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updated: 8/28/2017 12:34 PM

Sound check '17: Our guide to the local music festivals of summer

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  • Alternative folk rockers The Way Down Wanderers head to RiverEdge Park for the Two Brothers Summer Festival.

    Alternative folk rockers The Way Down Wanderers head to RiverEdge Park for the Two Brothers Summer Festival.

  • Lucky Boys Confusion, a pop-punk band that hails from DuPage County, plays PIQNIQ in Tinley Park Saturday, May 20.

    Lucky Boys Confusion, a pop-punk band that hails from DuPage County, plays PIQNIQ in Tinley Park Saturday, May 20.

  • Jim Adkins and Jimmy Eat World play the 101-WKQX PIQNIQ in Tinley Park Saturday, May 20.

    Jim Adkins and Jimmy Eat World play the 101-WKQX PIQNIQ in Tinley Park Saturday, May 20.
    Associated Press

  • Check in with Saint Motel at Two Brothers Music Festival at RiverEdge Park in Aurora.

    Check in with Saint Motel at Two Brothers Music Festival at RiverEdge Park in Aurora.

  • Blind Pilot plays indie rock at Two Brothers Summer Festival in Aurora.

    Blind Pilot plays indie rock at Two Brothers Summer Festival in Aurora.

  • Local producer Inzo represents Chicago talent at Spring Awakening at Addams-Medill Park.

    Local producer Inzo represents Chicago talent at Spring Awakening at Addams-Medill Park.

  • Catch the Grammy-winning Mavis Staples at Blues on the Fox in Aurora.

    Catch the Grammy-winning Mavis Staples at Blues on the Fox in Aurora.

  • Local pop-punk band Sleep On it joins Riot Fest in Chicago this September.

    Local pop-punk band Sleep On it joins Riot Fest in Chicago this September.

 
 

Sun's out, er ... drums out? And amps. And guitars and decks. Get a hefty dose of vitamin D as Chicago and the suburbs play host to myriad open-air music festivals throughout the summer. Here's an early look at some of this year's biggies.

101 WKQX PIQNIQ

May 20 at the Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre, 19100 S. Ridgeland Ave., Tinley Park; 101wkqx.com

101-WKQX proves again it can put together the best mixtape, blending together different genres and eras in an appealing, compact package.

Top billing: This year's lineup is broadening the focus a bit, with Brit rockers The 1975, indie rock from Bleachers, throwback radio-friendly pop-punksters Jimmy Eat World and '90s industrial rock from Stabbing Westward from downstate Macomb, along with Highly Suspect, Sum 41, Joywave and Warpaint.

Local draws: West suburban Lucky Boys Confusion has been skimming the surface the last few years before diving deep with a just-released album and a summer packed with shows. Catch them and Wilmette hip-hop artists K. Flay on the big stage as PIQNIQ gives some love to local talent.

Tickets: Start at $25 plus fees; $75 for a 4-pack of lawn seats.

Two Brothers Summer Festival

June 2-3 at RiverEdge Park, 360 N. Broadway, Aurora; twobrothersbrewing.com

Indie rock and summer sun are a great mix as Two Brothers Summer Festival returns to Aurora's RiverEdge Park.

The X Ambassadors bring indie rock to the Two Brothers Summer Festival in June.
The X Ambassadors bring indie rock to the Two Brothers Summer Festival in June. -

Top billing: Indie pop rules the stage as Saint Motel and Blind Pilot come to town to make you dance, but be sure to sit back and savor some somber but liberating vibes with X Ambassadors' hits "Renegade," "Unsteady" and the just-released gospel-esque "Torches."

Local draws: Get ready to move to some alternative folk from Chicago-by-way-of-Peoria rockers The Way Down Wanderers.

Tickets: Two-day weekend passes are $50 for general admission, $175 for VIP. Single-day tickets are $30 for general admission, $100 for VIP. Skydeck VIP packages are also available.

Dutch music producer Armin Van Buuren headlines Spring Awakening in June.
Dutch music producer Armin Van Buuren headlines Spring Awakening in June.
Spring Awakening

June 9-11 at Addams-Medill Park, 1301 W. 14th St., Chicago; springawakeningfestival.com

Spring Awakening puts its best foot forward with a great mix of danceable electronica.

Top billing: Dutch DJs and producers Armin Van Buuren and Martin Garrix join American artist Diplo in the headlining slots of this multiday dance extravaganza.

Producer and DJ Mielo reps the Chicago scene at Spring Awakening.
Producer and DJ Mielo reps the Chicago scene at Spring Awakening. -

Local draws: The Chicago scene is well-represented with appearances by Louis the Child, Xonic, INZO, Stratus, Mielo, The Trap House, RJ Pickens, Porn N Chicken and more.

Tickets: Single-day general admission is $69-$79; $129 for VIP. Three-day passes are $199-$219; $299-$319 for VIP.

Shemekia Copeland brings her electrifying blues to Aurora's Blues on the Fox.
Shemekia Copeland brings her electrifying blues to Aurora's Blues on the Fox. -
Blues on the Fox

June 16-17 at RiverEdge Park, 360 N. Broadway, Aurora; riveredgeaurora.com

Blues on the Fox shows again there's no better way to enjoy the diverse blend of blues artists than kicking back miles away from the big city.

Blues rocker Jonny Lang headlines Saturday, June 17, at Blues on the Fox.
Blues rocker Jonny Lang headlines Saturday, June 17, at Blues on the Fox. -

Top billing: Even as a youngster Jonny Lang displayed a great understanding of music, putting out his first album at age 15. Twenty years later, he's still one of the hottest artists on the scene. But don't miss smokin' tunes from Guy King Band, Devon Allman and Elvin Bishop earlier in the day Saturday.

Local draws: The electrifying Shemekia Copeland and the ever-spirited Mavis Staples will treat fans to some of the musical delights of our storied blues scene as they take over the Friday night stage.

Tickets: $10 per day through May 31; $20 per day starting June 1.

Psych-rockers MGMT headline at Mamby on the Beach in June.
Psych-rockers MGMT headline at Mamby on the Beach in June. -
Mamby on the Beach

June 24-25 at Oakwood Beach, 4100 S. Lake Shore Drive, Chicago; mambybeach.com

It's Mamby's third year on the beach, and the fest just keeps getting better.

Top billing: Psych-rockers MGMT and headliner Walk the Moon will definitely get you on your feet, but be sure to catch the set from Mutemath, especially if they dive deep into their catalog and pull out "Plan B."

Local draws: Chicago artists are a staple on the Mamby lineup, including soulful hip-hop from BJ the Chicago Kid and Sir the Baptist, CZ Boogie's house, Steve Gerard and more.

Tickets: Single-day passes are $66.50 per day, with VIP starting at $99.50. Two-day passes are $122.12; $189.99 for two-day VIP passes.

Toby Keith headlines Naperville's Ribfest Friday, June 30.
Toby Keith headlines Naperville's Ribfest Friday, June 30.
Naperville's Ribfest

June 30-July 3 at Knoch Park on West Street, Naperville; ribfest.net

Naperville's Exchange Club does it again, bringing some great acts to a suburban festival that arguably dominates the July holiday weekend.

Top billing: Toby Keith headlines Friday with Colt Ford and Drew Baldridge; retro rockers The B-52s are joined by Flock of Seagulls Saturday; Sunday brings Shinedown and '90s rockers Collective Soul; and The Wallflowers cruise into town with one headlight and Better Than Ezra in tow Monday.

Local draws: As of publication, only Monday Bluesday has been announced for the South Stage, featuring down-home Chicago blues courtesy of Joanna Connor, Mike Wheeler and Toronzo Cannon.

Tickets: Gate entry $15-$75 per day. Show tickets are extra; see the website for special pricing.

KISS returns for Chicago's Open Air Festival in July.
KISS returns for Chicago's Open Air Festival in July.
Chicago Open Air

July 14-16 at Toyota Park, 7000 Harlem Ave., Bridgeview; chicagoopenair.com

Hard rock and metal stake their claims on the festival landscape for a second year at Toyota Park.

Top billing: Fans will be happy to see legendary hard rockers KISS, Rob Zombie, Megadeth, Anthrax, the always entertaining Ozzy Osbourne, Lamb of God and more on the three-day lineup.

Tickets: Single-day general admission tickets are $50-$75; three-day weekend passes are $119.50-195.50; VIP weekend packages start at $400.

LCD Soundsystem headlines the Pitchfork Music Festival in Union Park.
LCD Soundsystem headlines the Pitchfork Music Festival in Union Park.
Pitchfork Music Festival

July 14-16 at Union Park, 1501 W. Randolph St., Chicago; pitchforkmusicfestival.com

Pitchfork is shrugging off its role as a primarily indie rock outlet this year for a more eclectic lineup, adding more rock and soul to the mix.

Top billing: LCD Soundsystem broke ground as one of the forerunners of the electro-dance rock movement, and their live shows are rumored to be nothing short of spectacular. But don't miss hip-hop with A Tribe Called Quest, singer-songwriter PJ Harvey and funky jams from George Clinton & Parliament Funkadelic. And as a special treat, check out electronic rockers Survive, who provided the retro soundtrack for the Netflix series "Stranger Things."

Local draws: Rockers NE-HI, rapper Joey Purp, and soul-singer Jamila Woods provide some local flavor to the giant national acts at the show.

Tickets: $75 for single-day general admission passes; three-day passes for $175; Pitchfork-Plus pass for $195-$365.

Vans Warped Tour

July 22 at Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre, 19100 S. Ridgeland Ave., Tinley Park; vanswarpedtour.com

GWAR comes to the Chicago area twice this summer: See them at the Vans Warped Tour in July, then again at Riot Fest in September.
GWAR comes to the Chicago area twice this summer: See them at the Vans Warped Tour in July, then again at Riot Fest in September. - Associated Press

Traditionally a haven for punky youthful rebellion, the Vans Warped tour has picked up a decidedly heavier edge this year, with the inclusion of more rock and metal acts.

Top billing: Isn't it about time you introduced the kids to GWAR? Balance it out by indulging their punk side with The Ataris and Anti-Flag. Maybe a dose of rock from American Authors?

Tickets: $42.50-$52.50

deadmau5 headlines the North Coast Music Festival with Eric Prydz.
deadmau5 headlines the North Coast Music Festival with Eric Prydz. -
North Coast Music Festival

Sept. 1-3 at Union Park, 1501 W. Randolph St., Chicago; northcoastfestival.com

Fill your Labor Day weekend with heavy doses of dance music when the three-day North Coast pays a visit.

Damian Marley snags a headliner spot at the North Coast Music festival in September.
Damian Marley snags a headliner spot at the North Coast Music festival in September.

Top billing: A different feel every day: Electronic artists dominate the headlining slot Friday, including a dual set by deadmau5 & Eric Prydz; Saturday offers reggae with Damian Marley; and Sunday rounds out the weekend with alternative rock band Ween. But save room on your dance card for hip-hop's Gucci Mane and Big Boi, and some funky instrumentals from STS9.

Local draws: Manic Focus packs some pumping electronic tracks. And take a hit of Edamame's thoughtful ambient electronica for a few moving moments that will be a highlight of your weekend.

Tickets: $59 for single-day general admission; $89 for VIP. $149 for three-day general admission; $199 for three-day VIP.

Trent Reznor and Nine Inch Nails headline Riot Fest's first night in September.
Trent Reznor and Nine Inch Nails headline Riot Fest's first night in September. - Associated Press
Riot Fest and Carnival

Sept. 15-17 at Douglas Park, 1401 S. Sacramento Drive, Chicago; riotfest.org

Pick a genre out of a hat, and you're likely to find a match on Riot Fest's lineup, a great way to play out the summer festival season as it exits stage left.

Top billing: You want industrial? Punk? Hip-hop? Rock? Retro pop? Indie? Electronic? American gypsy punk funk rock theatrics? Here you go: Nine Inch Nails. Jawbreaker. Wu-Tang Clan. Queens of the Stone Age. New Order. Minus the Bear. Gogol Bordello. Also make sure to leave room for The Menzingers, one of the most fun punk bands touring today. And if you missed GWAR at Warped Tour, they pay another visit to our fine city.

The Orwells, a garage-punk band that hails from Elmhurst, play Riot Fest in September.
The Orwells, a garage-punk band that hails from Elmhurst, play Riot Fest in September. - Photo by Kelly Puleo

Local draws: The local scene earned many spots on this year's lineup, including The Lawrence Arms, The Orwells, Ministry, Vic Mensa, Knuckle Puck, Real Friends and Sleep On It.

Tickets: Three-day general admission is $179.98-$189.98; three-day VIP packages start at $329.98.

Fests to watch

MoonRunners Music Festival: May 5-6 at Reggie's Rock Club & Music Joint, 2105 S. State St., Chicago, moonrunnersmusicfestival.com

Long Grove Chocolate Fest: May 19-21 in downtown Long Grove, 308 Old McHenry Road, longgrove.org

Belmont-Sheffield Music Fest: May 27-28 at Sheffield and Belmont avenues, Chicago, chicagoevents.com

Pop Punk Wayo Fest: May 28 at Evolution Music, 923 Curtiss St., Downers Grove, evolutionmusicstore.com

Do Division: June 2-4 on Division Street from Damen to Leavitt in Chicago, do-divisionstreetfest.com

Chicago Blues Festival: June 9-11 at Millennium Park, 201 E. Randolph St., Chicago, cityofchicago.org

Green Music Fest: June 10-11 on Damen Avenue between North Avenue and Schiller Street, Chicago, greenmusicfestchicago.com

Taste of Randolph: June 16-18 at 900 W. Randolph St., Chicago, tasterandolph.com

World's Largest Block Party: June 23-24 at the Old St. Pat's Campus, at Monroe Street and Desplaines Street, Chicago, worldslargestblockparty.com

Country LakeShake: June 23-25 at Huntington Bank Pavilion at Northerly Island, 1300 S. Linn White Drive, Chicago, lakeshakefestival.com

Long Grove Strawberry Fest: June 23-25 in downtown Long Grove, 308 Old McHenry Road, longgrove.org

Logan Square Arts Festival: June 23-25 at Logan Square, Chicago, logansquareartsfestival.com

Motoblot Road Show: June 23-25 outside the Cobra Lounge, 235 N. Ashland Ave., Chicago, motoblot.com

B96 Pepsi Summer Bash: June 24 at the Allstate Arena, 6920 N. Mannheim Road, Rosemont, b96.cbslocal.com

Lisle's Eyes to the Skies: June 30-July 2 at Community Park, 1825 Short Street, Lisle, eyestotheskies.org

American Music Festival: June 30-July 3 at FitzGerald's, 6615 W. Roosevelt Road, Berwyn, fitzgeraldsnightclub.com

Windy City Ribfest: June 30-July 2 at 4700 N. Broadway, Chicago, cityofchicago.org

Taste of Chicago: July 5-9 at Grant Park, Jackson and Columbus avenues, Chicago, cityofchicago.org

Ruido Fest: July 7-9 at Addams/Medill Park, 1301 W. 14th ST., Chicago, ruidofest.com

West Fest: July 7-9 on Chicago Avenue between Damen and Wood, Chicago, westfestchicago.com

Square Roots Festival: July 7-9 on Lincoln Avenue between Montrose and Wilson avenues, Chicago, squareroots.org

Taste of River North: July 21-23 at Ward Park, 630 N. Kingsbury St., Chicago, tasteofrivernorth.com

Homegrown Arts & Music Festival: July 29 at BaseCamp Pub & Eatery, 5750 Lakeside Drive, Lisle, homegrownartsandmusicfestival.com

Wicker Park Fest: July 29-30 on Milwaukee Avenue from North Avenue to Paulina Street, wickerparkbucktown.com

Lollapalooza: Aug. 3-6 at Grant Park, 337 E. Randolph St., Chicago, lollapalooza.com

Summer Stomp Music & Camping Festival: Aug. 4-5 at McHenry Extreme Sports and Event Park, 1911 W. Fernview Lane, Holiday Hills, mackeyshideout.com

Last Fling: Sept. 1-4 at Rotary Hill, 440 W. Aurora Ave., Naperville, lastfling.org

Würst Music and Beer Fest: Sept. 8-10 at Randolph and Ogden, Chicago. ticketfly.com.

Long Grove Apple Fest: Sept. 22-24 in downtown Long Grove, 308 Old McHenry Road, longgrove.org

West Loop Rock Fest: Sept. 22-24 at Wise Owl Drinkery and Cookhouse, 324 S. Racine Ave., Chicago. wiseowlchicago.com.

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