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Chicago Music Festivals

Music lives big in Chicago, on neighborhood streets, in downtown parks, on stage at the stunning Jay Pritzker Pavilion, and along the lakefront in iconic Grant Park. While Lollapalooza are the Chicago Blues Festival the city's largest and most well-known summer festivals, dozens of smaller fests pop up all across Chicago throughout the summer. Here's your guide to Chicago's summer music festival scene.

Lollapalooza Chicago@Lollapalooza

Headline Acts

Pitchfork Music Festival

July 19 – 21, 2019
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 an eclectic array of genres, 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. This year's acts include Robyn, Haim and The Isley Brothers as headliners.

Lollapalooza

Aug. 1 – 4, 2019
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, attracting more than 100,000 attendees each year. This year's headliners include Ariana Grande, Childish Gambino, Twenty One Pilots, the Strokes, Tame Impala, Flume, the Chainsmokers, and more. Between sets, 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, and kid-friendly performances (plus, kids under 10 get into Lolla free with an adult).  

Riot Fest

Sept. 13 – 15, 2019
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, like Nine Inch Nails, New Order, Ministry, The Buzzcocks, Queens of the Stone Age, and Fishbone, and a rock ‘n roll carnival (yes, there are rides) takes over the Douglas Park with three days of loud music, local food, and colorful festivities.

Chicago Gospel Music FestivalChicago Gospel Music Festival @Adam Alexander Photography

Downtown & Waterfront

Chicago House Music Festival

May 24 – 25, 2019
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. This year, check out performances by Mr. A.L.I., Reel People, Tony Humphries, Gene Hunt, Mark Grusane, and First Lady. Plus, check out official after-party shows at venues around the city.

Chicago Gospel Music Festival

May 31 – June 1, 2019
Chicago Cultural Center and Millennium Park
FREE admission

Celebrating the genre's deep Chicago roots with traditional choirs and contemporary urban gospel music, the 33rd Chicago Gospel Music Festival features local and national artists at the Chicago Cultural Center and Millennium Park.

Chicago Blues Festival

June 7 – 9, 2019
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 flock to Millennium Park 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  August, 2019
Millennium Park
FREE admission

The nation's only free, outdoor classical music series of its kind, Grant Park Music Festival is comprised of the Grammy-nominated Grant Park Orchestra and the award-winning Grant Park Chorus. Each year, the festival hosts dozens of spectacular summer concerts that each feature different classic masterpieces. Grab a seat near the Jay Pritzker Pavilion or spread out on the Great Lawn for an alfresco picnic under the stars.

Country LakeShake Festival

June 21 – 23, 2019
Huntington Bank Pavilion at Northerly Island

Chicago's three-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. This year the fest will host megastars Miranda Lambert, Keith Urban, and Luke Bryan.

Chicago SummerDance

June – August, 2019
Grant Park, Spirit of the Music Garden and other Chicago Park District locations
FREE admission

Every summer, the Spirit of Music Garden in Grant Park transforms into an urban dance floor. Learn new moves during lessons led by professionals, then dance to the beat of different live bands and DJs. 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.

Windy City Smokeout

July 12 – 13, 2019
1901 W. Madison St.
United Center parking lot

Bands, barbecue, and beer! The killer country music lineup at this summer fest features top country acts across three days. This year's big-name acts include Old Dominion, Chris Young, and Cole Swindell. But that's not all! This party is a triple threat: fuel up with some of the top barbecue from national premier pitmasters, plus craft beer from breweries around the country.

Mamby on the Beach

Aug. 23 – 24, 2019
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 dip in the lake, Mamby on the Beach offers the feel of a boutique festival meets beach vacation.

Chicago Jazz Festival

Aug. 23 – Sept. 1, 2019
Chicago Cultural Center, Millennium Park
FREE Admission

The longest running of the city's lakefront music festivals, Chicago Jazz Festival is known for its artistic creativity. The festival features free, 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 to encourage an appreciation for all types of jazz.

World Music Festival Chicago

September 13 – 29, 2019
Various locations citywide
FREE admission

This citywide, multi-venue, 11-day festival attracts over 650,000 concertgoers and has presented more than 650 artists and ensembles from more than 80 countries since it began in 1999.

Square Roots Festival 2013Square Roots Festival @Adam Alexander Photography

Neighborhood Music Festivals

Belmont-Sheffield Music Fest

May 25 – 26, 2019
Lakeview


Celebrating its 35th year in 2019, Belmont-Sheffield Music Fest will kick off Chicago's outdoor street fest season when it takes over the streets of Lakeview. Kick off the summer right with fun tunes, good food, and a chance to check out local arts and crafts vendors. A fun lineup of bands, from national acts to local tribute bands, are ready to pump up the crowd all day long.

Do Division Street Fest & Sidewalk Sale

May 31 – June 1, 2019
Wicker Park


Do Division's impressive musical lineup sets the bar high when it sets up shop in Wicker Park 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!

World's Largest Block Party

June 21 – 22, 2019 
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 also a match made in heaven for music lovers: the festival lineup includes popular local and national acts, with past years featuring Passion Pit, Guster, Ben Folds, Young the Giant, Neon Trees, and more.

Chosen Few Music Festival

July 6, 2019
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 a tradition to pitch tents and grill out each day in true family reunion style.

Wicker Park Fest

July 26 – 28, 2019
Wicker Park

Three days of live music 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. Festival-goers can expect four stages of live music (including a DJ stage), 30+ artist performances, live fashion shows, a kids fest, and beverages by local favorite Goose Island.

Square Roots Festival

July 12 – 14, 2019
Lincoln Square — Lincoln Avenue 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, alongside Cajun French music hailing from Louisiana, and roots reggae 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

Aug. 30 – Sep. 1, 2019
Huntington Bank Pavilion at Northerly Island

This electronic-focused fest will take over Northerly Island for an end-of-summer celebration. The biggest names in electronic music can be found on the festival's two stages, including Bassnectar, Major Lazer, and Flux Pavilion, surrounded by Lake Michigan and stunning skyline views.

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