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Everything You Need to Know About Chicago's Best Music Festivals

Updated: May 12, 2023

Chicago is home to many festivals, including some of the largest music festivals in the nation. This year, some of the world's biggest artists are coming to Chicago to perform at music festivals that take place throughout the summer. You need a guide and I'm here to provide one. I'll cover all the must-know information to help you make an informed decision when choosing a festival or concert.

May 27-28 Grant Park
1-Day pass $179 2-Day $299
If you love Latin music, you're in for a treat. Suenos: Chicago's Latin Music Festival is happening this weekend and it's going to be amazing.

The Sueños Music Festival is coming up on May 27th and 28th in Grant Park. It's a two-daylong event featuring 20+ artists from all over the world. You can expect live performances from reggaetón, bachata, salsa, cumbia, merengue, and more. There will be multiple stages with different sounds and styles throughout the day. This year, Grupo Firme, Becky G, and Nicky Jam are all on the lineup.

And it's not just about the music—there are also delicious local food vendors, art and activities galore, a Ferris wheel and water stations for your convenience (and even a merch store if you want to pick up some sweet souvenirs).

June 3 5:30-9pm Millennium Park
Karen Clark-Sheard (pictured in 2017) is scheduled to perform at this year’s Chicago Gospel Music Festival. Getty Images
Karen Clark-Sheard (pictured in 2017) : Getty Images

Gospel music is one of the most powerful forms of expression. It's a tradition that has been passed down from generation to generation, and it's all about spreading the good word. The Chicago Gospel Music Festival celebrates it's soulful history and motivational sounds in a big way: it features performances by Praize Production RIZE Youth Company, Choir Nation and GRAMMY® Award winners Karen Clark Sheard and Tye Tribbett on the Jay Pritzker Pavilion stage.

June 8-11 Millennium Park

This year's Chicago Blues Festival will be held at Millennium Park in downtown Chicago, and it's going to be better than ever. It's an annual event that's been held every year for almost 40 years now, and it's a celebration of the blues music that was born right here in Chicago—the blues capital of the world!

The lineup includes Nora Jean Wallace, Jontavious Willis, Jimmy Burns Band, and many more. You can check out the full lineup here. And you don't have to worry about tickets or admission fees—it's free! So what are you waiting for? Get yourself down to Millennium Park on June 8-11 for some amazing music and great food and drinks from local vendors.

June 10-11 2 pm-10 pm Northerly Island
1-Day pass $109 2-Day $184

If you're looking for a music festival that's all about the heat, look no further than Chicago's HOTTEST Music Fest: Heat Wave. This summer, the city will be transformed into a pop art-inspired wonderland as we celebrate with two days of multi-genre music. You'll be able to dance to your favorite artists as they perform on Northerly Island, which will be jam-packed with food trucks and other vendors. The vibe is guaranteed to be one of summertime fun, so make sure you're ready when it comes time to hit the ground running!

June 23-24 Grant Park
1-Day $45 2-Day $90

There are so many ways to celebrate Pride Month in Chicago. One of our favorites is Pride in the Park, a two-day music festival celebrating LGBTQ culture and pride on June 23rd and 24th at Grant Park.

June 23-25 Bridgeview, IL
3-Day Pass $275 + fees or $65 deposit +payment plan

The summer festival season is upon us, and Lyrical Lemonade Summer Smash Music Festival is getting ready to take over the Chicago area! This three-day music festival is all about hip hop and rap artists, but it's also got plenty of other things going on that make it an event you won't want to miss.

The festival takes place at SeatGeek Stadium in Bridgeview on June 23rd through 25th. There are three stages throughout the venue, so it's easy to find your favorite artists or catch a new act that you didn't know about before. There will also be art exhibitions throughout the weekend as well as tons of food vendors making sure everyone stays full and happy all weekend long.

July 13-16 United Center
4-Day $299 SOLD OUT Daily: $59.95-$85

The Windy City Smoke Out is the ultimate music festival experience. With over 15 live performances, including Luke Bryan, Dylan Scott, and Zac Brown Band, there's something for everyone! And with BBQ from the world’s best pitmasters and bars & concessions throughout the festival grounds with cashless capabilities, there are tons of ways to keep yourself fed and hydrated. Not only that—it's free for kids 10 and under! You can even come in and out throughout the day as you please thanks to in-and-out privileges. That's why it's no wonder this festival draws so many people every year.

July 21-23 Union Park (West Loop)
1-Day $109 3-Day $239

It's here! The Pitchfork Music Festival is back for its 17th anniversary, and this year's lineup is beyond incredible. Pitchfork Music Festival is a three-day event held in Union Park (West Loop) that brings together more than 40 artists for a weekend of live music. The festival has been going on since 2006 and has become an annual event for many Chicagoans—not only because it offers a great lineup, but also because it's a chance to explore the West Loop area of the city.

This year the music festival features performances from The Smile, Snail Mail, Bon Iver, Alvvays, Weyes Blood and so many more.

Pitchfork Music Festival will offer Chicagoans the perfect chance to discover or reconnect with music right in their own backyard. The festival will feature a diverse range of new, up-and-coming music from around the world, a special live performance from touring legends and local favorites, restaurants and food trucks galore, an on-site record shop, a craft fair and special appearances from local bakeries and breweries. In addition to the diverse vendors, Flatstock posters, live artist interviews and an entire day of activities for attendees to engage with between sets are other highlights that promise to make this something you won't want to miss.

Aerial shot of Lollapalooza stage with Chicago skyline in the back
Aerial: Roger Ho for Lollapalooza 2022
August 3-6 Grant Park (Loop)
3-Day $375 2-Day $250 1-Day $125

If you're looking for a music festival in Chicago, you can't go wrong with Lollapalooza. It's the largest music festival in Chicago, and it takes place over 4 days at Grant Park. This year, Lollapalooza runs from August 3-6.

The lineup this year includes big names like Kendrick Lamar, Red Hot Chili Peppers, and Lana Del Rey as well as smaller indie bands like Sabrina Carpenter and Joey Bada$$.
Group of three festival attendees walking through the bubble entrance of Lollapalooza
Entrance :Roger Ho for Lollapalooza 2022

There are over 30 local eats at Lollapalooza's row of restaurant booths called Chow Town—it's a great place to grab something delicious while listening to some great music!

Lollapalooza also has Kidzapalooza which is a special section dedicated just to kids—perfect if you have little ones who want to come along with you!

There are eight stages throughout Grant Park where all kinds of different genres are represented: rock, pop/electronica, hip hop/rap/R&B.

August 19-20 Little Village

It's the Latin music festival that has been so popular in Chicago for the last few years, and this year it will be bigger than ever! If you love live Latino music, you'll love this festival. It's got everything from Latin pop to hip hop, with over 40 bands performing across two main stages.

We're not going to lie: we're super excited about the artists on the lineup. Kali Uchis, Juanes, and Los Bunkers are just a few of the amazing acts coming to Little Village this year. But there's more than just music on this roster—there's also food, drink and craft vendors galore. And if you're into lucha libre? Well then we have an entire schedule of matches planned for you!

August 31- September 3 Millenium Park
The Chicago Jazz Festival is back!

This year, the festival will be held August 31-September 3 in Millennium Park. Admission is free, so get ready to pack your bags and head to Chicago for a weekend of jazz music and festivities.

The festival is produced by DCASE and programmed by the Jazz Institute of Chicago (JIC). The JIC will have a tent where you can buy limited edition festival merch and artwork. If you're a jazz aficionado, there are plenty of opportunities to see some great musicians perform during the festival. If you're not a jazz aficionado but are looking for an excuse to come out and enjoy some sunshine with friends, this will be a perfect opportunity for that too!

The event will surely be a hit with locals and tourists alike—you won't want to miss this one!

Sept. 1-3 Bridgeview, IL

Get your Tickets with code: HANZCRAFTED

Rave dome with fire special effects
The Dome: North Coast 2022

With an incredible lineup of artists, North Coast Music Festival is the perfect place to get your EDM fix.

The festival will take place from September 1-3 and feature over 100 performances by some of the biggest names in house music across six stages. The lineup this year includes Liquid Stranger, DJ Snake, Zeds Dead, Ganja White Night and Black Tiger Sex Machine to name a few.

The festival also holds experimental areas with interactive art, live performances, and local vendors to set the vibe.

North Coast Music Festival incorporated rest areas, yacht club perks, air-conditioned chillout zones, and oasis hammock lounge seating. Last year's interactive projects included all of these. The Chill Dome was a giant air-conditioned dome, which included a hammock lounge and chillaxing spots. The North Coast Yacht Club was designed to encourage closeness between all of the festival goers while providing a high view of the entire festival. Temple of Intention was an interactive installation that gave you an elevated experience and enabled you to meet up with your crew mates. Rainbow Lounge, which included hammocks, functioned as both an art installation and a resting place, giving you a chance to relax.

Sept. 1-3 Union Park

It's officially festival season, and ARC Music Festival is here to celebrate house and techno music in all its glory.

The three-day event will be held at Union Park in Chicago from September 1-3—and the lineup is nothing short of incredible.

Headliners include Eric Prydz, Adam Beyer, and more than 40 other house and techno DJs from around the world. Local artists like Collette and Gene Farris will also be performing at this year's festival.

This isn't your typical festival experience—ARC Music Festival is all about creating a space where people can come together as one united community. It's about creating an environment where people can feel safe while enjoying some of their favorite music. It's about bringing people together to celebrate their love of music while also being able to enjoy themselves without feeling like they're going out alone, where they can be their most authentic selves.

September 15-17 Douglas Park

Riot Fest is one of the largest independently owned music festivals in the United States. It's held annually at Douglas Park in Chicago, Illinois, and it spans three days in September. Riot Fest started in 2005 and has been growing ever since. They're known for booking various punk rock bands, but they also include pop punk and emo acts as well as local bands.

Riot Fest has featured artists like Paramore, The Cure, Weezer, The Offspring, Modest Mouse, and Brand New. This year's lineup is still being released but there's a good chance that Paramore will headline again this year!

Side projects, cities and their music, and the memories and connections we all create -- appreciate them, down to the core. So there you have it. These are the most significant and noteworthy music festivals in Chicago this summer. Don't miss out on any of the fun. Get the best tickets now and make sure to follow our socials to never miss an update!

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1 Comment

There are so many great music festivals here. I’ve put these dates in my calendar. I’m excited to check out some of the no cost fests also.

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