MidwestWeekends.com — Your Travel Guide to the Upper Midwest

Music festivals 2021

April

  • (Apr. 23)Virtual Eau Claire Jazz Festival

    Eau Claire, WI

    Normally, headliners play the State Theatre, and on Friday, more than 50 bands play acoustic jazz, ragtime, big-band and blues along Barstow Street downtown, recreating New York's 52nd Street.

    This year, it's virtual.


May

  • (May 2 – 9)Virtual Homegrown Music Festival

    Duluth, MN

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

    It's online again this year.


  • (May 22 – 30)Duluth Dylan Festival

    Duluth, MN

    The town in which Bob Dylan was born celebrates the singer's 80th birthday with a Blood on the Tracks train ride, a singer-songwriter contest, a bus tour, films, music and a trivia contest.

     


  • (May 27 – 31)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.''


June

  • (Jun 5)Reggae Fest

    Trempealeau, WI

    The Trempealeau Hotel hosts this easygoing festival on the banks of the Mississippi. 

    Tickets are limited.


  • (Jun 11 – 12)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 11 – 13)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 11 – 13)Country Thunder Iowa Music Festival

    Forest City, IA

    The country-music festival in this town near Clear Lake features Lynyrd Skynrd, Morgan Wallan and Old Dominion. There's camping (and glamping) onsite.


  • (Jun 12)PorchFest

    Mount Morris, IL

    During this afternoon music festival, 19 bands perform for 45 minutes each on porches around town. There will be food vendors, too.


  • (Jun 18 – 19)Winstock Country Festival

    Winsted, MN

    Luke Combs and Darius Rucker headline this festival just west of Minneapolis.


  • (Jun 18 – 19)Northwoods Blues Festival

    Chippewa Falls, WI

    The blues festival is at Riverfront Park. 


  • (Jun 24 – 26)Country Fest

    Cadott, WI

    This year's big outdoor festival near Chippewa Falls features Thomas Rhett, Dierks Bentley and Kane Brown.


  • (Jun 24 – 26)Lakes Jam

    Brainerd, MN

    Brothers Osborne, Jon Pardi and Ratt are among the headliners at this music-and-camping festival at Brainerd International Raceway.


  • (Jun 25 – 27)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.


July

  • (Jul 1 – 4)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 1 – 4)Ribfest

    Romeoville, IL

    In addition to the headliners in this southwest Chicago suburb, there will be magic shows, kids' games, food and fireworks on the last evening.


  • (Jul 1 – 4)Catfish River Music Festival

    Stoughton, WI

    More than 20 bands perform in Rotary Park during this free festival, which includes artisans, food, beer, wine and fireworks on the Fourth and on Sunday.


  • (Jul 2 – 3)Iowa City Jazz Festival

    Iowa City, IA

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


  • (Jul 8 – 11)Winnipeg Folk Festival

    Winnipeg, MB

    This easy-going, family-friendly festival features more than 70 performers from eight countries, 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 8 – 11)Hodag Country Festival

    Rhinelander, WI

    This year, performers at this big fest include Neal McCoy, Travis Tritt and Darius Rucker. There's a band contest, too.


  • (Jul 9 – 10)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. 


  • (Jul 15 – 17)Rock Fest

    Cadott, WI

    This year's outdoor festival near Chippewa Falls features Limp Bizkit, Korn and Disturbed.


  • (Jul 15 – 17)Country Jam

    Eau Claire, WI

    Morgan Wallen, Chris Young and Jon Pardi are  among the headliners of this fest. There's camping on-site.


  • (Jul 16 – 18)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 16 – 17)Lowertown Blues & Funk Festival

    St. Paul, MN

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


  • (Jul 17)Bayfront Reggae & World Music Festival

    Duluth, MN

    Listen to island music on the shore of Lake Superior.


  • (Jul 17 – 18)Mississippi Valley Blues Festival

    Davenport, IA

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


  • (Jul 18)Woodstock Folk Festival

    Woodstock, IL

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


  • (Jul 30 – 31)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.


  • (Jul 30 – 31)Soul & Blues Festival

    Iowa City, IA

    This music festival is held downtown. 


August

  • (Aug. 5 – 8)Minnesota Bluegrass & Old-Time Music Festival

    Richmond, MN

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


  • (Aug. 5 – 7)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. 5 – 7)WE Fest

    Detroit Lakes, MN

    Blake Shelton, Dierks Bentley and Florida Georgia Line are among the headliners at this big country festival in west-central Minnesota.


  • (Aug. 5 – 8)Mile of Music

    Appleton, WI

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


  • (Aug. 12 – 14)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 Jefferson Starship, Foreigner, Toby Keith, Switchfood and Little Big Town. Thursday admission is free, and Friday-Saturday tickets are $20-$30. In addition to music, there will be an arts fair, children's activities and Saturday fireworks.


  • (Aug. 13 – 15)Bayfront Blues Festival

    Duluth, MN

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


  • (Aug. 19 – 21)Blue Ox Music Festival

    Eau Claire, WI

    This family-friendly acoustic festival is near Eau Claire and features Charlie Parr, Shakey Graves, Lissie, Molly Tuttle, Sam Bush and others.

    There's camping onsite.


  • (Aug. 20 – 21)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. 20 – 22)Blues, Brews & BBQ

    McHenry, IL

    Listen to the blues and eat barbecued foods in Petersen Park on McCollum Lake.


  • (Aug. 25 – 29)Lakes Bluegrass Festival

    Pine River, MN

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


  • (Aug. 27 – 29)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. 28)Crossroads Blues Festival

    Rockford, IL

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


September

  • (Sep. 3 – 5)Marquette Area Blues Fest

    Marquette, MI

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


  • (Sep. 4 – 5)Fox Jazz Festival

    Menasha, WI

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


  • (Sep. 11 – 12)Rock Bend Folk Festival

    St. Peter, MN

    This free, easygoing festival is in this Minnesota River town's Minnesota Square Park.


  • (Sep. 11)Washington County Bluegrass Festival

    Lake Elmo, MN

    Bluegrass bands will play at this family festival at Lake Elmo Park Reserve at the eastern edge of the Twin Cities, free with $7 vehicle permit. There also will be camping and food vendors.


  • (Sep. 11)Driftless Music Festival

    Viroqua, WI

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


  • (Sep. 11)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. 16 – 18)Summerfest

    Milwaukee, WI

    They call this the world's largest music festival. More than 1,000 acts perform on 12 stages along Lake Michigan. 


  • (Sep. 16 – 19)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. 17 – 19)Riot Fest

    Chicago, IL

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


  • (Sep. 23 – 25)Boats and Bluegrass

    Winona, MN

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


October