Below you will find Indie on the Move's compiled listing of annual music festivals and conferences in the state of Illinois, helping bands and musicians increase their industry knowledge, broaden their networking reach, and better promote and showcase their music, shows, and tours.
From Lollapalooza to Tomorrow Never Knows Festival, we did our best to include a thorough and comprehensive index, but if for some reason we've overlooked a specific event, please let us know through the contact page located HERE so that we can add it to the site ASAP.
With regards to any larger festivals, be sure to think outside of the box. While many of them do not regularly book independent acts as part of their official showcases, the national and international bands that do perform often draw some of the biggest built-in crowds imaginable, and provide a huge influx of music lovers and enthusiasts to each respective event location.
So try booking a show at one or several of that city's smaller local venues/bars/restaurants during the festival itself and take advantage of the vast number of music fans located in one place at one time. Even playing an ad-lib acoustic set in the event parking lot can go a long way in gaining you new fans and selling some merch.
-Full Terror Assault Open Air Festival - Dates: Late August
"Three(3) days of all things metal on 3 stages with bands representing all genres of music including grind core, death metal, punk, hardcore, thrash, shock rock, black metal and anything with attitude. If that isn’t enough FTA will have contests, vendors, an outdoor movie theatre, a zip line and dj after parties to keep the party going all night. This event is designed to bring bands, vendors, and fans together for a celebration of extreme music without breaking your wallet." - Submit to Perform
-Pygmalion Music Festival - Dates: Late September
-ColdWaves Festival - Dates: Late September
-Glenwood Avenue Arts Festival - Dates: Mid August
"The Glenwood Avenue Arts Fest (GAAF) is a free, weekend-long arts festival that features 100+ artists, open studios, and live entertainment on three outdoor stages. Experience art of all disciplines, music, theater, food and drink on the cobblestone streets of the Glenwood Avenue Arts District in Chicago’s historic Rogers Park neighborhood." - Submit to Perform
-Jeff Fest - Dates: Late July
"Jeff Fest has become one of Chicago’s most highly anticipated music festivals of the summer. Cutting edge local and national acts fill out a jam-packed weekend. There’s something for everyone, every genre."
-Lollapalooza - Dates: Early August
"It's hard to believe it's been twenty years since Lollapalooza first took the stage with amplifiers cranked to eleven. From the early days when flannel-clad grunge rockers cleared out mosh pits for bands like Soundgarden and Pearl Jam to the present, when Arcade Fire and Kanye West draw gigantic crowds of all ages, the festival has taken on a life of its own, infused with the incredible energy of fans and the artists that rock them."
-North Coast Music Festival - Dates: Late August and early September
-Pitchfork Music Festival - Dates: Late July
-Riot Fest - Dates: Mid September
"In 2005, Riot Fest booked a multi-venue weekend of punk and rock in Chicago with bands such as Dead Kennedys, The Misfits, and The Bouncing Souls kicking things off. We even had ticket giveaways on our sweet Myspace page, and since then have been working hard every year to bring you the best fest we can." - Submit to Perform
-Taste of River North Festival - Dates: Mid July
-Tomorrow Never Knows Festival - Dates: Mid January
-World Music Festival - Dates: Mid September
"Presented by the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE), the city-wide, multi-venue, eight-day World Music Festival features acclaimed musicians from countries around the world. Featuring traditional and contemporary music from diverse cultures." - Submit to Perform
-Summer Camp Music Festival - Dates: Late May
-Champaign-Urbana Folk & Roots Festival - Dates: Early November
"The Champaign-Urbana Folk and Roots Festival is an all-volunteer-run, grassroots festival that brings together national, regional and local artists and folk organizations for over 80 high-quality folk performances and participatory activities throughout downtown Urbana. The festival includes performances, dances, instructional sessions, jams, song-circles, family activities, storytelling, instrument-making and much, much more! The festival has a particular interest in evolving and unique forms of folk music and art, especially forms that break down barriers between audience and performers, while also providing the occasion to preserve local traditions and histories." - Submit to Perform