Each year, Chicago hosts some of the most popular festivals in the music scene, welcoming artists of different styles and fans of all genres. Here, The Phoenix explains the weekends and spotlights different artists at each event.
Summer Smash (June 17-19)
Chicago’s music festival scene kicks off with the Lyrical Lemonade Summer Smash. The festival, which takes place in Douglass Park, will feature some of the most notable names in rap and hip-hop, including headliners Post Malone and Playboi Carti.
Rappers Young Thug and Gunna were also due to headline the festival, performing a joint set. However, following the artists’ arrest on gang-related charges, rapper Lil Uzi Vert will take their place as Friday’s headliner.
Lil Uzi Vert released his debut studio album “Luv Is Rage” in 2015 and was nominated for multiple Billboard Music Awards, such as Top New Artist 2017 and Top Rap Album for his 2017 release “Luv Is Rage 2” in 2018 .
Artists such as Lil Skies, Lil Tecca and Ski Mask the Slump God are set to return to the Summer Smash stage. All three artists appeared on the festival’s 2021 lineup and proved to be attendee favorites.
Illinois-born rapper Tink is also on this year’s list of performers. His most recent song “Cater” features rapper 2 Chainz, who will also appear on the festival stage. 2 Chainz released their debut album in 2010. So far in 2022, they have released the album “Dope Don’t Sell Itself” and an EP titled “420 Hits: 2 Chainz”.
Singer-songwriter and comedian Oliver Tree will perform his popular scooter rides, as well as some of his songs. The modern sound and clever lyricism of indie hip-hop artist’s February 2022 album “Cowboy Tears” is a guaranteed crowd pleaser.
Three-day general admission tickets are on sale now, starting at $275 without taxes or fees.
Pitchfork Music Festival (July 15-17)
The Pitchfork Music Festival kicks off in July in Union Park with sets ranging from mellow indie solo acts to soulful R&B ensembles.
Day one features The National, an indie rock band from Cincinnati, Ohio. In addition to their feature on Taylor Swift’s “evermore,” the group has released eight studio albums, winning the Grammy for Best Alternative Music Album in 2018.
Mitski and Lucy Dacus will set the tone on Saturday with their shared lyrical intimacy. Each of their ensembles is expected to be similar to former Dacus collaborator and last year’s headliner, Phoebe Bridgers.
This festival appearance follows Dacus’ “Home Video” album in 2021 and his tour which ended in 2022.
Another standout performance from Saturday’s collection of artists will be Chicago rapper CupcakKe. Although she hasn’t had an album since 2018, she has steadily released singles over the past year, including her 2019 hit “Squidward Nose.”
Also from Windy City, Earl Sweatshirt will perform on Sunday. He made a name for himself outside of his former band Odd Future by releasing four studio albums including “SICK!” earlier this year.
Canadian instrumental group BADBADNOTGOOD will be one of the most intriguing ensembles on Sunday. Combining genres like jazz and hip-hop, the group has collaborated with artists such as Thundercat and Charlotte Day Wilson. Their dreamy style of music could prove to be a wonderful change of pace on a summer afternoon.
As a house band more than just “The Tonight Show,” The Roots will wrap up Pitchfork on Sunday. Questlove, Black Thought and the rest of The Roots have built one of the most influential hip-hop groups of all time. Their music in the light chill of a Chicago summer night will be the perfect start to the eclectic weekend.
Tickets are on sale now, with three-day passes available for $200, three-day plus for $399, and one-day passes for $99 with no taxes or fees.
Lollapalooza (July 28-31)
Lollapalooza has remained one of Chicago’s most anticipated music festivals, and this year’s lineup maintains the event’s reputation. The festival takes place in Grant Park and will feature headliners from various musical genres.
Heavy metal band Metallica are expected to be one of Thursday’s best-known performers. The group has been releasing music since the 1980s, with their latest album being “S&M2” in 2020.
Contrast Metallica’s hardcore sound on Thursday with R&B singer Jazmine Sullivan and hyperpop group 100 gecs. Packed with a wide variety of bands and artists, the first day of Lollapalooza offers versatile programming to attract fans of many genres.
Friday features a slate of promising performances, with well-known headliners such as Dua Lipa and Machine Gun Kelly.
The epitome of danceable, feel-good music, Lipa’s ’80s-inspired album “Future Nostalgia” won the 2021 Grammy Award for Best Pop Vocal Album. As the top rock artist of the 2021 Billboard Music Awards, Machine Gun Kelly will provide a hard rock contrast to Lipa’s pop.
J. Cole, Big Sean and Wallows are scheduled to take the stage on Saturday. Wallows’ Lollapalooza performance will be their first Chicago appearance since the release of their latest album “Tell Me That It’s Over,” which shines a light on the complexity of romantic pursuits.
While pop-rap artist Doja Cat was to be one of the festival’s most iconic performers, she recently announced her withdrawal from all concerts and festivals this summer due to tonsil surgery.
Green Day, Charli XCX and Dominic Fike are still supporting the festival’s Sunday lineup. This will be Dominic Fike’s second consecutive year on the Lollapalooza stage. The recent surge in popularity of the singer’s 2018 release “Don’t Forget About Me, Demos” and his appearance on the second season of “Euphoria” are guaranteed to draw a crowd to his set.
One- to four-day Lollapalooza general admission tickets are on sale now, with four-day tickets starting at $350 with no taxes or fees.
Riot Fest (September 16-18)
Chicago’s major summer music festivals will be crowned by Riot Fest in Douglass Park. Headliners for the weekend include My Chemical Romance, The Original Misfits and Nine Inch Nails.
My Chemical Romance announced their reunion three years ago after disbanding in 2013. While the COVID-19 pandemic derailed many of their plans, 2022 saw them release single ‘The Foundations of Decay’ and return on the scene.
Although their most popular album ‘The Black Parade’ turned 16 in October, some fans are just as excited to see Gerard Way and his bandmates perform.
The bleachers can also be seen this Friday with their Grammy-winning frontman Jack Antonoff. This performance follows their tour and the release of their third studio album “Take the Sadness Out of Saturday Night”.
The Original Misfits are Saturday’s main draw, as members Glenn Danzig, Jerry Only and Doyle Wolfgang von Frankenstein will once again perform together. These three have been playing together since 2016 after years of tumultuous group drama. They will perform their album “Walk Among Us” in its entirety in honor of his 40th anniversary.
Nine Inch Nails, 2020 Rock & Roll Hall of Fame inductee and Sunday headliner, finally arrives on the Riot Fest stage after canceling all shows last year due to COVID-19
PVRIS has evolved over the years to give a more pop energy to its hard-rock persona. Certain to perform many songs from their latest album of 2020 “Use Me”, Riot Fest crowds will be able to see Lynn Gunn in their first Riot Fest since 2019 on Sunday.
Tickets are on sale now, with three-day passes available for $299 and one-day passes for $99 without taxes or fees.
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