Our Guide To The Summer Festivals Of 2012

The weather is warming up and in Chicago that signals the return of the summer festival season. While the big three of music — Lollapalooza, Pitchfork and Riot Fest — get a lot of attention, there are many others festivals that highlight Chicago’s diverse neighborhoods, arts and culture, food, music and other organizations. The annual city-sponsored festivals (gospel, blues, jazz, world music) take place in Millennium Park with the downtown skyline as a backdrop. And Taste of Chicago returns July 5 in Grant Park. Here’s a look at where to find summer fun in the city and suburbs.



Mole de Mayo: May 25-27, 18th and Halsted; starevents.com

Gaelic Park Irish Fest: With Maggie Speaks, The Gothard Sisters, Emmet Cahill, James Kilbane, Pigeon Kings and more. May 25-28, 147th Street, two miles west of Cicero or one block east of Ridgeland, Oak Forest; visit chicagogaelicpark.org


The Sun-Times Guide to Summer

Chicago House Music Festival: May 26, Millennium Park, Michigan and Randolph; chicagohousemusicfestival.us

Randolph Street Market Garden Party: May 26-27, 1341 Randolph; randolphstreetmarket.com

Belmont-Sheffield Music Festival: With Wedding Banned, Rod Tuffcurls and the Bench Press, Trippin Billies and Run Forrest Run. May 26-27, on Sheffield, from Belmont to Roscoe; chicagoevents.com

Rockin’ in the Park: May 27-Aug. 30, Parkway Bank Park, 5501 Park Place, Rosemont; parkwaybankpark.com

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Chicago Gospel Music Festival: With The Canton Spiritualists, Israel & New Breed, Tri-City Singers Reunion, The Walls Group and more. June 1-2, Millennium Park, Michigan and Randolph and Chicago Cultural Center, 78 E. Washington; chicagogospelmusicfestival.us

Ravinia Festival: The summer residency of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, and headliners that include Los Lobos, Diana Ross, Jackson Browne, Roger Daltrey, Alan Cumming, Mary J. Blige, John Hiatt, Tony Bennett and more. June 1-Sept. 16, Ravinia, 418 Sheridan Rd., Highland Park; ravinia.org

Lincoln Park Greek Fest: With Karma Committee, 16 Candles, Ormi Orchestra. June 1-3, St. George Greek Orthodox Church, 2701 N. Sheffield; lincolnparkgreekfest.com

Do Division Street Fest and Sidewalk Sale: With La Luz, Ted Leo & the Pharmacists, Antibalas, Deerhoof, Bear vs. Shark and more. June 1-3, on Division between Damen and Leavitt; do-divisionstreetfest.com

Physical Festival Chicago: June 1-9, Stage 773, 1225 W. Belmont; visit physicalfestival.com

Taste of Mexico: June 1-3, 26th and California; chicagoevents.com

Walkabout Theater will be featured at the 2018 Pivot Arts Festival. | TRIA SMITH

Pivot Arts Festival: June 1-10, throughout the Uptown and Edgewater neighborhoods; pivotarts.org/festival

57th Street Art Fair: June 2-3, on 57th between Kenwood and Woodlawn; 57thstreetartfair.org

Millennium Park Summer Film Series, June 5-Aug. 21, Millennium Park, Michigan and Randolph. “Hairspray” (June 5), “Mad Max: Fury Road” (June 12), “Kinky Boots” (June 19), “Groundhog Day” (June 26), “High Fidelity” (July 3), “Iron Giant” (July 9), “Man on Wire” (July 10), International Media Mixer: archival footage from Chicago and Italy (July 17), “Get Out” (July 24), “WALL-E” and “Crash” (July 31), “School of Rock” (Aug. 7), “Coco” (Aug. 14), “Slumdog Millionaire” (Aug. 21) millenniumpark.com

Break Out Comedy Festival: June 7-9, Second City’s UP Comedy Club, 230 W. North; secondcity.com

Chicago Blues Festival: With Mavis Staples, Kenny Neal, Fantastic Negrito, Little Walter Tribute, Corey Dennison Band and more. June 8-10, Millennium Park, Michigan and Randolph; chicagobluesfestival.us

“Mad Max: Fury Road” is among the lineup for the 2018 Millennium Park film series. | Village Roadshow

Andersonville Midsommarfest: With 16 Candles, Jonas Friddle, Libido Funk Circus, American English, Mucca Pazza, The Congregation, Bailey Dee and more. June 8-10, Clark and Foster; starevents.com

Ribfest Chicago: June 8-10, At Lincoln, Damen and Irving Park; ribfest-chicago.com

Spring Awakening Music Festival: With Borgore, Steve Aoki, Alison Wonderland, Afrojack, Big Gigantic, Dash Berlin, Deadmau5 and more. June 8-10, Addams-Medill Park, 301 W. 14th; visit springawakeningfestival.com

Printers Row Lit Fest: June 9-10, Dearborn and Congress; printersrowlitfest.org

Old Town Art Fair: June 9-10, around Old Town Triangle Association building, 1763 N. North Park; oldtownartfair.org

Wells Street Art Festival: June 9-10, on Wells between North and Division; wellsstreetartfest.us

Burgers, Brews & Blues Festival: With Guy King, Linsey Alexander, Cash Box Kings, Howard and the White Boys and more. June 9-10, The Promenade, 631 W. Boughton, Bolingbrook; chicagoevents.com

Pilsen Food Truck Social: June 9-10, on 18th St. between Racine and Throop; pilsenfoodtrucksocial.com

Spring into summer with more than 500 of Chicago Children’s Theatre’s closest friends at BOING! The festival includes a full day of fun and wildly unique experiences both indoors and out. | Evan Barr

Boing! Family Festival: June 10, Chicago Children’s Theatre, 100 S. Racine; chicagochildrenstheatre.org

Grant Park Music Festival: With the Grant Park Orchestra and Chorus. June 13-Aug. 18, Millennium Park, Pritzker Pavilion, Michigan and Randolph; gpmf.org

Party By the Pond: With American English (June 15), Run Forrest Run (July 20), 16 Candles (Aug. 17); 1650 Premium Outlet Blvd., Aurora; premiumoutlets.com/chicago

Taste of Randolph Street: With Allen Stone, The Devil Makes Three, Chicano Batman, Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real, Mayer Hawthorne and more. June 15-17, Randolph and Peoria; starevents.com

Blues on the Fox Festival: With Elle King, Samantha Fish, Aaron Neville, Sonny Landreth, Toronzo Cannon and Brandon “Taz” Niederauer. June 15-16, RiverEdge Park, 360 N. Broadway, Aurora; riveredgeaurora.com

Scottish Festival and Highland Games: June 15-16, Hamilton Lakes, 1 Pierce Place, Itasca; scottishfestivalchicago.org

LatinXT Festival: With Uproot Andy, Centavrvs, Zuzuka Ponderosa, Bembona, La Misa Negra, Dat Garcia, King Coya and Queen Cholas and more. June 15-16, Navy Pier, Grand and Lake Michigan; navypier.org

Chicago Pride Fest: With Mya, Belinda Carlisle, Brian Justin Crum, Jessica Sanchez, La Bouche and more. June 16-17, on Halsted from Addison to Grace;

Chicago Pride Parade, June 24, on Halsted and Broadway between Montrose and Diversey; northhalsted.com

Gold Coast Art Fair: June 16-17, Grant Park, Butler Field, between Monroe and Jackson; starevents.com

Millennium Park Summer Music Series: June 18-Aug. 16, Millennium Park, Pritzker Pavilion, Michigan and Randolph; millenniumpark.org

Singer Dierks Bentley (pictured at the Country Rising Benefit Concert at Bridgestone Arena on November 12, 2017 in Nashville, Tennessee) headlines the 2018 Windy City LakeShake festival. | John Shearer/Country Rising/Getty Images

Country LakeShake Music Festival: With Blake Shelton, Dierks Bentley, Florida Georgia Line, Lee Brice, Tracy Lawrence, Raelynn and more. June 22-24, Huntington Bank Pavilion at Northerly Island; lakeshakefestival.com

Logan Square Arts Festival: With !!!, Priests, oddCouple, Ssion, Flint Eastwood. June 22-24, Around the Illinois Centennial Monument on Logan Square; logansquareartsfestival.com

Old St. Pat’s World’s Largest Block Party: With Mike and Joe, Maggie Speaks, 7th Heaven, Trippin’ Billies and more. June 22-23, on Des Plaines from Adams to Madison; worldslargestblockparty.com

Chi-Soul Fest: With The Will Tilson Band, Theo Huff, The Right Now, Dee Alexander: Tribute to Curtis Mayfield, Syleena Johnson, The Congregation, Sam Trump, Kaina, JC Brooks Band and more. June 27-30, Navy Pie, Grand and Lake Michigan; navypier.org

Ruido Fest: With Caifanes, Panteon Rococo, Los Angeles Azules, Titan, Ana Tijoux and more. June 22-24, Addams/Medill Park, 1301 W. 14th; starevents.com

Strawberry Fest: June 22-24, downtown Long Grove, 308 Old McHenry, Long Grove; longgrove.org

Mamby on the Beach 2017 | Mamby on the Beach Facebook

Mamby on the Beach: With Common, Spoon, Grizzly Bear, Russ, Cold War Kids, St. Lucia and more. June 23-24, Oakwood Beach, 4100 S. Lake Shore Dr.; mambybeach.com

Evanston Chamber Artisan Summerfest: June 23-24, downtown Evanston on Church and Sherman; chicagoevents.com

Summerfest: With Imagine Dragons, James Taylor, Bonnie Raitt, Dave Matthews Band, The Weeknd, Kesha, Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit, Halsey, Florida Georgia Line, The Flaming Lips and more. June 27-July 8, along the lakefront, Milwaukee, Wis.; summerfest.com

Chicago SummerDance: June 28-Aug. 25, Grant Park, Spirit of Music Garden, 601 S. Michigan; chicagosummerdance.org

FitzGerald’s American Music Festival: With Nick Lowe with Los Straitjackets, Joe Ely Band, Blackfoot Gypsies, Eric Lindell, Kelly Willis, C.J. Chenier, Marcia Ball, John Moreland and more. June 29-30, July 1 & 3, FitzGerald’s, 6615 W. Roosevelt, Berwyn; fitzgeraldsnightclub.com

Windy City Ribfest: With 16 Candles, Electric Lotus, Rod Tuffcurls and the Bench Press, Mobley and more. June 29-July 1, Lawrence and Broadway; chicagoevents.com

Nick Lowe with Los Straitjackets are among the headliners at the 2018 FitzGerald’s American Music Festival. | Jim Harrington

Lisle Eyes to the Skies: With The Purple Xperience, Lucky Boys Confusion, Maddie & Tae. June 29-July 1, Lisle Community Park, 1825 Short, Lisle; eyestotheskies.org

101 WKQX Piqniq: With Awolnation, Dashboard Confessional, Bush, Greta Van Fleet, Front Bottoms and more. June 30, Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre, 19100 Ridgeland, Tinley Park; ticketmaster.com


Fireworks at Navy Pier: July 4, 600 E. Grand; navypier.org

Lake Forest Festival & Fireworks: July 4, Deerpath Community Park, 400 Hastings, Lake Forest; chicagoevents.com

Naperville Ribfest: With Steven Tyler and the Loving Mary Band, Melissa Etheridge, Stray Cats, Pit Bull, Jake Owen, Chris Janson, Jordan Davis. July 4-7, 724 S. West St., Naperville; ribfest.net

Irish American Heritage Festival: With Byrne and Kelly, Coyote Riot, Gaelic Storm, In Spite of Ourselves, Irish Heritage Singers and more. July 6-8, Irish American Heritage Center, 4626 N. Knox; irish-american.org

West Fest: July 6-8, on Chicago between Damen and Leavitt; westfestchicago.com

International Festival of Life: With Capleton, Sweet Micky, Yellowman and more. July 6-8, Union Park, 1501 W. Randolph; internationalfestivaloflife.com

The Chosen Few Old School Reunion Picnic: July 7, Jackson Park, 6401 S. Stony Island; chicagoevents.com

Live in Lincoln Park: With Michael Franti & Spearhead, Mike Gordon (Phish), The Original Wailers, Collie Buddz and more. July 7-8, Stockton and LaSalle; starevents.com

Taste of Chicago: With The Flaming Lips, Juanes, Brandi Carlile, Black Star, George Clinton Parliament Funkadelic and maore. July 11-15, Grant Park, Jackson and Columbus; tasteofchicago.us

Square Roots Festival: The Jayhawks, Pokey LaFarge, Matthew Sweet, The Tossers, The Handsome Family, The Dream Syndicate, Bombino, Gato Preto and more. July 13-15, on Lincoln between Montrose and Wilson; squareroots.org

Juanes (photographed at The Forum on May 12, 2018 in Inglewood, California) is among the headliners for the 2018 Taste of Chicago. | Timothy Norris/Getty Images

Windy City Smokeout: With Brett Young, Brett Eldredge, Brothers Osborne, Midland, Turnpike Troubadors, Charley Crockett, Ashley McBryde and more. July 13-15, Grand and the Chicago River; windycitysmokeout.com

Roscoe Village Burger Fest: With Lucky Boys Confusion, Big Suit, Michael McDermott, AM Taxi and more. July 14-15, Belmont and Damen; chicagoevents.com

Southport Art Festival: July 14-15, Southport and Waveland; starevents.com

V103 Summer Block Party: With Ludacris, Boyz II Men, Keith Sweat, Ja Rule, Ashanti and more. July 14, Huntington Bank Pavilion, Northerly Island, 1300 S. Lynn White Drive; livenation.com

Chinatown Summer Fair: July 15, 2200 S. Wentworth; chicagoevents.com

Summer Nature Festival: July 19, Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum, 2430 N. Cannon; naturemuseum.org

Chef BBQ: July 19, Clark and Stockton, greencitymarket.org

You can catch Courtney Barnett at this year’s Pitchfork Music Festival. Vivien Killilea/Getty Images for SiriusXM

Pitchfork Music Festival: With Tame Impala, Courtney Barnett, Fleet Foxes, The War on Drugs, Raphael Saadiq, Ms. Lauryn Hill, Chaka Khan, Japandroids and more. July 20-22, Union Park, 1501 W. Randolph; pitchforkmusicfestival.com

Taste of River North: With Rod Tuffcurls and the Benchpress, Sixteen Candles, Ars Nova, Chicago Loud 9 and more. July 20-22, Ward Park, 630 N. Kingsbury; tasteofrivernorth.com

Festa Italiana: July 20-22, Henry W. Maier Park, 200 N. Harbor, Milwaukee, Wis.; festaitaliana.com

BenFest: July 20-22, St. Benedict Parish, 2215 W. Irving Park; parish.stbenedict.com

Colombian Fest Chicago: With Willie Colon, Alfredo Gutierrez Los Corraleros d Majagual, Ivan Villazon, Raul Acosta & Oro Solido, Bazurto All Stars and more. July 20-22, Kelvyn Park, 4438 W. Wrightwood; columbianfestchicago.com

Forest Park Music Fest: July 20-22, Madison and Des Plaines, Forest Park; starevents.com

Chicago Craft Beer Fest: July 21-22, Sheffield and Webster; chicagoevents.com

Sheffield Music Fest & Garden Walk: With The Ides of March, The Buckinghams, ARRA, Freddy Jones Band, Run Forrest Run and more. July 21-22; on Sheffield between Webster and Fullerton; sheffieldgardenwalk.com

North Shore Festival of Art: July 21-22; Westfield Old Orchard Mall, 4905 Old Orchard Center, Skokie; chicagoevents.com

Logan Square Arts Festival: With Air Credits, Joan of Arc, METZ, Tunde Olaniran and more. June 22-24, Illinois Centennial Monument on Logan Square; logansquareartsfestival.com

Bucktown Arts Fest: Aug. 25-26, 2200 N. Oakley; bucktownartsfest.com

Wicker Park Fest: July 27-29, on Milwaukee between Ashland and North; wickerparkbucktown.com

Taste of Lincoln Avenue: With Martha Davis & the Motels, Rayland Baxter, Linda Clifford, The Way Down Wanderers and more. July 28-29, on Lincoln between Fullerton and Wrightwood; tasteoflincolnchicago.com

Bruno Mars will headline Lollapalooza in August. | Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images for dcp


Lollapalooza: With The Weeknd, Bruno Mars, Jack White, Arctic Monkeys, Travis Scott, The National, Vampire Weekend, Odesza, Logic, Post Malone, St. Vincent and more. Aug. 2-5, Grant Park; lollapalooza.com

Jeff Fest: Aug. 3-5, Jefferson Memorial Park, 4822 N. Long; chicagoevents.com

Black Harvest Film Festival: Aug. 4-30, Gene Siskel Film Center, 164 N. State; siskelfilmcenter.org/blackharvest

Edge Fest: Rod Tuffcurls and the Bench Press, 16 Candles, Catfight, Rosie & the Rivets and more. Aug. 4-5, Broadway & Thorndale; starevents.com

Retro on Roscoe: Aug. 10-12, Roscoe and Damen; starevents.com

Ginza Holiday Festival: Aug. 10-12, 435 W. Menomonee; ginzaholiday.com

Festival Cubano: With Gilberto Santa Rosa, Oscar D’Leon, Adalberto Alvarez, Lisa Lisa, George Lamond and more. Aug. 10-12, Riis Park, 6100 W. Fullerton; eventbrite.com

North Halsted Market Days: Aug. 11-12, on Halsted between Belmont and Addison; chicagoevents.com

Near North Food Truck Social: Aug. 11-12, on Sedgwick between Chicago and Locust, nearnorthfoodtrucksocial.com

Clark After Dark: Aug. 16, Clark and Hubbard; starevents.com

Milwaukee Irish Fest: Aug. 16-19; Henry W. Maier Festival Park, 200 N. Harbor, Milwaukee, Wis.; irishfest.com

Chicago Air and Water Show: Aug. 18-19, North Avenue Beach, 1600 N. Lake Shore; chicagoairandwatershow.us

Pilsen Fest: Aug. 18-19, On Blue Island between 18th and 21st; pilsenfestchicago.com

Sangria Festival: Aug. 18-19, Humboldt Park, sangriafestivalchicago.com

Vintage Days: Aug. 18-19, downtown Long Grove, 308 Old McHenry, Long Grove; longgrove.org

South Shore Summer Fest: With Jeffrey Osborne, South Shore Drill Team. Aug. 19, South Shore Cultural Center, 7059 S. South Shore; chicagoevents.com

Wizard World Comic Con Chicago: With Sebastian Stan, Sam Heughan, Caitriona Balfe, Ian Somerhalder, Nichelle Nichols and more. Aug. 23-26, Donald E. Stephens Convention Center, 5555 N. River Rd., Rosemont; wizardworld.com/comiccon/chicago

Logan Square Food Truck Social: Aug. 24-26, on Humboldt Blvd. between Armitage and 606 Trail; logansquarefoodtrucksocial.com

Milwaukee Fringe Festival: Aug. 25-26, Marcus Center for the Performing Arts, 929 N. Water, Milwaukee, Wis.; mkefringe.com

HotHouse’s Jazz on a Summer Day/Beggar’s Banquet Festival: With Ari Brown, Avreeyal Ra, Yosef Ben Israel, Nick Mazerella, Matthew Ullery and moreand more. Aug. 26. Blueberry Field, 14312 S. Log Cabin Rd., Three Oaks, Michigan; hothouse.net

Chicago Jazz Festival: With Ramsey Lewis, Kurt Elling, Dianne Reeves, Maceo Parker, Orbert Davis and more. Aug. 30-Sept. 2, Millennium Park, Michigan and Randolph and Chicago Cultural Center, 78 E. Washington; chicagojazzfestival.us

Jazz pianist/composer Ramsey Lewis will give his final Chicago performance at this year’s Jazz Festival. | ON RHODES PHOTO

Chicago Fringe Festival: Aug. 30-Sept. 3, various venues in Jefferson Park; chicagofringe.org

North Coast Music Festival: With Miguel, Axwell & Ingrosso, Vulfpeck, The Revivialists, Jamiroquai, Gramatick and more. Aug. 31-Sept. 2, Union Park, 1401 W. Randolphnorthcoastfestival.com

African Festival of the Arts: Aug. 31-Sept. 3, Washington Park, 5100 S. Cottage Grove; aihusa.org


Irish Days: Sept. 1-3, downtown Long Grove, 308 Old McHenry, Long Grove; longgrove.org

Cider & Sliders Festival: Sept. 1-2, on Lincoln between Addison and Roscoe; chicagoevents.com


World Music Festival Chicago: Sept. 7-23, Millennium Park, Michigan Randolph, Chicago Cultural Center, 78 E. Washington and various locations around the city; worldmusicfestivalchicago.us

Fiestas Partias – Festival de la Villita: Sept. 7-9, 26th and Kostner; chicagoevents.com

Throwback Music Festival: Sept. 7-9, 6030 N. Milwaukee; chicagoevents.com

Renegade Craft Chicago: Sept. 8-9, on Division between Damen and Paulina; renegadecraft.com

Chicago Bourbon & Barbecue Festival: Sept. 8-9, Damen and Roscoe; chicagoevents.com

Lakeview East Festival of the Arts: Sept. 8-9, on Broadway from Belmont to Hawthorne; lakevieweastfestivalofthearts.com

Riot Fest: Sept. 14-16, Douglas Park, 1401 S. Sacramento; riotfest.org

Sam Adams Lakeview Taco Fest: Sept. 15-16, on Southport between Addison and Roscoe; chicagoevents.com

Oktoberfest Chicago: Sept. 28-30; at Southport, Wellington and Lincoln; chicagoevents.com

Hyde Park Jazz Festival: Sept. 29-30, Midway Plaisance and Woodlawn; starevents.com

Mary Houlihan is a local freelance writer.

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Our Guide To The Summer Festivals Of 2012


Our Guide To The Summer Festivals Of 2012

Our Guide To The Summer Festivals Of 2012


Our Guide To The Summer Festivals Of 2012