and which ones you leave behind. Creator Lin-Manuel Miranda’s production was winner of the 2008 Tony Awards for Best Musical, Best Score, Best Choreography and Best Orchestrations.  Performances continue through Sunday at MTH Theater in Crown Center.
  • Mamma Mia – The story-telling magic of ABBA’s timeless songs propels this enchanting tale of love, laughter and friendship. This Barn Players’ production runs through Sunday at the Arts Asylum.

LIVE MUSIC is on tap most nights at these Downtown clubs and joints: Blue Room Jazz ClubBlack Dolphin, The Brick, Gem TheaterGreen Lady Lounge, Hush, The Majestic Jazz ClubMutual Musicians FoundationThe Phoenix, Prohibition Hall , throughout the Power & Light District, The Record Bar and The Ship.

AND, UNIQUE TREASURES are plentiful via Downtown museums and attractions, including the Airline History Museum, Downtown Airport; American Jazz Museum, 18th & Vine; Arabia Steamboat Museum, River Market; Black Archives of Mid-America, 18th & Vine; Todd Bolender Center for Dance and Creativity, Union Station District; Boulevard Beer Hall, Westside; City Market, River Market; College Basketball Experience, Sprint Center; Garment District Museum, Garment District; Kansas City Public Library, Central Business District; Hallmark Visitors Center, Crown Center; Hy-Vee Arena, West Bottoms; Kansas City Museum, Corinthian Hall; Money Museum, Federal Reserve Bank of KC; National Archives, Union Station District; National WWI Museum and Memorial, Liberty Memorial; Legoland Discovery Center, Crown Center; Negro Leagues Baseball Museum, 18th & Vine; Riverfront Heritage Trail, River Market area; Science City, Union Station; Sea Life Aquarium, Crown Center; 21c Museum Hotel, Historic 9th District; TWA Museum, Downtown Airport; and Union Station, Union Station.

For more of what’s happening in Downtown and Kansas City, check out ArtsKCGo and