Chicago, Illinois: Music Festivals and Live Events
Chicago, Illinois is the home of some of the most spectacular shows and music festivals in the U.S.
With its perfect outdoor venues in Grant and Millennium parks, Chicago is a mecca of music goers from around the world and a go-to spot for mesmerizing air shows and relaxing entertainment that’s fun for the whole family. Come experience these amazing annual festivities.
Lollapalooza Music Festival
Lollapalooza is a three-day music festival in early August that features popular alternative rock, heavy metal, punk rock, hip hop and electronic music bands and artists. Located in Grant Park, the festival attracts nearly 160,000 people a year. Lollapalooza was created by Perry Farrell as a farewell tour for his band Jane’s Addiction. Eventually, it was turned from a touring festival to a Chicago mainstay in 2005.
Three-day Lollapalooza music festival each August features a variety of genres
Chicago Air & Water Show
Another August favorite, the Chicago Air and Water show attracts over 2 million people each year for its free, two-day event – the nation’s largest air and water show of its kind. Located along the shores of North Avenue Beach in Lake Michigan, viewers are delighted by spectacular demonstrations by military and civilian aircrafts, boats, and diving and parachute teams. There are many ways you can watch – from the beach, while dining in one of the beachside restaurants, sipping beer at one of the beer gardens, or even aboard a special dining cruise.
Stunt pilots flying high above the Lake Michigan shoreline at the Chicago Air & Water Show
Chicago Blues Festival
The Chicago Blues Festival is a three-day free event presented on five stages to more than 500,000 blues fans every June. It is one of Chicago’s largest music festivals and has been going on for four decades. Originally held in Grant Park, the show has recently been moved to Millennium Park – offering an upgraded soundstage and ample seating for viewers. Performances celebrate the rich heritage of the blues with previous performers including Bonnie Raitt, Ray Charles, BB King and Koko Taylor.
Bettye LaVette entertains the crowd at the four-day Chicago Blues Festival
Chicago Jazz Festival
In the summer of 1974, several dozen Chicago musicians got together in Grant Park to honor the life of Duke Ellington, a famous jazz legend. 10,000 people came to the event and the Chicago Jazz Festival was born. For three days at the end of August every year, more than 125,000 people come to listen, picnic, dance and enjoy the largest free jazz festival in the USA. It showcases Chicago’s vast local jazz talent alongside national and international artists to encourage and educate jazz audiences of all ages.
Chicago Gospel Music Festival
In June, the Gospel Music Festival celebrates the genre’s deep Chicago roots featuring traditional choirs and contemporary urban gospel music in the city where gospel was born. Some of the most beloved gospel songs of all time were inspired, written, arranged, sung, published, broadcast and recorded here as it spread and became a national movement. Sit back and enjoy the moving songs in this two-day event brought to you by both local and international artists at Millennium Park.
Magnificent Mile Lights Festival
Located between Wacker Drive and Oak Street, the Magnificent Mile has become an annual winter vacation destination. Starting in late November, the hotels and shops are filled with the colors of nearly a million lights adorned on 200 trees that line the streets. You’ll also see parades and fireworks on the Chicago River in the evenings. The Magnificent Mile Lights Festival is a great way to enjoy a festive atmosphere.