After a cold winter, Chicago likes to celebrate with a full slate of outdoor summertime festivals that feature the scenic waters of Lake Michigan and the iconic skyline. Skip the usual touristy spots this year and hit up one the following festivals to experience the true spirit of one of America’s greatest cities.
Lollapalooza Chicago 2018
August 2-5, 2018
It’s loud. It’s messy. It’s Lollapalooza. You got to hand it Perry Farrell, the bizarre and quirky visionary who reinvented the American music festival with Lollapalooza, first taking it on the road in the last century and then putting down stakes in Chicago. Despite a firm homebase in the Windy City, Lolla hasn’t forgotten its traveling roots with editions in South America and Europe.
Featured Artists: Arctic Monkeys, BØRNS, Bruno Mars, Catfish and the Bottlemen, Chromeo, CHVRCHES, Cigarettes After Sex, Dillon Francis, Excision, Franz Ferdinand, Galantis, Jack White, James Bay, Lykke Li, Odesza, Parquet Courts, Portugal. the Man, Slaves, St. Vincent, The National, The Vaccines, The Weeknd, Tycho, Vampire Weekend, Walk the Moon, Zedd
Photo Credit: Nick Simonite
Riot Fest Chicago 2018
September 14-16, 2018
For fans of punk, alt rock, and artists you won’t see on other festival lineups, Riot Fest should be on your bucket list. Started as a showcase festival in Chicago in 2005, Riot Fest has transformed into a multi-day outdoor festival and has spawned editions in Toronto and Denver. The original in Chicago’s Humbolt Park remains the best and most solid lineup of the bunch.
Photo Credit: Jeff Callen
Mamby on the Beach 2018
June 23-24, 2018
Mamby on the Beach, Chicago’s only beachside summer music festival takes place on the grassy fields and sand-swept coastline of Oakwood Beach in the historic Bronzeville neighborhood. The two-day boutique festival features not only a stunning view of Chicago’s skyline and the shimmering waters of Lake Michigan, but also the best in indie, electronic, and hip-hop.
Pitchfork Festival 2018
July 20-22, 2018
As one of the leading voices in the musical landscape, you would guess right that Pitchfork knows how to throw an outstanding festival. The Chicago based festival takes place in Union Park. You may not recognize most of the names on the lineup poster, but if it's curated by Pitchfork, then these artists are definitely worth checking out.
Photo Credit: Vito Valentinetti
Spring Awakening 2018
June 8-10, 2018
With a new home at Addams/Medil Park, the five year old Spring Awakening Festival continues to supply Chicago with a summertime burst of EDM cacophony. There’s over 100 artists on the bill supported by trippy stage production like fireworks, smoke plumes, and pyrotechnics.
Photo Credit: React Presents
North Coast Music Festival 2018
August 31-September 2, 2018
North Coast Music Festival is a collaboration of independent promoters in Chicago that have presented everything from small shows to selling out large scale concerts. "Summer's Last Stand" descends upon Union Park during Labor Day Weekend with the world's electronic, house, jam-band, indie, and hip-hop communities.
Photo Credit: Keith Griner - Pierce Photography
Country LakeShake 2018
June 22-24, 2018
Chicago’s biggest weekend for country music returns with all the genre superstars that has made it famous. 50,000 fans take to the scenic shores of Lake Michigan on Northerly Island for three days packed with music and outdoor fun.
Photo Credit: Country LakeShake
Summer Camp 2018
May 25-27, 2018
From chilled out late night campfire jams to beat busting dance shows, the party at Summer Camp goes long past the end of scheduled performances. “Scampers” can apply to become camp counselors which means free tickets, free camping, and free beer in exchange for being an official party ambassador to the other attendees. Our resident festival expert calls Summer Camp — “The best festival of the Memorial Day Weekend.”
Photo Credit: Katie Mendez