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Chicago’s Top Summer Music Festivals

Music lives big in Chicago, on neighborhood streets, in downtown parks, on stage at the stunning Jay Pritzker Pavilion, and even in Soldier Field stadium. Lollapalooza and the Chicago Blues Festival vie for the title of the city's largest summer music fests. But don't miss out on all the rest!

And if you don't get your fill on these, check out our guide to all of the biggest 2018 Chicago events, from comic conventions, taco festivals and art fairs, to the gay pride parade and outdoor film series.

Chicago Gospel Music FestivalChicago Gospel Music Festival @Adam Alexander Photography

Downtown & Waterfront

Chicago House Music Festival

May 26, 2018
Millennium Park
FREE admission

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 at the Jay Pritzker Pavilion in Millennium Park showcases DJs spinning various forms of house music.

Chicago Gospel Music Festival

June 1-2, 2018
Chicago Cultural Center and Millennium Park
FREE admission

Celebrating the genre's deep Chicago roots with traditional choirs and contemporary urban gospel music in the city where the genre was born, the 33rd Chicago Gospel Music Festival features local and national artists on June 1 and 2 at the Chicago Cultural Center and Millennium Park.

Chicago Blues Festival

June 8-10, 2018
Millennium Park
FREE admission

The Chicago Blues Festival is the largest free blues festival in the world and remains the largest of Chicago's Music Festivals. During three days on five stages, more than 500,000 blues fans prove that Chicago is the "Blues Capital of the World." Past performers include Bonnie Raitt, Ray Charles, B.B. King, the late Bo Diddley, Buddy Guy and the late Koko Taylor.

Grant Park Music Festival

June 13 - August 18, 2018
Millennium Park
FREE admission

It's the nation's only FREE, outdoor classical music series of its kind! Comprised of the Grammy® nominated Grant Park Orchestra led by Artistic Director and Principal Conductor Carlos Kalmar and the award-winning Grant Park Chorus led by Chorus Director Christopher Bell, the festival have 32 spectacular summer concerts. Spread out on the Great Lawn or grab a seat near the Jay Pritzker Pavilion in Millennium Park for an alfresco picnic under the stars.

Country LakeShake Festival

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

Chicago's 3-day country music festival takes place literally on Lake Michigan: Northerly Island is a 91-acre peninsula that juts right out into waterfront. Surround yourself with stellar skyline views and big-name country acts. The outdoor amphitheater, First MeritBank Pavilion, has hosted the likes of megastars Mo Pitney, Chase Rice, and Michael Ray.

Chicago SummerDance

Thursdays-Sundays, June 28-August 25, 2018
Grant Park, Spirit of the Music Garden and other Chicago Park District locations
FREE admission

Come join us this summer as the Spirit of Music Garden in Grant Park blossoms into an urban dance space. Dance to the sounds of 48 different live bands + DJs and get in step with dance lessons beforehand. Glide across the restored 4,900-square-foot, 100-percent recycled, open-air dance floor designed by Chicago artist Dan Peterman. Swing, waltz, cha-cha…or simply enjoy the music.

Mamby on the Beach

June 23-24, 2018 
Oakwood Beach
17+ event

Featuring an all-inclusive and diverse musical experience, Mamby is where indie and electronic meet for a weekend of fun under the sun. From dancing with the sand beneath your feet to cooling off with a refreshing dip in the lake, Mamby On The Beach gives attendees a chance to get away from the city without ever having to leave.

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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BBQ, bands & beer! The killer country music lineup at this summer fest features 12 top country acts across three days. Last year's stage-stompers included Kip Moore, Lee Brice and Brandy Clark. But that's not all! This riverfront party is a triple threat: fuel up with some of the top BBQ from national premier pitmasters.

Lollapalooza

August 2-5, 2018
Grant Park 

One of the world's premier music festivals makes its annual return to Chicago's Grant Park. “Lolla” rocks out with the biggest names in music across all the genres: hip-hop, electronica, reggae, indie, modern roots and more. Fuel up at Chow Town, the "food fest within a music fest" that serves up gourmet festival grub. And if kids are in tow, bring them along! Kidzapalooza entertains future singers with rock-star yoga, funky hairstyling, prop-filled photo shoots, hip-hop workshops and kid-friendly performances.  

Chicago Jazz Festival

August 30-September 2, 2018
Chicago Cultural Center, Millennium Park
FREE Admission

The longest running of the city's lakefront music festivals, Chicago Jazz Festival celebrates its 40th anniversary this year. Known for its artistic creativity, the festival promotes awareness and appreciation for all forms of jazz through FREE, quality live musical performances at two stunning downtown venues, the Chicago Cultural Center and Millennium Park.  Since 1979, the festival's mission is to showcase Chicago's vast jazz talent alongside national and international artists to encourage and educate a jazz audience of all ages.

World Music Festival Chicago

September 7-23, 2018
Various locations citywide
FREE admission

The 20th Annual World Music Festival Chicago is presented by the City of Chicago and produced by the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events. This citywide, multi-venue, 11-day festival has attracted over 650,000 concertgoers and has presented more than 650 artists and ensembles from more than 80 countries since it began in 1999.

Lollapalooza Chicago@Lollapalooza

Headline Acts

Pitchfork Music Festival

July 20-22, 2018
Union Park

Union Park on the city's Near West Side plays host to this internationally known, indie rock-centric festival. Pitchfork spans three days, attracts some 50,000 attendees annually, and draws performers from various backgrounds, including alternative rock, rap and hip-hop, electronica, avant-garde rock and hardcore punk. The highly popular fest also features local vendors selling crafts, gifts and much more. Last year’s acts included LCD Soundsystem, A Tribe Called Quest, Solange, PJ Harvey, George Clinton, and more.

Lollapalooza

August 2-5, 2018
Grant Park 

One of the world's premier music festivals makes its annual return to Chicago's Grant Park. “Lolla” rocks out with the biggest names in music across all the genres: hip-hop, electronica, reggae, indie, modern roots and more. Fuel up at Chow Town, the "food fest within a music fest" that serves up gourmet festival grub. And if kids are in tow, bring them along! Kidzapalooza entertains future singers with rock-star yoga, funky hairstyling, prop-filled photo shoots, hip-hop workshops and kid-friendly performances.  

Riot Fest

September 14-16, 2018
Douglas Park

Bridging the generations of punk rock fans for a decade, Riot Fest has become one of the most unique and popular music fests in Chicago. A mash up of big-name artists headed to Douglas Park last year, including Nine Inch Nails, New Order, Ministry, The Buzzcocks, Queens of the Stone Age and Fishbone. The rock ‘n roll carnival (yes, there are rides) takes over the neighborhood with three days of loud music, local food and colorful festivities.

Square Roots Festival 2013Square Roots Festival @Adam Alexander Photography

Neighborhood Happenings

Belmont-Sheffield Music Fest

May 26, 2018 
Lakeview


Celebrating its 34th year in 2018, Belmont-Sheffield Music Fest will kick off Chicago's outdoor street fest season when it again welcomes the start of summer and all that balmy weather. Start off the summer right, with fun tunes, good food and a chance to check out local arts and crafts vendors. Local tribute bands are ready to pump up the crowd at this Lakeview music fest! 

Do Division Street Fest & Sidewalk Sale

June 1-3, 2018
Wicker Park


With a reputation for elevating the sometimes ho-hum music lineups found at weekend street fests, Do Division sets the bar high when it kicks off the beginning of each summer. Original bands and up-and-coming DJs make up the carefully curated stages, booked by two of the top local music clubs: Empty Bottle and Subterranean. And with a suggested donation of only $5 for admittance, the festival concerts are a steal! The 2018 lineup will be revealed soon!

Spring Awakening Music Festival

June 8-10, 2018
University Village

Join 100,000 fans at Adams-Medill Park for Chicago's largest outdoor all electronic dance music festival, featuring top producers and DJs from all over the world. Celebrating seven years, Spring Awakening will present six stages, with two main stages featuring both live electronic acts and world-renowned DJs over the course of three mind-blowing days. 

Green Music Fest

June 9-10, 2018 
Wicker Park

One part music and one part eco-living is the basic recipe behind this annual fest, with its stress on making environmentally conscious lifestyle choices. Concerts are programmed by Wicker Park's own Subterranean.

Old St. Pat's World's Largest Block Party

June 2018 dates to be announced
West Loop
21+ event

Old St. Pat's Church, Chicago's oldest public building, and a treasured historic landmark, knows how to throw a party! Locals know this West Loop block party as a big bash for singles to meet and mingle - it's a 21-and-over event. For the music lover, it's an easy match too as the festival lineup draws big national acts every year with concerts presented by radio stations WXRT and WKQX.  

Chosen Few Music Festival

July 7, 2018 
Jackson Park

What started as a small gathering has grown into a massive 50,000 fan celebration - one of the oldest and largest House music festivals in the world. In between all the music, dancing and socializing, it's tradition to pitch tents and grill out each day in true family reunion style.

Wicker Park Fest

July 28-29, 2018
Wicker Park

Three stages of live action are programmed by Subterranean, a mainstay in the Chicago music scene. The festival regularly boasts local and national acts that are praised by critics as a reflection of the neighborhood: hip, diverse and eclectic. The 2018 lineup will be announced soon. 

Reggae Fest Chicago

August 2018 dates to be announced
Wicker Park

Chicago's Reggae Fest sets made its much-anticipated debut last summer. With live reggae of the "highest caliber" programmed by Wicker Park's infamous music venue, Subterranean, Reggae Fest Chicago brings an authentic, family-friendly island vibe to the Chicago music-loving masses. Featuring two live music stages, Reggae Fest is a One Day, One Love celebration of various reggae genres, including ska, reggaeton, roots reggae, Caribbean dancehall, Spanish reggae and world music.  

Square Roots Festival

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

With more than 50 acts on the lineup, this annual dance party is a gathering of global music that draws artists from Africa, New Zealand, Haiti, Brazil and beyond. Two outdoor stages and two indoor stages curate an international soundtrack like no other: imagine American folk rock straight from the Midwest, plus Cajun French music hailing from Louisiana, plus roots reggae birthed from the island of Dominica. Combine these beats and rhythms with craft beer, family fun, a craft market and plenty of food vendors for a full weekend of activity that shows off the eclectic tastes of its Lincoln Square neighborhood.  

North Coast Music Festival

August 31 – September 2, 2018
Near West Side

Close out the summer at one of Chicago's most eclectic music festivals. Held in Union Park, North Coast Music Festival has transformed from an electronic-focused event to one that includes hip-hop, indie, funk, jam bands and everything else sprinkled in between. No matter what tunes you prefer, you will find it at this end-of-summer celebration.

Hip Hop Summerfest

September 2018 dates to be announced
University Village

This is the first 3-day, multi-stage outdoor Hip Hop festival in the United States, showcasing over 125 acts, including top international artists and DJs from Hip Hop/R&B, comedians, and fashion houses, from all the over the world.

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