As the annual roll call for summer music festivals continues to balloon, a select few set themselves apart from the pack. Below are our festival picks for the summer, including both the local neighborhood bookings and the familiar blowouts like Pitchfork, Blues Fest, and Lollapalooza.
HoZac Blackout Fest The infamous festival returns in a big way from its five-year nap, featuring the Nervous Eaters, Nobunny, the Spits, the Brides, Tutu & the Pirates, Timmy's Organism, Reading Rainbow, TV Ghost, and others. 5/27-5/28, Fri 7 PM, Sat 4 PM, Velvet Perineum, 2515 N. Milwaukee, 773-276-3600, $20 for Fri, $30 for Sat, golden ticket $45.
- Do-Divison Street Fest & Sidewalk Sale
Do-Division Street Fest & Sidewalk Sale The Empty Bottle and Subterranean/House Call Entertainment programmed a lineup that includes Big Freedia, A Place to Bury Strangers, Dengue Fever, Omar Souleyman, Mirah & Thao, Led Zeppelin 2, and the Talking Heads tribute This Must Be the Band. As the fest's title suggests, there's also an expansive ten-block sidewalk sale. 6/4-6/5, noon-10 PM, Division between Ashland and Leavitt, do-divisionstreetfest.com, $5 suggested donation.
Chicago Blues Fest Highlights include tributes to both Robert Johnson and Pinetop Perkins as well as a celebration of Alligator Records' 40th anniversary. Featured artists throughout the weekend include Shemekia Copeland, David "Honeyboy" Edwards, Billy Branch, Carl Weathersby, and Eddie Cotton. 6/10-6/12, 11 AM-9:30 PM, Grant Park, Columbus and Jackson, 312-744-3315, chicagobluesfestival.us. F
Neon Marshmallow Fest For its second edition, the experimental/noise festival rolls out an impressive lineup that features Lucky Dragons, Pelt, Bill Orcutt, Morton Subotnick, Oneohtrix Point Never, Mountains, and others. 6/10-6/12, 7 PM, Empty Bottle, 1035 N. Western, 773-276-3600, neonmarshmallowfest.com, $25 per day, three-day pass $70.
Ribfest Chicago Slabs of ribs are nice and all, but the three-day fest also includes musical performances by Hayes Carll, Tapes 'n Tapes, the Ettes, Jukebox the Ghost, Legendary Shack Shakers, Waco Brothers, and My Gold Mask. 6/10-6/12, Fri 5-10 PM, Sat-Sun noon-10 PM, Lincoln between Irving Park and Warner, ribfest-chicago.com, $5 suggested donation.
Taste of Randolph Street Located in one of the city's prominent food corridors, the festival has expanded to three stages of music and includes marquee acts like the Reverend Horton Heat, Swervedriver, the Heavy, Here We Go Magic, Shilpa Ray & Her Happy Hookers, Anamanaguchi, and the 1900s. 6/17-6/19, Fri 5-11 PM, Sat-Sun noon-11 PM, 900 W. Randolph, starevents.com/events/taste-of-randolph, $10 suggested donation.
Taste of Chicago Headliners at the Petrillo Music Shell include the Lemonheads, Natalie Cole, Loretta Lynn, the Jayhawks, and Greyson Chance. 6/24-7/3, 11 AM-8:30 PM, except Sun 7/3, 11 AM-6 PM, Grant Park, Columbus and Jackson, 312-744-3315, tasteofchicago.us. F
Green Music Fest The eco-friendly fest features performances by Yo La Tengo, Les Savy Fav, the Thermals, Trampled by Turtles, the Life and Times, and others. Biodiesel-fueled generators, biodegradable plastic cups, recycling, and composting options make the whole operation legit. 6/25-6/26, noon-10 PM, Damen between North and Schiller, 312-850-9390, greenmusicfestchicago.com, $5 suggested donation.
FitzGerald's American Music Festival Marcia Ball, Junior Brown, Dave Alvin & the Guilty Ones, and the Spampinato Brothers are among the confirmed acts. 7/1-7/3, FitzGerald's, 6615 Roosevelt, Berwyn, 708-788-2118, fitzgeraldsnightclub.com, price TBA.
African/Caribbean International Festival of Life Freddie McGregor, Machel Montano, Boukman Eksperyans, Macka Diamond, and Jah Destiny are among the performers announced thus far. 7/1-7/4, noon-10 PM, Washington Park, 55th and Cottage Grove, 312-427-0266, martinsinterculture.com/ifol.html, $15 after 5 PM, $10 before 5 PM, $5 children and seniors, four-day pass $30.
Dave Matthews Band Caravan Hopefully names like Dave Matthews Band, O.A.R., David Gray, and Ray LaMontagne don't trump the more interesting crop of bands that includes the Flaming Lips, Drive-By Truckers, Vieux Farke Toure, and the Jayhawks. 7/8-7/10, Lakeside between 79th and 83rd, dmbcaravan.com, $85 per day, three-day pass $195.
Irish American Heritage Festival Gaelic Storm, the Tossers, Scythian, McPeake, and the Makem & Spain Brothers are just a handful of bands performing. Irish dance demos and a mashed-potato eating contest are added festivities to the weekend. 7/8-7/10, Irish American Heritage Center, 4626 N. Knox, 773-282-7035, irishfestchicago.com, $14, $8 in advance, $7 seniors, free for children under 12.
Chicago Folk & Roots Festival Presented by the Old Town School of Folk Music, the eclectic festival features music by Delbert McClinton, Maraca, Rosie Flores, Baloji, Lost Bayou Ramblers, and Glen David Andrews. 7/9-7/10, noon-9:30 PM, Lincoln between Montrose and Sunnyside, $10 suggested donation, $5 kids and seniors.
Chosen Few House Music Picnic Frankie Knuckles, Ten City, Wayne Williams, Jesse Saunders, Tony Hatchett, and Alan King perform at the 21st edition of the daylong house music fest. 7/9, 8 AM-8PM, 63rd and Hayes, chosenfewdjs.com, $10.
Warped Tour The annual sweltering day of punk features August Burns Red, the Devil Wears Prada, Less Than Jake, Lucero, Pepper, Dance Gavin Dance, Set Your Goals, Unwritten Law, and others. 7/9, noon, First Midwest Bank Amphitheatre, I-80 and Harlem, Tinley Park, 708-614-1616, $29.50.
West Fest Confirmed acts include Liturgy, Those Darlins, No Joy, Local H, and Bare Mutants. The DJ stage features Derrick Carter, Dix, and Jesse de la Pena, among others. 7/9-7/10, noon-10 PM, Chicago between Damen and Wood, 312-850-9390, westfestchicago.com, $5 suggested donation.
- Paul John Higgins
- Pitchfork Music Festival
Pitchfork Music Festival The city's flagship indie festival features sets by Animal Collective, Guided by Voices, Dismemberment Plan, TV on the Radio, Fleet Foxes, Cut Copy, No Age, Off!, Battles, Das Racist, DJ Shadow, Tune-Yards, and a ton of others. 7/15-7/17, Union Park, 1501 W. Randolph, 866-468-3401, pitchforkmusicfestival.com, $45 per day, three-day passes sold out.
Wicker Park Fest Wild Flag, Wavves, Ana Sia, El Ten Eleven, Blitzen Trapper, Joe Pug, and Flosstradamus are among the acts announced thus far. 7/23-7/24, noon-10 PM, Milwaukee between North and Wood, 773-384-2672, wickerparkbucktown.com, $5 suggested donation.
Milwaukee Avenue Arts Festival The festival features a host of gallery exhibitions and a strong local music lineup that includes JC Brooks & the Uptown Sound, White Mystery, Hollows, the Arrivals, and the Hood Internet. 7/29-7/31, Fri 4-1 PM, Sat-Sun noon-11 PM, Milwaukee between California and Kimball, 773-278-4257, milwaukeeavenueartsfestival.org. F
Lollapalooza The mega festival rolls out its usual program of chart-toppers and indie pleasers with Eminem, the Foo Fighters, Coldplay, Muse, My Morning Jacket, Deadmau5, the Cars, Girl Talk, Pretty Lights, Ween, Bright Eyes, Atmosphere, Cold War Kids, Lykke Li, the Kills, Sleigh Bells, Explosions in the Sky, and a load more. The schedule has yet to be announced. 8/5-8/7, Grant Park, Columbus and Jackson, 888-512-7469, lollapalooza.com, three-day pass $215, single-day ticket on-sale date TBA.
North Coast Music Festival The ambitious festival enters its second year with a lineup that includes Bassnectar, Wiz Khalifa, Thievery Corporation, Fat Boy Slim, Common, Gogol Bordello, Of Montreal, Major Lazer, Lotus, and the Budos Band. The schedule has yet to be announced. 9/2-9/4, Union Park, 1501 W. Randolph, northcoastfestival.com, three-day pass $95, single-day ticket on-sale date TBA.
Chicago Jazz Festival Cassandra Wilson, Roy Hargrove, and the Saxophone Summit featuring Joe Lavano, David Liebman, and Ravi Coltrane are among the few performers announced. 9/1-9/4, Thu noon and 6:30 PM, Fri 6:30-9:30 PM, Sat-Sun, 11 AM-9:30 PM, Chicago Cultural Center (78 E. Washington), Millennium Park (Michigan and Randolph), Grant Park (Columbus and Jackson), 312-744-3316, chicagojazzfestival.us. F
World Music Festival Performers and schedule TBA. 9/16-9/22, several venues, 312-744-8948, worldmusicfestivalchicago.org.