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updated: 5/31/2014 2:27 AM

Summer delivers no shortage of local music fests

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  • A crowd surfer makes the rounds during a past Lollapalooza.

    A crowd surfer makes the rounds during a past Lollapalooza.
    Daily Herald file photo

  • The Orwells

    The Orwells

  • JC Brooks and the Uptown Sound

    JC Brooks and the Uptown Sound

  • Kings of Class

    Kings of Class

  • Rise Against

    Rise Against

  • Eminem


  • Lollapalooza


  • Mike Ness of Social Distortion

    Mike Ness of Social Distortion

  • Korn


  • Mutts


  • Beck


  • Wild Belle

    Wild Belle

  • MC Chris

    MC Chris

  • Snoop Dogg

    Snoop Dogg

  • G. Love & Special Sauce

    G. Love & Special Sauce

  • The BoDeans

    The BoDeans

  • Flaming Lips

    Flaming Lips

  • The National

    The National


At the crossroads of music and summer you get festivals, festivals and more festivals. Over the next couple months, Chicago and the suburbs offer a number of chances to see live music played in the Midwest sun or under a summer moon.

If you can't wait to get outside, this is the place to start your summer of musical festivities. While this isn't a comprehensive list, it does represent a cross-section of where to go to see and be seen.

Don't forget: While prices are set in advance, many ticket purchases will have additional fees and taxes tacked on depending on where you get them.

Have a great summer!


May 30-June 1; Division Street from Damen to Leavitt in Chicago;

Do Division showcases the best the West Town neighborhood has to offer -- the food, the shopping and, of course, the music. The Family Fun Fest and sidewalk sale areas feature treats for every member of the family, while Do Fashion is building on the success of last year to provide the hot looks available from local boutiques and designers.

Top billing: Subterranean and the Empty Bottle team up to provide the musical entertainment, which this year is a pretty even mix of touring bands and Chicago-area artists. Chicago's own JC Brooks & the Uptown Sound headline Friday night's set, with a lead-in from local bands Marrow and The O'Mys. Garage rockers Bass Drum of Death bring a ton of energy from Mississippi to headline Saturday night, along with afternoon sets by Chicago bands Radar Eyes and Jimmy Whispers. The People Under the Stairs and former Dinosaur Jr. singer and guitarist J Mascis take top billing Sunday.

Local draws: Check out Basic Cable Friday night, featuring Crystal Lake native Luca Cimarusti. Ne-Hi takes the stage Sunday with members from Vernon Hills and Buffalo Grove. And don't miss the Arts of Life Band, a collaboration between disabled and non-disabled musicians around Chicago known for its fun, danceable indie tunes.

Tickets: $5 donation benefits the West Town Chicago Chamber of Commerce, Division Street Committee and three local schools.


June 13-15; Soldier Field, 1410 Museum Campus Drive, Chicago;

One of Chicago's first major music-centric fests of the year is also arguably the city's largest electronic dance music celebration. If you love feeling the bass thump while you move your feet to some of the best EDM the city has to offer, then this is your party.

Top billing: Los Angeles-based producer and rapper Diplo, Dutch DJ TiŽsto and California house musician Steve Aoki are certainly selling tickets, but Sunday night's headliner -- Chicago and Northbrook native Kaskade -- laid a lot of the groundwork for the musical movement.

Local draws: Spring Awakening provides a proving ground for many local musicians, DJs and producers, including Palatine brothers Milk N Cookies, Chicago's ANIMALE and DJ Steve Gerard. Kings of Class -- Wheaton natives Bobby DeMaria and Erik Johnson (DJ Tsunami) -- have been exploding both locally and nationally, which has earned them an invitation back to this year's festivities.

Tickets: $95 per single-day ticket; $150 for single-day VIP; three-day passes sold out, but three-day VIP passes are still available for $375.


June 27-28; Old St. Pat's Church, 700 W. Adams St., Chicago;

Gather at Chicago's oldest public building for two nights of great music to raise money for good causes. Oh, and don't forget to enter the raffle for a chance to win some huge prizes.

Top billing: Friday night, Guster and G. Love & Special Sauce will bring the alternative rock with a side of funk to the crowds. Saturday, The Mowgli's fire up the energy for '90s rockers Third Eye Blind.

Local draws: Be sure to check out Chicago rockers No Love for Linus and The Leadfoot Band. And check back for the South Stage lineup coming soon.

Tickets: $70 for two-night passes; $40 for single-night passes; $85 for single-night VIP passes.


June 27-28; RiverEdge Park, 360 N. Broadway, Aurora;

If you haven't been to Blues on the Fox yet, now's the time to check out a collection of some of today's hottest, smokiest blues legends. Add a little rock to the mix, and you've got a weekend filled with soul that you should not miss.

Top billing: It's hard to pick. With the much-acclaimed Joe Louis Walker to guitar great Jimmie Vaughan to Southwest-flavored blues rockers Los Lonely Boys, you can't really go wrong picking either day. Or both.

Tickets: $10 per day before June 2; $20 per day after June 2.


July 3-6; S. West Street, Naperville;

For a fest built around barbecue, Naperville's Ribfest has consistently gathered some of the best tunes to the suburbs summer after summer. And this year's no exception.

Top billing: Oh, sure, you remember the "Party of Five" theme song "Closer To Free" from the '90s, but did you know the BoDeans have been rocking for nearly a quarter of a century? They headline the Ribfest stage July 3. George Thorogood and the Destroyers take the top spot July 6, with a lead-in from Blue Oyster Cult.

Local draws: Ribfest organizers draw from a deep talent pool from Chicago and the suburbs to put together the weekend's playlist. Eric Lambert & Friends lead things off with some American-tinged flatpicking. Naperville represents with eclectic rockers Within Four Days and the country rock collection Mason Rivers. Plainfield steps up with Arbor Creek, an indie group that dabbles in classic rock- and blues-tinged tunes.

Tickets: $15 ($12 before June 15); free for children 11 and younger; $110 for VIP tickets.


July 18-20; Union Park, 1501 W. Randolph St., Chicago;

The Pitchfork Music Festival is dedicated to the ideal that keeping a fest smaller but with high-quality entertainment keeps it affordable. Flesh it out with some of Chicago's finest food and drink vendors, and you've got quite a deal.

Top billing: For nearly 30 years, Beck has been dabbling in eclectic styles writing anthems for the disaffected, disenchanted and introspective. He headlines Friday night, lead by Italian DJ Giorgio Moroder. Neutral Milk Hotel headlines Saturday with the likes of St. Vincent and Wild Beasts. Sunday brings Kendrick Lamar, Schoolboy Q and Speedy Ortiz.

Local draws: The energetic Rogers Park outfit Twin Peaks plays Saturday. DJ Spinn, playing Sunday, is determined to share Chicago's house movement with the world. Be sure to check out both sets.

Tickets: $60 for single-day passes; three-day passes sold out.


July 19; First Midwest Bank Amphitheatre, 19100 Ridgeland Ave., Tinley Park;

When 80-plus pop, punk and dance bands show up at one spot, the kids are bound to follow. And the First Midwest Bank Amphitheatre gives music fans plenty of space to spread out. But the Warped Tour isn't just about being young; each paid minor can be accompanied by a parent for free. And with Reverse Daycare tents where parents can chill in air-conditioned splendor while enjoying a cool beverage, Warped Tour can truly be a family event.

Top billing: Sets by the likes of Yellowcard, The Summer Set, Saves the Day, Anberlin and Of Mice and Men are sure to pack them in, but treat yourself to something fun. You may recognize Libertyville's MC Chris' voice from characters he used to play on numerous Cartoon Network Adult Swim shows. He's focused more on his music now, where his nerdcore hip hop songs tie geek with gangster, as in his ode to a certain Star Wars bounty hunter, "Fett's Vette."

Local draws: Check out pop rockers I Fight Dragons, featuring Northbrook native Packy Lundholm; rapper K.Flay (originally from Wilmette) returns home from California for the tour; and Tinley Park's Real Friends plays a hometown set of emo pop/punk.

Tickets: $49.50 for general admission


July 20; First Midwest Bank Amphitheatre, 19100 Ridgeland Ave., Tinley Park;

What Warped Tour brings in poppy punky energy, the Mayhem Festival supplies in a heavier, darker music. If you're a fan of metal, this is the show for you.

Top billing: Avenged Sevenfold has claimed the top slot with a lead-in from Korn. Both bands are known for putting on excellent live shows, so make sure you get a good view of the main stage for the evening's closers.

Local draws: Make your way to the Sumerian Stage to catch Chicago band Veil of Maya's afternoon set.

Tickets: $38.50-$95.40 for seating in the first and second pavilions; $38.50 for general admission on the lawn; $107.20 to live dangerously in the pit up against the stage.


July 26-27; Milwaukee Avenue from North Avenue to Paulina Street, Chicago;

Wicker Park's celebration of its music, food and culture stretches down Milwaukee Avenue, complete with three stages showcasing numerous cutting-edge artists from the local and national scenes.

Top billing: Touring in support of its recent album "Owls Two," the experimental indie rock band Owls is playing a hometown set Saturday night.

Local draws: Make time for blues rockers Mutts, with Palatine native Chris Pagnani. Follow that up with a set from Wauconda rock band Dr. Manhattan.

Tickets: $5 donation


August 1-3; Grant Park, 337 E. Randolph St., Chicago;

Lollapalooza is arguably Chicago's biggest music festival of the year, and an annual draw for thousands to our city, but if you don't have your tickets already, you're mostly out of luck. The show sold out quickly.

Top billing: Eminem, the Arctic Monkeys, Scottish DJ Calvin Harris, Kings of Leon, Skrillex and the reunion of Outkast are big enough to draw repeat fans from past Lollas.

Local draws: If you're lucky enough to be going, give some love to Krewella, featuring Northbrook native Kris Trindl. Don Brunelle and Ryan Luciani, from Barrington and Naperville respectively, join the rest of Gemini Club for a Sunday set. And don't forget local star-on-the-rise Chance the Rapper.

Tickets: Sold out!


August 29; First Midwest Bank Amphitheatre, 19100 Ridgeland Ave., Tinley Park;

Have you listened to the radio lately? Then you know what to expect from Piqniq. Brought to you by WKQX, this one-day festival presents the best of what I hear every time I hop in the car. But is that a negative? No way!

Top billing: LINKIN PARK, Thirty Seconds To Mars, AFI

Local draws: Nothing as of deadline, but the rest of the lineup will be announced soon.

Tickets: $34.50-$92 for seating in the first and second pavilions; $34.50 for general admission on the lawn; $102 for the pit up against the stage.


August 29-31; Union Park, 1501 W. Randolph St., Chicago;

North Coast is celebrating its five-year anniversary with a lineup that jumps from genre to genre and doesn't stop all weekend.

Top billing: Electronic artist Bassnectar, and rappers Kid Cudi and Snoop Dogg will draw quite a crowd.

Local draws: Speaking to the eclectic nature of North Coast's lineup are electronic rockers Future Rock, Barrington's indie darlings Wild Belle, electrofunk artists Orchard Lounge and Palatine DJs Milk N Cookies.

Tickets: $149 for three-day passes; $279 for three-day VIP


September 12-14; Humboldt Park, 1400 N. Sacramento Ave., Chicago;

If you weren't able to snag tickets to Lollapalooza this year, it's OK because Lolla has a (some might say better-looking) younger sister. With huge names, loads of supporters and a festive carnival attached, Riot Fest is growing every year and has established itself as another of Chicago's top destination music festivals.

Top billing: This year's lineup pairs seasoned veterans such as The Cure, Cheap Trick, Wu-Tang Clan, Weezer and The Offspring with more recent breakouts like The National and Tegan and Sarah. Toss in some party rock with Andrew W.K. and Celtic punks Dropkick Murphys and you're bound to end up with a mix that will get the crowd moving.

Local draws: Chicago's own Rise Against comes home for what promises to be a rocking stage show, while Elmhurst garage punks The Orwells continue climbing into the ranks of musical stardom.

Tickets: $179.98 for three-day general admission passes; $289.98 for three-day VIP passes; $49.98 three-day all-you-can-ride carnival pass.

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