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Summer 2018 Music Festivals Preview

Celebrate summer in Chicago at one of the city’s many music festivals.

Besides welcoming warm weather, summer brings an exciting season-long line-up of music festivals. From Millennium Park to city neighborhoods, you’ll find everything from blues to country and rock to indie on stage. Bonus: many of these festivals are free!

FREE Chicago House Music Festival

May 26, 2018
Millennium Park

Chicago House Music Festival

Experience the energy of house music in the city where it was born. The house music genre revolutionized electronic dance music across the world, and this free outdoor festival in Millennium Park showcases DJs spinning various forms of house music.

FREE Chicago Gospel Music Festival

June 1-2 
Millennium Park & Chicago Cultural Center

This free, family-friendly fest allows the depth of the gospel genre to fully unfurl—with rousing solo, duo and choral performances in both traditional and contemporary styles. Events take place indoors at the Chicago Cultural Center and outdoors in Millennium Park.

FREE Chicago Blues Festival

June 8-10
Millennium Park

Performer at Chicago Blues Festival

As the largest free blues festival in the world, you’ll get to see, hear and dance to blues music of all kinds—from classic performers such as Grammy Award-winning Mavis Staples to blues newcomers like Fantastic Negrito—in Millennium Park, right in the heart of the “Blues Capital of the World.” 

Spring Awakening Music Festival

June 8-10, 2018
University Village
 

Spring Awakening Music Festival

Addams-Medill Park will come to life with the energetic beats of electronic dance music as world-famous DJs (think: Tiësto, Kaskade, deadmau5 and many more) take to the turntables at this multi-stage event. Ages 18 and older. 

FREE Grant Park Music Festival

June 13 - August 18, 2018
Millennium Park

Plan a night at the symphony—for absolutely free—when you attend a concert at this summer music series held at the Jay Pritzker Pavilion in Millennium Park. Pack a picnic, bring some lawn chairs or blankets, and enjoy an evening in Chicago's Town Square, listening to orchestral music and choral performances under the stars. 

Country LakeShake Festival

June 22-24, 2018
Huntington Bank Pavilion at Northerly Island

Held at Huntington Bank Pavilion on scenic Northerly Island, this fest attracts top country talent, with superstars Blake Shelton, Dierks Bentley and Florida Georgia Line headlining this year. The entire lineup includes 30+ bands on two stages, with the city skyline as its beautiful backdrop.

Windy City Smokeout

July 13-15, 2018
560 W Grand Ave
Entrance is on Grand Avenue one block west of the Chicago Rive
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Windy City Smokeout

Barbecue, beer and bands is the name of the game at this annual festival at 560 W. Grand Avenue, along the Chicago River. Savor smoky dishes cooked up by award-winning pitmasters, sip on craft beer and jam out to country music stars like Brett Eldredge, Brothers Osborne and Kane Brown. 

Square Roots Festival

July 13-15, 2018 
Lincoln Square - On Lincoln Ave between Montrose & Wilson

Craft beer and folk music—a match made in heaven! This low-key fest brings Lincoln Square to life with multiple stages programmed with a diverse mix of artists, from local indie acts to group jams featuring Old Town School of Folk Music teachers and students. Local craft brewers like Half Acre, Lagunitas, 5 Rabbit and others pour heavenly hops all weekend long.

Pitchfork Music Festival

July 20-22, 2018
Union Park

This all-ages festival features more than 40 bands across three stages, with a focus on new and emerging musical talent, along with long-time favorites. Visitors can discover even more music at the onsite record fair, along with handmade crafts and more than 20 food vendors. Performers this year include Tame Impala, Fleet Foxes, Kelela, Ms. Lauryn Hill and Chaka Khan.

Lollapalooza

August 2-5, 2018
Grant Park

Lollapalooza

A sprawling music festival with eight stages across Grant Park, this four-day event draws more than 170 bands, from big-name performers such as Bruno Mars, The Weeknd and Jack White to plenty of up-and-comers. Gourmet food, an art market and a “Kidzapalooza” rounds out the festival.   

Find even more upcoming Chicago music festivals in the events calendar

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