There are music festivals in Illinois for everyone that cover all genres from rock to EDM and everything in between.
We hope this list of music festivals in Illinois helps you find the festival experience you are looking for. We are always adding to this list of festivals so be sure to check back from time to time. If there is a music festival we have missed, be sure to send us an email and we will get it added to the list.
Lollapalooza is on the bucket list of most festival lovers as it’s one of the best music festivals in the world. It is an annual festival that was founded in 1991 and has always lived up to its name which means “something very impressive or attractive”. It is extremely popular and is held in several different countries every year and caters to all genres of music. Every year about 400,000 people attend the four-day festival in Chicago and tickets always sell out.
Lollapalooza gives a platform to artists and groups that want to promote their political views or non-profit pursuits. Other than seeing some of the most amazing musical performances you will be entertained by impressive dance, comedy performances and cool festive outfits. Additionally, they also have interesting craft booths where you can buy souvenirs and mementos of your festival experience.
Festival Line-up: In 2019 the festival had an impressive line-up that included The Chainsmokers, Childish Gambino, The Strokes, Twenty-One Pilots, and Ariana Grande.
When: The 2021 dates are yet to be confirmed but the concert should happen around July/August.
Where: Grant Park Chicago
Pitchfork Music Festival
If you hate commercialized music festivals, then you must attend the Pitchfork music festival. The 3-day festival is operated and managed by Pitchfork Media, a music source company that focuses on independent music.
There are various types of music genres played at this festival including alternative rock, hip-hop, punk, electronica, and jazz. All types of music lovers will find something to enjoy. The festival is also a cultural fest whereby you will find tasty food from local vendors as well as art and a record fair.
Festival Line-up: In 2020 some of the bands that performed include Run the Jewel, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, The National, and Angel Olsen.
When: 2021 dates are yet to be confirmed but the festival always takes place in July.
Where: Union Park Chicago
Chicago Blues Festival
The Chicago blues festival has been one of the biggest annual music events ever since it was established in 1984. If you are a blues lover, then this is a must-attend event─ especially because it is the largest free blues event in the world. More than 500,000 people attend it every year.
The event takes place over 3 days at 5 official venues in Grant Park which allows attendees to eat some tasty barbeque and other treats from the local vendors. On top of this, local musicians also hold their unofficial concerts in restaurants and bars around the city.
Festival Line-up: Past performers include Ray Charles, B.B. King, Bonnie Rait, and Buddy Guy.
Where: Grant Park
St Patrick’s Day Festival
The St Patrick’s Day festival in Chicago has been taking place every year since 1955. The city goes all out by dyeing the Chicago River green in line with the St Patrick’s theme. The festival attracts about 400,000 revelers every year and the mood in Chicago on that day is full of Irish cheer. Events include a parade, cruises and live performances at the House of Blues from acts such as Gaelic Storm.
Festival Line-up: Gaelic Storm
When: March 17th
Chicago Jazz Festival
The Chicago Jazz festival is one of the most popular annual jazz music events in the world. It offers numerous free outdoor jazz concerts from numerous local and international artists before a final main concert at the Millennium Park
Festival Lineup: A mix of Jazz legends and modern influencers.
Bitter Jester Music Festival
The Bitter Jester Music Festival (BJMF) is a family-friendly outdoor event, BJMF is recognized for showcasing over 100 exceedingly talented emerging musicians from across Illinois, Wisconsin, and Michigan each year at its free weekly concerts in Downtown Highland Park.
The festival is a competition where bands of all shapes and sizes as well as solo musicians compete each week in front of a live audience. A panel of music and media professionals selects a winner each week. The four winners plus four additional “Wild Card” bands (selected by BJMF producers) advance to a Grand Finale Concert, vying for cash prizes and other awards before a gigantic fireworks display.
Festival Lineup: A mix of talented emerging musicians from across Illinois, Wisconsin, and Michigan
When: July and August
Where: Highland Park
We have compiled this comprehensive list of music festivals in Illinois, if there are any that we’ve missed that you would like us to add please contact us.