Whether you’re a Chicago native or a tourist looking to experience the city’s epic festivals and music, there’s plenty to discover in the Windy City this summer.
The city’s music fest lineup features an array of genres and events, ranging from Latin and Caribbean hits to classical symphonies. So, which one is for you?
North Coast Music Festival
Labor Day weekend in Chicago isn’t complete without a smorgasbord of music festivals. One of the city’s most popular and widely recognized is North Coast Music Festival, which takes place at SeatGeek Stadium in Bridgeview.
This collaboration of independent promoters has been running for 50 years and has a wide reach, representing everything from hip-hop to folk to EDM. Its diverse lineup and comfortable venue make it a must-see for anyone looking to spend their final days of summer in the best way possible.
The festival has shifted its focus in the last decade from music to dance music, which is why major artists like Armin van Buuren, Illenium, Diplo, Porter Robinson, Fisher, Kaytranada, Gryffin, Jai Wolf, Madeon, Said the Sky, Seven Lions and heaps more will be on the lineup this year.
Tickets for this three-day event are on sale now, so be sure to check them out before they sell out. With a variety of ticket options, a deal score feature and more, it’s easy to find the perfect tickets for your North Coast Music Festival experience.
Riot Fest is a three day music festival featuring punk, metal, rock and alternative acts. It was founded in Chicago back in 2005 and has since spawned editions in Denver and Toronto.
Originally started as a showcase fest, Riot Fest has grown into a multi-day outdoor festival and is known for its unique lineup. Its eclectic mix of punk and alternative bands is one that you’ll be hard pressed to find elsewhere.
The festival also hosts a number of activities for the attendees including craft beers, wandering performing artists, circus sideshows, fire spinners and other fun events. This adds to the unique festival experience.
The festival is set to take over Douglas Park this year which has sparked some concerns from local residents. The festival is a major draw and the neighbors are worried that it will detract from their community.
ARC Music Festival
The ARC Music Festival is the perfect multi-day music fest for lovers of house and techno. Taking place this Labor Day weekend September 2-4, the event is home to some of house and techno’s most iconic names and emerging talent.
ARC bridges the global electronic music scene by inviting modern house music icons alongside Chicago’s own originators and international techno artists. Their mission is to elevate the genre and connect fans with what makes Chicago special.
With an enviable lineup featuring Carl Cox, Gorgon City, Chris Lake, Claptone, Get Real, Eats Everything, and Vintage Culture, this festival will have you feeling the love in no time! Plus, you’ll find the genre’s melodic side on full display with artists like Lane 8, Boris Brejcha, Gioli & Assia, Nora En Pure, and Ben Bohmer.
ARC Music Festival also offers several different ticket options to suit any budget. There are Global Passes (standard VIP), Icon Passes, and Super Icon passes that include exclusive viewing areas and bars at each stage of the festival.
Chicago Jazz Festival
The Chicago Jazz Festival is one of the city’s most popular annual events. Held during Labor Day weekend, it features an amazing lineup of free live music performances.
The four-day festival, organized by the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events and programmed with help from the Jazz Institute of Chicago, integrates international and local artists playing a variety of forms of jazz. It features shows at Millennium Park, the Claudia Cassidy Theater, Preston Bradley Hall and Jay Pritzker Pavilion.
This year, the festival features a wide range of performers from top-notch jazz legends to crucial new voices. This includes Henry Threadgill Zooid, Bill Frisell and William Parker’s quintet and Donald Harrison.
Aside from the main concerts in Millennium Park, there are a series of neighborhood concerts happening over Labor Day weekend. These are hosted at local venues across the city as part of the Citywide Jazz Community Funding Program, which includes South Side Jazz Coalition, Hungry Brain, Constellation, Sleeping Village, Birdhouse Inc., Live the Spirit Residency, 51st Street Business Association, Museum of Contemporary Art and Elastic Arts Foundation. don’t forget to round it out with a trip to Zanie’s Chicago.