MidwestWeekends.com — Your Travel Guide to the Upper Midwest

Music festivals 2017


  • (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.


  • (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 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.


  • (Jun 2 – 3)Gospel Festival

    Chicago, IL

    This free music festival Millennium Park also includes an art fair and a kids' activity zone.

  • (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)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 Grant Park. 

  • (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)America's River Festival

    Dubuque, IA

    This riverside music festival includes a motocross show, movie tent and children's games and rides.

  • (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 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 30 – Jul 1)Northwoods Blues Festival

    Chippewa Falls, WI

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


  • (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 – 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 – 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 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.


  • (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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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.


  • (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. 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. 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.