With summer just around the corner, it’s time to think about seeing a music festival or two. But where should you go? Consider loading up the car and hitting the road for a short road trip with friends this summer. While Chicago boasts an array of music festivals, including premier events like Lollapalooza, Pitchfork and the Chicago Blues Festival, there are still plenty of music celebrations scheduled in the city if you’re looking for a staycation idea. The following are some of the best music festivals within three hours of Chicago scheduled for this summer.
Chicago Gospel Music Festival
201 E. Randolph St.
Chicago, IL 60602
Dates: May 29 through 31
See a number of top gospel music performers in one place for free during the Chicago Gospel Music Festival. Now in its 30th year, the festival’s performance lineup for 2015 includes more than 30 performances. Ricky Dillard & New G, Anita Wilson and Jonathan McReynolds and One 4 Christ are among the musical acts on the schedule. Youth choirs are also featured. Consider taking public transportation to Millennium Park, which is located near L and Metra train stations and bus stops.
Windy City LakeShake Country Music Festival
FirstMerit Bank Pavilion at Northerly Island
1300 S. Lynn White Dr.
Chicago, IL 60605
Dates: June 19 through 21
Round up your friends, grab your favorite cowboy hat and get ready for three days of country music at the inaugural Windy City LakeShake Country Music Festival. Held along Lake Michigan, Lake Shake offers plenty of music and fun in the sun. The performance lineup includes big-name country music stars, including Brad Paisley, Dierks Bentley and Florida Georgia Line, Maddie & Tae, Cassadee Pope and Mickey Guyton. Vehicle parking is available at Soldier Field and other locations. If you’re planning to take public transportation, keep in mind buses pick up and drop off at the East Museum Lot.
Ford Festival Park
4125 Washburn St.
Oshkosh, WI 54904
Dates: July 15 through 18
Pack your car, round up your friends and get ready to rock with the four-day music festival Rock USA in Oshkosh, Wisconsin. Located about 170 miles north of downtown Chicago, the celebration of all things rock include performances from 20 musical groups, including Alice Cooper, Judas Priest, Avenged Sevenfold and Def Leppard. Camping and hotel options are available also. To get to the festival grounds, take Interstate 94 out of Chicago to Interstate 41 bringing you right to the event’s doorstep.
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Bigfoot Band Camp Music Festival
Cedar Creek Ranch
Cedar Point, IL 61316
Dates: August 7 through 9
Get out of the city and check out the Bigfoot Band Camp Music Festival. With Reverend Horton Heat, 303, Evacuate the Earth and Molly Tov among the performers, you and your friends can rock all weekend. The festival grounds are located about 100 miles southwest of downtown Chicago, making it an easy drive from the city. To get there, hop on Interstate 80 west, then take Interstate 39 south.
North Coast Music Festival
1501 W. Randolph St.
Chicago, IL 60607
Dates: September 4 through 6
End summer on the right note with three days of music at North Coast Music Festival. The fest, billed as “Summer’s last stand,” has a wide and varied performance list for 2015, with The Chemical Brothers, D’Angelo and the Vanguard, Knife Party, The Roots, Dirty Dozen Brass Band and Tycho among the more than 50 musical acts on the schedule. Fans can keep the party mood going with the festival’s official after parties. To get to the festival, take the Green Line of the L to the Ashland stop.
Megan Horst-Hatch is a runner, reader, baker, gardener, knitter, and other words that end in “-er.” She is also the president of Megan Writes, LLC. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.