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Best 5+ Under The Radar Chicago Music Festivals
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Best 5+ Under The Radar Chicago Music Festivals

Picture of Ashley Giampoli
Updated: 11 December 2015
Summertime in Chicago means that festival season is upon us. Having increased in popularity in recent years, music festivals are popping up left and right and there’s at least one each weekend throughout the summer months in Chicago. There are, of course, the mainstream and widely known festivals like Spring Awakening, Pitchfork, North Coast and Lollapalooza, but why not expand your horizons and try out some of these lesser-known fests next time?

Do Division Street Fest

Start off your summer with Do Division Street Fest. Take a walk down Division Street (between Damen and Leavitt) in late May and you’ll find everything from fashion shows, to food trucks, to sidewalk sales and live music. Chances are, you’ve never heard of any of the acts, but we’re here to try new things right? With names like Peanut Butter Wolf, Meat Wave and Springtime Carnivore, the music is sure to be just as creative as the festival.

Ruido Fest

Ruido Fest does something very special by filling a specific empty music festival void. Head here for your Latin American and Spanish rock, pop and electro fix. The three day party in mid July starts in Pilsen and you’ll be able to see live some of the biggest acts from Mexico, Argentina, Chile and more.

Goose Island Beer | © Jamie McCaffrey/Flickr
Goose Island Beer | © Jamie McCaffrey/Flickr

Goose Island Urban Block Party

For all you craft beer enthusiasts, head out to the West Loop in early September for the Goose Island Urban Block Party. Spend the day sipping your favorite Goose Island brews, and try out some new ones hot off the tap. The party goes all weekend and everyone is out to have a great time and close out the summer with a bang. The 2015 Goose Island Block Party was headline by Matt and Kim, and they put on a pretty fantastic show, so it’s a safe bed that the 2016 edition won’t disappoint.

Mamby on the Beach

The folks behind Spring Awakening have started another summer music festival extravaganza – Mamby on the Beach! Lather on the sunscreen and dig your toes into the sand at Oakwood Beach in mid July while rocking out to the perfect summertime soundtrack. In its inaugural year, this two-day party featured acts like Passion Pit and Empire of the Sun so year two is looking promising!

Farm Aid

Get your country on while doing something for the greater good at Farm Aid. In its 30th year, this benefit fest held at Northerly Island in mid September featured acts from Willie Nelson, Neil Young and John Mellencamp to Imagine Dragons and Jack Johnson. But it’s about so much more than the music. Proceeds of this festival go towards supporting local farmers, and you’ll get to taste their homegrown specialties too!

Honorable Mentions:

Chicago Blues Festival (Early June); Lake Shake Festival (Mid June); Logan Square Arts Festival (Late June); Taste Of Chicago (Early July); Wicker Park Fest (Late July); West Fest (Early September).