Chicago’s diverse music festivals celebrate everything from gospel to country, and make for a great group outing.

In Chicago, you can experience a different music festival nearly every weekend from late spring through summer, and many are free. Check out these 10 spring and summer music fests that make for a perfect Chicago group outing.


May 23 – 25, 2019

Chicago House Music Festival

Experience house music in the city where it was born, going on to revolutionize electronic dance music around the world. This free festival features both DJs and live performances showcasing various sounds and styles of house music at the Jay Pritzker Pavilion in Millennium Park, the Chicago Cultural Center, and other venues across the city. Look for shows by London’s Reel People, New York DJ Tony Humphries, and Chicago’s own Gene Hunt.


May 31 – June 1, 2019

Chicago Gospel Music Festival-2016

The largest free music festival of its kind (with events taking place indoors at the Chicago Cultural Center and outdoors at Millennium Park) celebrates the important influence of gospel music, which was born in Chicago more than 80 years ago. The Chicago Gospel Music Festival features local and national artists, from traditional choirs to contemporary urban styles.


June 7 – 9, 2019

Copy of Chicago Blues Festival

Hundreds of thousands of people descend upon Chicago’s Millennium Park for the largest free blues festival in the world. The Chicago Blues Festival features performances by more than 100 national, international, and local artists celebrating the city’s rich blues tradition, while shining a spotlight on the genre’s contributions to soul, R&B, gospel, rock, hip-hop, and more. Don’t miss Bobby Rush, the Jimmy Johnson Band, and Charlie Musselwhite with special guest Billy Boy Arnold.


June 12 – Aug. 17, 2019

Grant Park Music Festival

Plan a free night at the symphony with a classical concert during this 85th annual summer music series, held at the Jay Pritzker Pavilion in Millennium Park on Wednesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays. Pack a picnic, bring some lawn chairs or blankets, and enjoy an evening under the stars listening to orchestral music and choral performances by international artists that include Chicago’s own Grammy-nominated Grant Park Orchestra.


June 13 – Aug. 15, 2019

Millennium Park Summer Film Series

Grab a seat in the Jay Pritzker Pavilion or set up a picnic on Millennium Park’s Great Lawn and enjoy free outdoor movies and concerts all summer long. Visitors and Chicagoans alike flock to Millennium Park to watch local and international artists of all genres perform music concerts throughout the series. The Millennium Park Summer Music & Film Series features music performances on Mondays and Thursdays, with movies on Tuesday evenings, all at 6:30 pm. Chairs within the Pavilion and space on the Great Lawn are first come, first served. 


June 27 – Aug. 24, 2019

Chicago SummerDance

Swing, waltz, cha-cha or simply enjoy the live bands and DJs at the free Chicago SummerDance, the largest outdoor social dancing series in the U.S. Dancers of all ages and skill levels are invited to take part in one-hour dance lessons from professional instructors, followed by live music and dancing in Grant Park's Spirit of Music Garden, on Wednesdays through Sundays. The series culminates with the SummerDance Celebration on Aug. 24 in Millennium Park, featuring competitions, social dancing, and performances by local dance companies.


July 12 – 14, 2019

Windy City Smokeout

Barbecue, beer, and bands are the name of the game at this annual festival, held this year in the United Center parking lot. Savor smoky dishes cooked up by award-winning pitmasters, sip on craft beer, and jam out to country music stars like Chris Young, Old Dominion, and Cole Swindell. 


July 19 – 21, 2019


This alternative music festival, held in Union Park, features more than 40 bands with a focus on new and emerging musical talent, along with long-time favorites. The lineup this year includes Robyn, HAIM, Belle & Sebastian, Mavis Staples and a 60th birthday celebration with The Isley Brothers. Visitors can discover even more music at the on-site record fair, artisan goods at the Renegade Craft Fair, and tasty eats from a variety of food vendors. 


Aug. 1 – 4, 2019

Copy of Lollapalooza

A sprawling music festival featuring eight stages across Grant Park, this four-day event draws more than 170 bands, from big-name performers to up-and-comers. This year’s lineup includes Ariana Grande, Childish Gambino, Twenty One Pilots, Tame Impala, Lil Wayne, Kacey Musgraves, and The Strokes. Food from local restaurants, an art market, and a “Kidzapalooza” round out the festival.   


Aug. 23 – Sept. 1, 2019

Chicago Jazz Festival

The 41st annual Chicago Jazz Festival showcases the greatest jazz artists from Chicago and around the world. Programmed by the Jazz Institute of Chicago, festival events takes place in Millennium Park, the Chicago Cultural Center, and other venues across the city.

Find even more upcoming Chicago music festivals in the Chicago Festival & Event Guide.

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