12 Chicago Music Festivals to Catch This Summer

Ozuna, Miranda Lambert, Wiz Khalifa, Phil Lesh, and Charli XCX walk into a stadium…

As the old joke goes, Chicago only has two seasons: winter… and construction. Though, in the past decade or two, we’d venture that another bonafide seasonal turn has established itself throughout the City of Big Shoulders. Yes, we’re talking about Festival Season—and, boy, it is ever back.

With the throes of a COVID-torn 2020 and 2021 behind us—for now, at least—summer in Chicago is up to its old tricks, bringing with it hundreds of top-notch musical artists proselytizing genres as far-flung as house, indie folk, classic rock, heavy metal, pop punk, hip hop, electronica, Americana, country, and just about everything in between. Do your homework and snag your tickets early because when September hits, you really don't want to be the only fool at the dog park without a permanent wristband tan line.

Here’s everything you need to know about Chicago’s fully loaded 2022 music festival calendar. Go forth and rage.

ARC Music Festival
ARC Music Festival

Where: Union Park
When: Friday, September 2 - Sunday, September 4
The lowdown: It’s no secret that house music was born right here in Chicago, so it only makes sense that this year’s Labor Day Weekend festivities revolve around the genre’s hard-driven beats and infectiously good vibes. Now in its second year, ARC presents three full days of world-class talent intent on getting your booty shaking, your head bopping, and your feet moving to the sounds of old-school dance brilliance bound to leave these newfangled EDM kids shaking in their Yeezys.
The lineup: Headliners include Adam Beyer X Cirez D, Carl Cox, Anna, Charlotte DeWitte Lane 8, Nora En Pure, Richie Hawtin, Fatboy Slim, Chris Lake, Kasablanca, Hiroko Yamamura, DJ Lady D, and Paco Osuna.
The cost: 3-day passes start at $289 per person. Buy yours here.

Hyde Park Summer Fest
Hyde Park Summer Fest

Where: Midway Plaisance
When: Saturday, June 11 - Sunday, June 12
The lowdown: Swapping beers for beats, what once was the Hyde Park Brew Fest has significantly upped the ante after its two-year COVID-induced sabbatical, returning to the South Side streets this June with a hefty roster of artists representing the worlds of hip hop, R&B, soul, and more. Stay tuned for additional artist announcements and other enticing details.
The lineup: Headliners include Busta Rhymes, Lupe Fiasco, BJ the Chicago Kid, Marsha Ambrosius, DJ Jazzy Jeff, Jay Illa, Malik Shabazz, Wyld Chyld, Deejay Alicia, Terry Hunter, and Boolu Master.
The cost: Single-day passes start at $69 per person. Buy yours here.

Lollapalooza
Lollapalooza

Where: Grant Park
When: Thursday, July 28 - Sunday, July 31
The lowdown: Another edition of this four-day bacchanal takes over Grant Park and the lives of every downtowner this July as Chicago’s premiere fest resumes its natural course. One of the world’s largest of its kind, Lolla 2021 managed to attract upwards of 385,000 enthusiastic concert-goers despite the pandemic’s unrelenting reign. This year, expect even more people plus hundreds of bands spread across a multitude of stages blasting everything from pop and hip-hop to hard rock and EDM.
The lineup: Headliners include Metallica, Dua Lipa, J. Cole, Green Day, Doja Cat, Machine Gun Kelly, Lil Baby, and Kygo. Additional acts feature Jane’s Addiction, Glass Animals, Billy Strings, Big Sean, The Kid Laroi, Jazmine Sullivan, Don Toliver, Charli XCX, Idles, Turnstile, Kaskade, Rezz, The Marías, Zhu, YG, Dominic Fike, King Princess, Wallows, Still Woozy, Girl in Red, Ashnikko, Denzel Curry, BLXST, Black Coffee, Duke Dumont, Polo & Pan, Liquid Stranger, CloZee, Willow, Royal Blood, Måneskin, Manchester Orchestra, Cordae, Local Natives, Tove Lo, and Caroline Polachek.
The cost: 4-day passes start at $350 per person. Buy yours here.

The Lyrical Lemonade Summer Smash Festival
The Lyrical Lemonade Summer Smash Festival

Where: Douglass Park
When: Friday, June 17 - Sunday, June 19
The lowdown: Chicago’s biggest hip-hop fest touches down in Douglass Park for yet another three-day bash showcasing both giants of the rap game and young, up-and-coming artists. First held in Chicago in 2018, this newer entrant to Chicago’s crowded summer calendar quickly made a name for itself as a fan favorite, drawing a total of 90,000 attendees to their 2021 comeback.
The lineup: Headliners include Post Malone, Playboi Carti, Young Thug, Gunna, Wiz Khalifa, 2 Chainz, G Herbo, Ski Mask, Lil Skies, $NOT, Lil Tecca, Yeat, Dreezy, Rico Nasty, Bia, Polo G, and Trippie Redd, plus special guests and additional unannounced performers.
The cost: Ticket prices vary. Stay updated here.

North Coast Music Festival
North Coast Music Festival

Where: SeatGeek Stadium
When: Friday, September 2 - Sunday, September 4
The lowdown: Originally a multi-genre fest held in Union Park, this 12-year-old Labor Day tradition has leaned heavily on its EDM roots in recent years, while bouncing around from Northerly Island to its new sprawling home at Bridgeview’s SeatGeek Stadium.
The lineup: Select stages feature lineups from leading labels FISHER's Catch & Release, Diplo's Higher Ground, and Seven Lions' Ophelia Records. Individual headliners include Armin van Buuren, ILLENIUM, Porter Robinson, Subtronics, Gryffin, Jai Wolf, Madeon, SLANDER, Tchami and MALAA (No Redemption), Two Friends, and Kaytranada.
The cost: Single-day passes start at $73.57 per person. Buy yours here.

Out of Space
Out of Space

Where: Canal Shores Golf Course
When: Thursday, August 4 - Sunday, August 7
The lowdown: Okay, so it’s not a festival in the literal sense of the word, but this celebrated outdoor venue’s three-day lineup is so damn awesome this year, we’d be remiss not to give it the respect it deserves. Come on—Elvis Costello? Lucinda Wiliams? Buddy freakin’ Guy? Exactly. Each night promises an intimate evening of stellar music in a breathtaking suburban landscape complete with rolling greens, tons of locally sourced food and drink, and hands-on art installations.
The lineup: Headliners include Jenny Lewis, Trampled by Turtles, Elvis Costello & the Imposters, Nick Lowe & Los Straitjackets, Lucinda Williams, Waxahatchee, and Buddy Guy.
The cost: Single-day passes start at $45 per person. Buy yours here.

Pitchfork Music Festival
Pitchfork Music Festival

Where: Union Park
When: Friday, July 15 - Sunday, July 17
The lowdown: Originally launched in 2005 as Intonation Music Fest, this Pitchfork Magazine-curated stunner rubs elbows with Lollapalooza as one of the OGs of the Chicago festival scene. The perennial hipster hub is known for showcasing indie bands so cool you’ve never even heard of them alongside a smattering of bigger names across multiple stages in Union Park. The lineup—a bit of a throwback for the venerable fest—dropped early this year, and they’ve resumed their traditional sticky-hot mid-July calendar slot.
The lineup: Headliners include The National, Mitski, and The Roots, accompanied by supporting acts like Spiritualized, Japanese Breakfast, Toro y Moi, Parquet Courts, Lucy Dacus, Earl Sweatshirt, Tierra Whack, and Noname.
The cost: Single-day passes start at $99 per person. Buy yours here.

Riot Fest
Flickr/COVERT NINE

Where: Douglass Park
When: Friday, September 16 - Sunday, September 18
The lowdown: Chicago’s annual “punk rock carnival” is about as good as it gets when it comes to large-scale music fests here in the Windy City. It got its start inside a series of local clubs back in 2005, then exploded into its current outdoor format in 2012 (and later was ejected from its original Humboldt Park home in 2015, but we won’t go there). Today, the fiercely beloved, zero-Fs-given, multi-genre fest has carved out a unique niche that draws far more than just the mohawked set.
The lineup: Headliners include My Chemical Romance and the Original Misfits featuring Glenn Danzig and Jerry Only, among a long list of highly anticipated supporting acts.
The cost: Ticket prices vary. Stay updated here.

Animal Collective
Animal Collective

Where: SeatGeek Stadium
When: Friday, August 26 - Sunday, August 28
The lowdown: Another first-timer amid Chicago’s tried-and-true festival contingent, this testament to all things classic rock, jam bands, and Americana has garnered quite the star-studded lineup for such a young endeavor. Bridgeview’s SeatGeek Stadium will host none other than Phil Lesh & Friends, the War on Drugs, Animal Collective, Margo Price, and more for a three-day spell of psychedelic experiences, transcendent sounds, and, let’s face it, probably a few hacky sacks and white dreadlocks (you know who you are). Consider it a reunion show for all the new best friends you made at Dead & Company back in June.
The lineup: Headliners include Phil Lesh & Friends, The War on Drugs, Black Pumas, St. Paul and The Broken Bones, Punch Brothers, Animal Collective, City and Colour, Umphrey's McGee, The Disco Biscuits, Yves Tumor, Cory Wong, Lotus, Goose, STS9, Moon Taxi, The Infamous Stringdusters, Greensky Bluegrass, and “artist at large” Margo Price.
The cost: Single-day passes start at $67.23 per person. Buy yours here.

Spring Awakening Music Festival
Spring Awakening Music Festival

Where: United Center
When: Friday, July 8 - Sunday, July 10
The lowdown: Chicago’s biggest EDM festival is proudly back on their summertime BS, moving from Addams/Medill Park to the United Center’s cozy digs for their grand 10th anniversary bash. Gear up for an eye-catching spectacle studded with the who's-who of dance music’s elite—and don’t forget to pack your glow sticks.
The lineup: Headliners have yet to be announced, but judging from last year’s roster—Martin Garrix, Excision, Diplo, Adventure Club, Atliens, Dillon Francis—expect a lineup of straight-up bangers.
The cost: 3-day passes start at $199 per person. Buy yours here.

Sueños Festival
Sueños Festival

Where: Grant Park
When: Saturday, May 28 - Sunday, May 29
The lowdown: Ruido Fest might have the Latin rock beat on lock, but never before has Chicago been gifted an entire summer showdown dedicated entirely to the heart-pounding, fist-pumping, and hip-grinding genre of reggaeton. Helmed by the folks behind Mexico’s Baja Beach Fest and our own Lollapalooza, Sueños recipes this grave oversight with a Memorial Day weekend to remember, kicking off festival season with dozens of Caribbean-inflected chart-toppers. Official after shows, a bounty of Latin eats, art displays, and carnival rides round out this hotter-than-hot newcomer.
The lineup: Headliners and supporting acts include J Balvin, Ozuna, Farruko, Sech, DJ Luian, Myke Towers, Jhay cortez, El Alfa, Fuerza Regidam, Natanael Cano, Wisin & Yandel, Jowell y Randy, Cauty, Blessd, Tokischa, Beele, EIX, DJ Dynamiq, La Gabi, DJ Miriam, and DJ Freddy Fresco.
The cost: 2-day passes start at $275 per person. Buy yours here.

Windy City Smokeout - Country Music & BBQ Festival
Windy City Smokeout - Country Music & BBQ Festival

Where: United Center Parking Lot
When: Thursday, August 4 - Sunday, August 7
The lowdown: What’s better than gorging yourself on succulent smoked meats and crisp craft beer on a hot late summer day? Doing so in the presence of country-western greatness, of course. Put a little tang in your twang as Windy City Smokeout transforms United Center’s epic 18-acre parking lot this August. Both the food and the tunes are guaranteed to slap, with sets from musical icons like Willie Nelson, Tim McGraw, Sam Hunt, and Miranda Lambert alongside a bounty of booze and finger lickin’ good pulled pork, brisket, ribs, and aides courtesy of the country’s top pitmasters.
The lineup: Headliners include Morgan Wade, Zach Bryan, Turnpike Troubadours, Willie Nelson & Family, Tiera Kennedy, Tim McGraw, Lily Rose, Jordan Davis, Sam Hunt, and the one and only Miranda Lambert. BBQ heavyweights are set to be announced in mid-May, so stay tuned (and hungry).
The cost: Single-day passes start at $49.95 per person. Buy yours here.

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Meredith Heil is a Senior Cities Editor at Thrillist. She's originally from St. Louis, now lives in Chicago, and in between has been to all 50 states (that's boots on the ground, no airport BS). She enjoys all things cocktails, crosswords, and women's soccer. Challenge her to a game of Hoop Shot at @mereditto.