Summer in Chicago is a beautiful thing.
Hanging out by Lake Michigan, cheering and rooting for (or against) the Cubs and the White Sox, the beautiful, long nights. And probably the best of all: rocking out at some of Chicago’s greatest music festivals.
These festivals feature bands from all over the world, whether they are local bands that are only known by a handful of people, or bands that have become household names and sell millions of dollars in albums, this summer is soaked in festivals in the Windy City.
And FM89 has the very latest on it all!
Taste of Chicago
When: July 6-10
Where: Grant Park
Taste of Chicago (commonly known as “The Taste” by Chicagoans) is very popular throughout the midwest for its lineup of local artists by day, headliners by night, and the very best of the city’s cuisine all in-between. The “Taste” started in 1980, when some of Chicago’s restaurant owners came to former mayor Richard M. Daley with the idea of a food festival on the Fourth of July on Michigan Avenue. However, the festival would move to Grant Park the following year to accommodate festival-goers. Last year, nearly 1.5 million people attended the “Taste.”
The Roots, KONGOS, The Decemberists, Billy Idol, and The Isley Brothers will headline this year. There will also be many local artists taking the stage during the day, such as country duo Elk Walking, hip-hop artist Z-Verse, rock group King Mixer, surf pop group Impulsive Hearts, R&B singer Nola Ade, and many more.
Wanna rock out and get your grub on? Check out the “Taste’s” site for the latest.
When: Now through July 3; July 5-10
Where: Henry Meier Festival Park in Milwaukee, WI
Summerfest is known as “The World’s Largest Music Festival,” and it’s only a couple-hour drive from Chicago.
Their two-week lineup features bands for all ages and those who like a little variety in their life. Rock legends (and soon-to-be legends) will headline each night of this year’s Summerfest, such as Sir Paul McCartney, Sting and Peter Gabriel, Weezer and Panic! At the Disco, and Chicago-rocker Rise Against, whose only close-to-home show is at Summerfest!
Non-rockers also headlining are country star Luke Bryan, Blake Shelton, pop princess Selena Gomez, and Pitbull.
The festival was invented by Henry Meier in 1968 in over thirty locations throughout the city of Milwaukee. However, many events took place besides the music, like a film festival, an air show, and a pageant.
This tradition still continues today at Festival Park, yet there is more focus on music. Over 770,000 people attended last year’s Summerfest.
For all the details from our neighbors to the north, check out the official website for Summerfest.
Pitchfork Music Festival
When: July 15-17
Where: Union Park
The Pitchfork Music Festival features some of the best in alternative rock, hip-hop, and EDM, while raising awareness and support for all local artists (not just in music). The festival popped-up in 2005 as the Intonation Music Festival. It was originally two days instead of three. Performers such as Tortoise, The Decemberists, and Les Savy Fav took the stage that year.
Many other artists will take the stage that weekend, such as Carly Rae Jepsen, psychedelic rock group Super Furry Animals, emo band The Hotelier, and Chicago’s own Twin Peaks. Outside of the music, there will be record, craft, and book fairs all in support of Chicago’s artists.
Visit Pitchfork’s website for all the details on this year’s festival.
Chicago Open Air
When: July 15-17
Where: Toyota Park in Bridgeview
The home of the Chicago Fire plays home to the inaugural Chicago Open Air music festival. The very first lineup features the best in metal, both past and present.
German heavy metal band Rammstein are back after a five year hiatus and are headlining the festival’s debut onto the Chicago concert scene. Chicago natives Disturbed and masked-rockers Slipknot are also performing.
More metal greats will grace the stages at Toyota Park that weekend such as Of Mice and Men, Drowning Pool, Alter Bridge, Miss May I, Marilyn Manson, and We Came as Romans. With all that is happening both inside and outside the festival (Gourmet Man Food, anyone?), this festival is going to be a rager.
Wanna thrash (and try some of that man food)? Check out the official site for more info.
Vans Warped Tour
When: July 23
Where: Hollywood Casino Amphitheater in Tinley Park
Vans Warped Tour features many familiar (and some not-so-familiar) faces in the world of punk rock. The first tour was in 1995 and not only attracts rock fans, but skaters too (considering that many pro skaters wear Vans), and a half-pipe is brought along to many tour locations.
Tinley Park is the twentieth stop on this year’s tour.
George Shrouder of Youth in Revolt. July 25, 2015. Photo Credit: Sam Attebery.
There will be a multitude of headliners, like post-hardcore band Falling in Reverse, metalcore band Atreyu, Against the Current, and many more. Other acts include Good Charlotte, State Champs, I See Stars, Sum 41, and a plethora of other rockers in this one-day extravaganza. Good Charlotte and Sum 41, both big names in the early 2000s’ pop-punk revolution are back on the road after brief hiatus’s.
For more information on the Warped Tour’s stop in Tinley Park and to see where the tour’s heading next, visit their website.
When: July 28-31
Where: Grant Park
Lollapalooza (or fondly called by many, Lolla) is one of the most popular summer festivals in Chicago. It features a variety of genres from rock to indie EDM.
Lolla originally started as a touring music festival in 1991 by Perry Farrell, the lead singer of Jane’s Addiction, but eventually stayed in Grant Park. Despite the rain on the final day at last year’s Lolla, it drew-in about 300,000 people to Grant Park.
On it’s 25th anniversary, Lolla announced an extra day of the festival.
Radiohead is back after a five year silence to headline. As well as The Red Hot Chili Peppers, Ellie Goulding and LCD Soundsystem are headlining. Other artists taking the stage are Halsey, Bastille, PVRIS, The 1975, M83, Two Door Cinema Club, and Foals. EDM favorites Flume, Disclosure, Die Antwoord, Grimes, and Cashmere Cat will also be making an appearance.
North Coast Music Festival
When: September 2-4
Where: Union Park
North Coast showcases many acts in the genres of indie-rock, hip-hop, and EDM. The festival started in 2010, with The Chemical Brothers, progressive rock group Umphrey’s McGee, and Chicago-rapper Lupe Fiasco performing.
Urchicago called it “one of the highlights of the year” and “definitely a festival to keep an eye on in the years to come.”
If you’re a little more rock n’ roll than electronic, The Revivalists, Allan Rayman, and Matt & Kim will also take the stage during the Labor Day weekend festival. Plus, if you missed your chance at Mamby, you can dance in a silent disco at North Coast to a wide variety of DJs mixing their latest beats.
Check out North Coast’s official website for more details and the full lineup of artists.
2016 Ravinia Festival Season
When: Now through September 11
Where: Ravinia Festival in Highland Park
You are probably wondering why we included this in our summer preview.
Some may think that Ravinia is too fancy, or it only hosts classical concerts. Wrong!
Even though Ravinia is the summer residence for the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and they hold many jazz and classical concerts, many famous rockers have played concerts here in many past seasons, such as Bob Dylan, Train, and Steely Dan.
The 2016 Ravinia season is packed with many familiar faces in rock, such as Chris Cornell, Duran Duran, and O.A.R. Other genres will serenade Ravinia’s pavilion and lawn, like country star Kenny Rogers, Motown legend Diana Ross, and crooner Tony Bennett. If you are feeling in the mood for some classical music, the Emerson String Quartet, pianist Manahem Pressler, and Yo-Yo Ma will also perform throughout the season, as well as the CSO.
Check out the Ravinia Festival’s website for their full, chock-filled lineup.
Riot Fest and Carnival
When: September 16-18
Where: Douglas Park
Riot Fest is nearly as popular as Lolla is, with rock and hip-hop acts being the main attraction.
The very first Riot Fest was in 2005, but took place at multiple locations throughout Chicago over a three-day weekend. Bands like Weezer, the Mighty Mighty Bosstones, and Fun. performed during the first run. Riot Fest has relocated (more than once) to one venue only. Originally, the fest took place in Humboldt Park, but was moved to Douglas Park last year, due to community protest.
This year’s lineup has reunited the original Misfits, along with the very-sad Morrissey, and Riot Grrrl staple Sleater-Kinnley. Other acts include Jimmy Eat World, rapper Nas, Fitz and the Tantrums, Rob Zombie, and so much more.
To find out how to mosh, visit their site.
Written by Lily Yood and Peter Schiller
Featured Photo by Cassie Fenwick.