MidwestWeekends.com — Your Travel Guide to the Upper Midwest

Music festivals 2017

February

  • (Feb. 1 – 4)Winter Dance Party

    Clear Lake, IA

    The Surf Ballroom marks the 58th anniversary of the plane crash that killed Buddy Holly with concerts, luncheons, dance lessons and crash-site tours.


April

  • (Apr. 7 – 9)Roots and Bluegrass Festival

    River Falls, WI

    Hear music at half a dozen venues in the downtown of this western Wisconsin college town.


  • (Apr. 28 – 29)Mid West Music Fest

    Winona, MN

    More than 75 musical groups in all genres play in museums, galleries, cafes and arts centers across town. There are arts workshops for children, too.

    There's also a Midwest Music Fest April 14-15 in La Crosse.


  • (Apr. 30 – May 7)Homegrown Music Festival

    Duluth, MN

    More than 100 musical acts will perform in venues around the Twin Ports, and there also will be film, visual arts and craft beer.


May

  • (May 21 – 28)Duluth Dylan Festival

    Duluth, MN

    The town in which Bob Dylan was born celebrates the singer's 76th birthday with a Blood on the Tracks train ride, a singer-songwriter contest, a bus tour, films, music and a trivia contest.

     

     

     


  • (May 25 – 29)North Iowa Band Festival

    Mason City, IA

    There's a carnival, craft show and car cruise, but don't miss the 10 a.m. Saturday band parade in this northern Iowa town, which Meredith Willson made famous in "The Music Man.''


  • (May 26 – 29)World's Largest Brat Fest

    Madison, WI

    There's music on four stages, plus kids' games, a sports zone, carnival rides and Sunday fireworks. Admission is free. Outside the Alliant Energy Center.


  • (May 26 – 29)Chicago Gaelic Park Irish Festival

    Oak Forest, IL

    In this south Chicago suburb, there's music on five stages, plus a petting zoo, hurling, theater, Irish dog and pony exhibits and red hair, freckle and bonnie baby contests.


  • (May 28)BobFest

    Spring Green, WI

    The Spring Green General Store in this artistic town on the Wisconsin River celebrates Bob Dylan's 76th birthday with free outdoor music.


  • (May 28)Soundset

    St. Paul, MN

    Travis Scott, Atmosphere and Lauryn Hill are among the headliners at this hiphop festival at the Minnesota State Fairgrounds.


June

  • (Jun 2 – 3)Gospel Festival

    Chicago, IL

    This free music festival is in Millennium Park and across the street at the Cultural Center.


  • (Jun 8 – 11)Steel Bridge SongFest

    Sturgeon Bay, WI

    More than 150 musicians and songwriters perform in more than 15 venues around town to benefit the historic Michigan Avenue canal bridge.


  • (Jun 8 – 10)America's River Festival

    Dubuque, IA

    This riverside music festival includes a motocross show, movie tent and children's games and rides. Headliners include the Guess Who, Nitty Gritty Dirt Band and Styx.


  • (Jun 8 – 10)Blue Ox Music Festival

    Eau Claire, WI

    This family-friendly acoustic festival is near Eau Claire.

    There's camping onsite.


  • (Jun 9 – 11)Blues Festival

    Chicago, IL

    The largest of Chicago's free music festivals draws 750,000 people to Millennium Park. Headliners include William Bell, Gary Clark Jr. and Billy Branch & The Son of the Blues.


  • (Jun 9 – 10)Stamman Scandinavian Folk Festival

    Nisswa, MN

    This festival in the Brainerd Lakes area features visiting musicians from Denmark, Sweden and Norway as well as many North American folk musicians.


  • (Jun 9 – 11)Ribfest Chicago

    Chicago, IL

    This street festival in the Northcenter neighborhood, on Lincoln Avenue between Irving Park Road and Warner Avenue, features barbecue plus indie, roots, rock and alt country music.

    There's a Kids Square with games and a rib-eating contest Friday with professional eaters.


  • (Jun 9 – 10)Winstock Country Festival

    Winsted, MN

    Keith Urban and Brantley Gilbert headline this festival just west of Minneapolis.


  • (Jun 9 – 11)2 Rivers Wine & Jazz Festival

    Ottawa, IL

    The festival in this town on the Fox and Illinois rivers features wine from 25 Illinois vineyards and jazz and blues in Washington Park.


  • (Jun 9 – 10)Northwoods Bluegrass Festival

    Ladysmith, WI

    Six bluegrass bands play at this festival at the Washburn County Fairgrounds. On-site camping is available.


  • (Jun 13 – 17)Grant Park Music Festival

    Chicago, IL

    Professional musicians, many of them world-famous, offer free classical concerts in Millennium Park's beautiful Pritzker Pavilion.


  • (Jun 16 – 17)Blues on the Fox

    Aurora, IL

    Blues artists perform at the festival grounds on the Fox River, in the town where Chicago blues musicians recorded for RCA's Bluebird label in the 1930s.


  • (Jun 16 – 17)Eaux Claires Music Festival

    Eau Claire, WI

    Bon Iver returns for a third year with new acts. There's camping on-site.


  • (Jun 20 – 24)Country USA

    Oshkosh, WI

    Blake Shelton, Florida Georgia Line and Rascal Flatts are among the headliners of this year's big festival at Ford Festival Park.


  • (Jun 22 – 24)Twin Cities Jazz Festival

    St. Paul, MN

    Listen to jazz in Mears Park, in St. Paul's Lowertown.


  • (Jun 22 – 25)Country Fest

    Cadott, WI

    This year's big outdoor festival near Chippewa Falls features Blake Shelton, Eric Church, Thomas Rhett and Alabama.


  • (Jun 22 – 24)Lakes Jam

    Brainerd, MN

    Jake Owen, Chris Janson and Montgomery Gentry headline this music-and-camping festival at Brainerd International Raceway.


  • (Jun 23 – 25)Cedar Basin Jazz Festival

    Cedar Falls, IA

    There will be 42 hours of free entertainment in Sturgis Park, including a Sunday morning gospel set and a jazz brunch.


  • (Jun 30 – Jul 1)Mississippi Valley Blues Festival

    Davenport, IA

    In LeClaire Park on the river, blues musicians celebrate the music that traveled up the Mississippi.


  • (Jun 30 – Jul 2)Iowa City Jazz Festival

    Iowa City, IA

    This downtown festival features a Culinary Row, Fun Zone for kids and Sunday fireworks in addition to music.


  • (Jun 30 – Jul 3)Ribfest

    Naperville, IL

    Headliners include Toby Keith in Knoch Park, where there's also magic shows, kids' games, food and fireworks on the last evening.


  • (Jun 30 – Jul 1)Northwoods Blues Festival

    Chippewa Falls, WI

    The blues festival moves from Spooner to the Northern Wisconsin State Fairgrounds.


July

  • (Jul 4 – 9)Summerfest

    Milwaukee, WI

    They call this the world's largest music festival. More than 800 acts perform on 11 stages along Lake Michigan, including Pink and Red Hot Chili Peppers.


  • (Jul 6 – 9)Winnipeg Folk Festival

    Winnipeg, MB

    This easy-going, family-friendly festival features 70 performers, food and hand-made art from around the world plus a fun play area for children.

    Many people camp on-site at Birds Hill Provincial Park. Tickets are cheapest when bought in advance.


  • (Jul 6 – 9)National Women's Music Festival

    Middleton, WI

    In addition to concerts, this musical and cultural festival at the Marriott Madison West features comedy, theater, film and writers' workshops.


  • (Jul 7 – 9)Blues Festival

    Thunder Bay, ON

    This festival has a scenic location in Marina Park, on the Lake Superior waterfront.


  • (Jul 7 – 8)80/35 Music Festival

    Des Moines, IA

    This indie and jam music festival (named for the junction of two interstates) is at Western Gateway Park.


  • (Jul 7 – 9)Blissfest

    Cross Village, MI

    This family-friendly folk and roots festival on a farm includes reggae, country, zydeco, jazz and Celtic music on three stages and four workshop areas. There's also a juried arts and crafts fair. Rustic camping is available.


  • (Jul 7 – 9)Square Roots Festival

    Chicago, IL

    The Old Town School of Folk Music presents this Lincoln Square festival, which includes more than 60 acts on four stages plus 30 local and regional craft beers and food from neighborhood restaurants.


  • (Jul 7 – 8)Basilica Block Party

    Minneapolis, MN

    Praise the Loud at this ticketed rock-music fest at the Basilica of St. Mary on the edge of downtown. Brandi Carlile and Gavin DeGraw are among the headliners.


  • (Jul 7 – 8)Hambone Music Festival

    Rochester, MN

    This family-friendly roots-music festival on the grounds of the Olmsted County History Center also features an Artists Village and crafts for kids on Saturday. There's some primitive camping onsite.


  • (Jul 8)Driftless Music Festival

    Viroqua, WI

    This free folk and roots festival is in Viroqua's Eckhart Park.


  • (Jul 13 – 16)Hodag Country Festival

    Rhinelander, WI

    This year, performers at this big fest include Frankie Ballard and Neal McCoy. There's a band contest, too.


  • (Jul 13 – 15)Rock Fest

    Cadott, WI

    This year's big outdoor festival near Chippewa Falls features top national musicians.


  • (Jul 13 – 15)Rock USA

    Oshkosh, WI

    This big rock festival is held in Ford Festival Park.


  • (Jul 14 – 15)RiverSong Music Festival

    Hutchinson, MN

    This family-friendly festival on the Crow River, west of the Twin Cities, features folk, blues, jazz and other grassroots music on three stages, including one for children. There's onsite camping and food.


  • (Jul 14 – 16)Pitchfork Music Festival

    Chicago, IL

    This indie and alt-rock festival is in Union Park.


  • (Jul 15)Bayfront Reggae & World Music Festival

    Duluth, MN

    Hear island music on Lake Superior, from Bayfront Festival Park.


  • (Jul 15)Roots, Rock & Deep Blues Festival

    Minneapolis, MN

    This music and arts festival in the Longfellow neighborhood, near Harriet Brewery and Midtown light-rail station, features five stages and 20 bands, including Nicholas David, Black Eyed Snakes and Erik Koskinen.


  • (Jul 16)Woodstock Folk Festival

    Woodstock, IL

    Listen to music on the square in this town just over the Wisconsin border from Lake Geneva.


  • (Jul 20 – 22)Moondance Jam

    Walker, MN

    This big classic-rock and camping festival celebrates its 26th year. 


  • (Jul 20 – 22)Country Jam

    Eau Claire, WI

    Luke Bryan, Dierks Bentley and Trace Adkins are  among the headliners of this fest. There's camping on-site.


  • (Jul 21 – 23)Hiawatha Traditional Music Festival

    Marquette, MI

    This folk music festival in Tourist Park also features a juried arts and crafts show and camping on-site.


  • (Jul 21 – 22)Lowertown Blues & Funk Festival

    St. Paul, MN

    This free, all-ages festival is in Mears Park.


  • (Jul 27 – 29)Burning Cow Music Festival

    Sturgeon Bay, WI

    This third annual fest features emerging and established rock, bluegrass and alt country bands. There's on-site camping.


  • (Jul 28 – 29)Prairie Dog Blues Festival

    Prairie du Chien, WI

    This Mississippi River festival on historic St. Feriole Island features 12 bands on two stages, with onsite camping.


August

  • (Aug. 3 – 5)Bix Beiderbecke Memorial Jazz Festival

    Davenport, IA

    Since 1972, fans of this Jazz Age cornetist and composer have held this festival in his hometown on the Mississippi.


  • (Aug. 3 – 5)WE Fest

    Detroit Lakes, MN

    Luke Bryan and Zac Brown Band are among the headliners at this big country festival in west-central Minnesota.


  • (Aug. 3 – 6)Lollapalooza

    Chicago, IL

    This big music festival features dozens of bands and, unlike other Grant Park festivals, is not free. Reserve rooms far in advance.


  • (Aug. 3 – 5)Country on the River

    Prairie du Chien, WI

    Chris Stapleton is among the headliners performing on two stages on St. Feriole Island.


  • (Aug. 3 – 6)Mile of Music

    Appleton, WI

    More than 180 singer-songwriters perform at more than 40 venues along College Avenue downtown.


  • (Aug. 4 – 6)Blues on the Chippewa

    Durand, WI

    Just up the Chippewa River from Lake Pepin, this free blues festival in Memorial Park features 16 bands.


  • (Aug. 5)Square Lake Film & Music Festival

    Stillwater, MN

    This festival near Square Lake County Park, north of Stillwater, alternates short independent films with live music. Festgoers arriving by bicycle get half-price tickets, which sell out in advance.


  • (Aug. 10 – 13)Minnesota Bluegrass & Old-Time Music Festival

    Richmond, MN

    This 38h annual family-friendly festival includes music on five stages and workshops at El Rancho Mañana Campground, 20 miles west of St. Cloud.


  • (Aug. 10 – 12)Ashley for the Arts music festival

    Arcadia, WI

    This nonprofit festival is in the southwest Wisconsin bluffs, half an hour north of Winona, Minn.

    Headliners include Three Dog Night, Neal McCoy and Gavin DeGraw. Tickets for all three days are $10. In addition to music, there will be a hot-air balloon launch, car show, arts, children's activities and Saturday fireworks.


  • (Aug. 11 – 13)Bayfront Blues Festival

    Duluth, MN

    The 29th annual music fest on the Lake Superior harbor showcases national and regional acts on three stages.


  • (Aug. 11 – 13)Live From the Rock

    Red Rock, ON

    This folk festival is on the shores of Lake Superior, east of Thunder Bay near Nipigon. Camping is on-site.


  • (Aug. 11 – 12)Summer Microbrew & Music Festival

    Traverse City, MI

    This festival at Grand Traverse Commons features music and more than 200 craft beers.


  • (Aug. 17 – 20)Boundary Waters Blues Festival

    Ely, MN

    Ten bands play Friday and Saturday on Fall Lake, five miles east of Ely. There's camping on-site.


  • (Aug. 18 – 19)Big Bull Falls Blues Fest

    Wausau, WI

    Enjoy national and local blues musicians in Fern Island Park. There's a beer garden, of course.


  • (Aug. 19)HarborPark Jazz & Blues Festival

    Kenosha, WI

    This free festival is in the lakefront Celebration Place.


  • (Aug. 24 – 27)Lakes Bluegrass Festival

    Pine River, MN

    This family-friendly festival at the Cass County Fairgrounds, just off the Paul Bunyan State Trail, features more than 40 bluegrass shows and free workshops.


  • (Aug. 25 – 27)Porcupine Mountains Music Festival

    Silver City, MI

    Few settings are more beautiful than Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park on Lake Superior; 25 national and regional blues, folk and bluegrass acts perform.


  • (Aug. 25 – 27)Great River Folk Festival

    La Crosse, WI

    This festival in Riverside Park includes children's activities, a traditional arts and crafts fair and music performances and workshops.


  • (Aug. 26)Crossroads Blues Festival

    Rockford, IL

    Enjoy a day of blues in Lyran Park, with food from local restaurants.


  • (Aug. 31 – Sep 3)Chicago Jazz Festival

    Chicago, IL

    This free festival features music at the Chicago Cultural Center and  Millennium Park.


September

  • (Sep. 1 – 3)Marquette Area Blues Fest

    Marquette, MI

    Enjoy a weekend of music in Mattson Lower Harbor Park on Lake Superior.


  • (Sep. 2 – 3)Fox Jazz Festival

    Menasha, WI

    This free Fox Cities jazz festival is in Jefferson Park, on the shores of Lake Winnebago.


  • (Sep. 8 – 24)World Music Festival

    Chicago, IL

    There will be more than 80 artists performing at more than 30 venues across the city, with some performances free and some ticketed.


  • (Sep. 8 – 10)Radio Waves Music Festival

    Grand Marais, MN

    WTIP, North Shore Community Radio, hosts this outdoor fest of more than 25 local and regional music acts next to the municipal campground.


  • (Sep. 9 – 10)Rock Bend Folk Festival

    St. Peter, MN

    This free, easygoing festival in this Minnesota River town's Minnesota Square Park includes local favorites The Divers.


  • (Sep. 9)Washington County Bluegrass Festival

    Lake Elmo, MN

    Bluegrass bands will play at this family festival at Lake Elmo Park Reserve, free with $5 vehicle permit. There also will be camping and food vendors.


  • (Sep. 9 – 10)East Troy Bluegrass Festival

    East Troy, WI

    Listen to bluegrass bands and contests in the historic village square. There's also a food court and marketplace.


  • (Sep. 14 – 17)Michigan Irish Music Festival

    Muskegon, MI

    There's music on three stages, plus dance and session tents, a cultural village, Celtic Kitchen and limerick contest.


  • (Sep. 15 – 17)Riot Fest

    Chicago, IL

    This Douglas Park music festival also features a circus sideshow revue and carnival.


  • (Sep. 20 – 24)Boats and Bluegrass

    Winona, MN

    This family-oriented festival in Prairie Island Park, on the Mississippi River, features disc golf, paddling and airplane rides as well as music. A weekend pass includes camping and canoeing, and kids under 16 are free with an adult ticket.


  • (Sep. 23 – 24)Hyde Park Jazz Festival

    Chicago, IL

    Listen to non-stop music during this free festival at venues in and around Midway Plaisance, near the Museum of Science and Industry and Lake Michigan.


October