7 Awesome In-Person Chicago Festivals this Summer

Chicago FestivalsThis summer, festivals are back!  June, July, and August are already booked with iconic events postponed from last year.  Popular festivals like Pitchfork and Lollapalooza have returned, but many smaller fests will be equally entertaining.  Here are some of the awesome Chicago festivals you must attend this summer.   

Pitchfork Music Festival 

This festival is one of the most beloved indie music festivals in the nation.  This time around, Pitchfork is ditching their midsummer tradition for a safer, prospective path.  

September might feel like back-to-school time but in Chicago, the beginning of fall is still hot and sunny.  Starting September 10th, Pitchfork will be rolling out their three-day extravaganza, with many bands from 2020’s suspended lineup.  

While the festival will have huge performers like Erykah Badu, Big Thief, and Animal Collective, its significance comes from the inclusion of Chicago acts.  Pitchfork has a long history of including local talent, which connects its monstrous following to the city’s thriving music community.  This year, young Chicago artists like Horsegirl and KeiyaA will be gracing the Union Park stages, ready to prove our midwest’s musical capabilities.  

The transition from summer to fall can still be full of outdoor fun.  Though the three-day passes are sold out for now, single-day tickets are still available here: https://pitchforkmusicfestival.com


Chicago’s biggest and most chaotic festival is also returning.  Extending through downtown’s humongous Grant Park, Lolla has fans overjoyed with their all-star lineup.  

Some of quarantine’s rising stars have been invited to perform, like Megan Thee Stallion and Polo G.  But, it’s the surprising mix of musical genres that make Lolla a festival for everyone. 

Even for us millennials, the lineup doesn’t disappoint. From mid-2000’s pop-punk stars All Time Low to Disney Channel sisters Aly & AJ, I’m pleasantly surprised by the range of musical eras being represented.  Even old favorites like Journey and Limp Bizkit are set to headline the four-day fest, making it an impossible adventure to miss.  

Experience over 170+ bands at this eclectic summer spectacular.  Check out one-day and aftershow tickets at the Lolla website: https://www.lollapalooza.com/ 

Ruido Festival 

Union Park is surely the place to be this summer.  Other than Pitchfork, it’s set to host Ruido Festival: Chicago’s only Latin alternative fest. This three-day event of Latin excellence will enthrall fans of Reggae, Psychedelic, Hip-hop, Post-Punk, and more. 

Starting in 2015, Ruido Festival has been showcasing the global talent of all different genres. The man behind the fest is Chicago’s Mark Wager: owner and founder of marketing company Metronome.  His desire to showcase Latin talent has transformed into a destination event.  Today, famous bands from all over the world come to the Windy City to perform.

Mark and his team are taking special precautions for the 2021 festival.  With many countries still struggling to get the vaccine, Ruido Fest ensures their bands can have their safety measures met.  Whether the performers need two-week quarantining or securing a covid vaccine, the staff ensures their artists are healthy and covid-free. 

In a time where many musicians are struggling, it’s great to see Chicago festivals support their hardworking talent. You can get tickets here: https://ruidofest.com/ 

Taste of Lincoln Avenue 

The Taste of Lincoln Avenue event will be this northside  37th consecutive year.  Though famous for their variety of finer foods, this fest has plenty of other reasons to attend.  

Starting on July 24th, the fest is located in Lincoln Park in between Wrightwood and Fullerton Avenue.  This neighborhood staple started as, and remains, a fundraiser for Wrightwood Neighbors Association in Lincoln Park.  The non-for-profit focuses on community issues, like crime prevention and unlawful landlords.  You’ll be having a great time dancing and snacking while giving back to the neighborhood directly.  

Alongside the food and wine, there will be entertainment spanning the whole weekend.  High-energy rock bands from our beautiful Chicago scene set to perform, making for a jovial summer celebration.  

Additional details and scheduling here: https://www.tasteoflincolnchicago.com/ 

Wicker Park Fest

Another city favorite, Wicker Park Fest is back from its Covid hiatus. Beloved for its inclusion of up-and-coming local acts, this year’s lineup does not disappoint. 

Spanning all along Milwaukee from Ashland to Damen, this four-block fest has a little bit of everything. Chicago food vendors adorn every street, ensuring you’re fed and hydrated for all the entertainment.  

Three different stages triple the excitement for this underrated music festival.  Huge local acts like Ric Wilson are set to headline the fest, while more artists are being revealed weekly.  This fest encapsulates all the creativity that Chicago has to offer.  Learn more about the Wicker Park event here: 


Northalsted Market Days

Market Days has always been a vibrant celebration of LGBTQ people, and this year will be no different. 

Market Days is the less crowded version of Chicago’s Pride Parade.  It incorporates all of Halsted, starting from Belmont and almost reaching Wrigley Field.  The iconic bars and clubs on the strip all have their own tents on Halsted, with live DJs, dancers, and more.  There are plenty of food vendors because you’ll need something to soak up those sugary drinks.  

Pride doesn’t have to stop at the end of June. Attend this free festival on August 6th to experience Chicago’s extravagant gay nightlife.  

More details about performers, vendors, and DJs here: https://northalsted.com/marketdays 

Dancing in the Streets

Starting the weekend of August 7th, Dancing In The Streets is West Town’s newest neighborhood party.  

A four-year-old tradition, this fest brings together food, beer, and live music.  If you’re familiar with West Town, you know that it’s a growing area for Chicago’s breweries.  The fest is co-organized by the Chicago Brewing District and On Tour Brewing, providing a variety of brews for craft-beer enjoyers.  

The emphasis of this event is, of course, the dancing.  Unlike most fests this summer sporting a range of musical genres, Dancing In The Streets is focusing on jam band music of the 70s and 80s;  what better way to shake off your winter blues than with some wild, psychedelic rock.      

West Town will surely be the place this summer for groovy tunes and speciality beers.  Find out more about Dancing In The Streets here: https://www.westtownchamber.org/dancing-in-the-streets 

Chicago is bursting with events from summer to fall.  Luckily this year, we get to have a normal season with all the usual events and festivals.  Let the dreariness of the past melt away while enjoying some live music, food, and drinks in the wonderful Chicago streets.