Get out and enjoy the music: your guide to Chicago music festivals

Reanna Comiso, Features Editor

Summer arrives, and out come the music fans. Pretty soon, the Chicagoland area will be flocked by avid music-goers of all shapes, sizes and genres.


Chicago hosts some of the biggest music festivals in the world every summer. With Lollapalooza, Pitchfork and so many more, there is a music festival for everyone.

The biggest music festival to come of out Chicago is Lollapalooza. The festival prides itself in hosting all sorts of genres, from indie rock to electronic to even the occasional metal act. This is the festival everyone seems to be talking about.

Each year, this four-day festival draws more than 400,000 people by bringing some of the biggest names to the stage. This year, headlining acts include: Bruno Mars, The Arctic Monkeys, Jack White, The Weeknd and Travis Scott. The festival will take place from August 2 to 5.

With big names comes big price, though. A single day ticket at the base price costs $120 with fees. Tickets can be expected to be much more costly once they sell out and can only be purchased through outside vendors. Be smart with your money, and buy sooner rather than later if you are dying to go.

The festival also takes place in Grant Park, so parking is ultimately nonexistent. Be sure to research means of getting to and from the festival, and pray you don’t miss your train home.


Another popular festival in Chicago is the Pitchfork Music Festival, sponsored by the music publication of the same name. This festival is the go-to for anyone interested in up-and-coming bands and underground artists, while also boasting some big headlining names.

Earlier this semester, I reviewed the lineup to this year’s festival. A full review can be found on the Courier website.

This festival is exceptionally smaller than Lollapalooza, and the price is more manageable. The festival will take place from July 20 to 22, and tickets can be purchased from around $75 per day or $175 for all three days.

Pitchfork takes place in Union Park, located on the Near Westside of Chicago by the Green and Pink lines of the CTA. Parking is an option as well as traveling by train, so getting to and from the festival is exceptionally easier, if that is a concern.

Spring Awakening

Spring Awakening, taking place from June 8 to 10, is an electronic music festival that draws in fans from all over. The festival in recent years has brought in more than 90,000 attendees.

In the past, Spring Awakening has been held in Soldier Field, right off of Lake Shore Drive. The festival now takes place in Addams-Medill Park in Chicago. It will include several big names in the electronic music world, including deadmau5, Kaskade and Tiesto.

Tickets for this festival currently range from $79 per day or $209 for all three days. Prices are expected to go up once the limited number at this price range sell out. Again, buying early would be advised to save more money.

Country LakeShake

Fear not, country music fans. There is a festival designed especially for the biggest country music fans out there. Country LakeShake will return to Chicago for its fourth year, being one of the very few country music festivals in the area.

This festival will take place from June 22 to 24. Headliners will include Blake Shelton, Dierks Bentley and Florida Georgia Line. It is held at the Huntington Bank Pavilion at the popular Northerly Island.

Several types of tickets for this festival will be sold. General admission lawn tickets are on sale for $99.50 per day, where general admission full access tickets are $150.50 per day. Full access tickets get attendees entry to unrestricted areas of the festival, including the chance to get up close to the main stage versus being restricted to lawn seats.

Riot Fest

My personal favorite festival, Riot Fest, takes place at the tail end of summer. This year, the festival will take place from September 14 to 16. The festival switched locations a few years ago and now takes place in Douglas Park, Chicago.

This festival is home to various rock, punk, industrial and hip-hop groups, while also priding itself in bringing about some of the most anticipated reunions. In past years, the festival brought many big names to the stage, including Nine Inch Nails, an original Misfits reunion, The Cure and more.

A lineup has yet to be released, and tickets have not yet gone on sale, but anyone interested in attending should be on the lookout. In previous years, the lineup has been released in late May.