Chicago Gospel Music Festival
How much Free
Why go For a cross section of new and old gospel music, including a tribute to Jesse Dixon.
How much $69–$319
Why go You know the drill: Dancing, booze, DJs asking if you’re ready for the beat to drop. Plus: a set by early Chicago house DJ Felix da Housecat.
Chicago Blues Fest
How much Free
Why go There’s a concerted effort to modernize the festival this year. Local rapper Rhymefest is playing—Blues Fest’s first-ever hip-hop billing—as is the 33-year-old Austin guitarist Gary Clark Jr.
How much Prices vary by concert. Check the site.
Why go On top of the regular cast of living legends, Ravinia is rolling out the welcome mat for millennials (see the I Love the ’90s: The Party Continues tour, featuring TLC, Biz Markie, O-Town, and the guy from Sugar Ray).
Windy City LakeShake
How much $100–$600
Why go It’s Billboard’s Hot Country chart all in one place.
Mamby on the Beach
How much $61–$190
Why go It’s the only Chicago festival on an actual beach, and this year’s lineup—its third—is the best yet.
Chosen Few Picnic
How much $50–$1,500
Why go For old-school Chicago house in a setting refined over 27 years.
Taste of Chicago
How much Free on the lawn, up to a couple hundred in the pavilion.
Why go In addition to food on a stick? The local stage is a whole lot of good music for free.
How much $50–$250
Why go This three-year-old event (thrown by Riot Fest) focuses on Spanish-language rock—and punk and ska and rap and electronica and norteño.
How much $65–$165
Why go This year’s lineup feels particularly local, and George Clinton is a once-in-a-lifetime get.
Chicago Open Air
How much $120–$400
Why go Ozzy’s gigging days may be numbered (Black Sabbath finished what they say will be their final tour in February).
How much Sold out; $128–$2,445 on Lolla’s verified ticket exchange.
Why go If you’re into new hip-hop, this lineup is for you. The rock acts, on the other hand, skew 2001, and electronic music is conspicuously scant in comparison to recent years.
Chicago Jazz Festival
How much Free
Why go In addition to regular performances, this year features tributes to three greats—Thelonious Monk, Dizzy Gillespie, and Ella Fitzgerald—by the likes of Dee Alexander, Jon Faddis, Sheila Jordan, and more.
North Coast Music Festival
How much $149–$199
Why go You aren’t sick of festivals by Labor Day weekend.
How much $150–$1,500
Why go Until now, convincing the influential punk band Jawbreaker to reunite was considered largely impossible (to the degree there’s a New York band called Jawbreaker Reunion).
How much $150.
Why go It’s a mega-fest that feels like a neighborhood fest.