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17 Our Favorite Events In Chicago This Weekend

By Michelle Meywes Kopeny in Arts & Entertainment on Jun 9, 2017 2:28PM

Jay Pritzker Pavilion image courtesy of DCASE.

Summertime Blues? Only if you're talking about Blues Fest downtown in Millennium Park. Along with Green Music Fest, Spring Awakening, Old Town Art Fair and more, there's plenty to keep us happy this weekend.


BLUES FEST: Blues Fest is a staple of Chicago summers, and this year is the 34th annual festival downtown in Millennium Park. This year celebrates the influence of urban blues on rock, R&B and hip-hop with three days of live music that includes Rhymefest, Gary Clark Jr. and Billy Branch and the Sons of Blues. Performances take place day and night on four stages, including the Jay Pritzker Pavilion. Free.

SPRING AWAKENING: Spring Awakening, Chicago’s all-electronic music festival is back for year six at Adams-Medill Park. The stacked three-day lineup includes headliners Armin van Buuren, Axwell ^ Ingrosso, Datisk, Galantis and Diplo. Tickets start at $79 for a single day pass.

MIDSOMMARFEST: The annual Andersonville street fest, Midsommarfest, spans the weekend on Clark Street with live music, dance troupes, vendors, kids’ entertainment, eats and more. Local shops and restaurants get in on the action, too with specials and sales. The Chicago Equality Rally will be held in conjunction with the fest on Sunday at 11 a.m. in solidarity with the National Equality March on Washington D.C. Entry is a $10 gate donation.

Image via Ribfest's Facebook page.

RIBFEST: Northcenter’s Ribfest is known for two things: ribs and a kickass music lineup. Check out headliners Magic Giant, Diane Coffee and Grizfolk during the three-day street fest, and of course don’t miss Ribmania VIII. Entry is a $5 suggested donation at the gate.

PROLOGUE PARTY: Rub shoulders at a literary cocktail party at the American Writers Museum at 7 p.m. The annual Prologue fundraiser supports 826CHI, a local non-profit youth creative writing center, and serves to kick off Printers Row Lit Fest. Writer Kevin Coval (founder of Louder Than A Bomb: The Chicago Youth Poetry Festival, artistic director of Young Chicago Authors, and author of poetry collection A People’s History of Chicago) will be the evening’s guest speaker. Tickets are $85.

LIZZO RULES: Born in Houston but based in Minneapolis, Lizzo got her start in a couple female-led hip-hop collectives including Chalice and Grrl Party, before making the decision to go solo. She made her mark with 2013's Lizzobangers and 2015's Big Grrrl Small World, two albums filled with ferocious rhymes and big beats. The tenor of both of those albums can feel dark and threatening at times, but on stage the songs are transformed into boisterous blasts of life-affirming anthems. She swaggers and bounces through songs that let everyone know Lizzo is in charge. Watch Lizzo take control of The Metro on Friday night.


Wells Street Art Fest. Image courtesy of Special Events Management.

OLD TOWN ART FAIR + WELLS STREET ART FEST: Old Town Art Fair and Wells Street Art Festival have rocked the neighborhood on the same summer weekend for years. Split by North Avenue, Wells Street's has traditionally been the rowdier of the two, but both festivals showcase hundreds of juried artists, with art for sale alongside live music and family fun. Gate donation for Wells Street Art Fest is $7 and Old Town Art Fair is $10.

ROCK N ROLL MARKET: Our friends over at Do312 present their 3rd annual Rock n Roll Market at East Room from noon to 7 p.m. The indoor/outdoor event features local vendors, local eats and live music from the likes of White Mystery, Easy Habits, Yoko and the Oh No's, The Evictions, and Flesh Panthers. All the bands are worth checking out, but definitely do not miss White Mystery, whose latest album F.Y.M.S. sees the band continuing to expand their roots and sharpen their songwriting far beyond their early garage band days. Drink specials from Deep Eddy all day. Free with RSVP.

Image courtesy of Green Music Fest.

GREEN MUSIC FEST: Wicker Park gets it’s own street fest this weekend with the environmentally conscious Green Music Fest. Since it’s debut nine years ago, they’ve had a remarkable live band lineup, and this year holds up with JD McPherson, Lucero and July Talk headlining. The pedal-powered stage is just one of the many “green” elements of the festival, where attendees pedal stationary bicycles to power amps, guitars, spotlights and more. Admission is a $10 suggested donation.

PRINTERS ROW LIT FEST: Book lovers will find themselves at one of the Printers Row Lit Fest events this weekend. The two-day showcase takes place at several different venues with a variety of different authors appearing for talks. Just some of the stand out names this year are NBA icon Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Senator Al Franken and Golden Globe-winning actor Stacy Keach. Most events are free, but some do require a ticket purchase. Visit the festival website for more information.

Image via CAKE's Facebook page.

CHICAGO ALTERNATIVE COMICS EXPO: The 6th Annual Chicago Alternative Comics Expo is here. Taking place at Center on Halsted from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday, CAKE is a celebration of independent comics, small presses, publishers and readers. The free event features comics for sale, workshops, exhibitions, panel discussions and more.

FOOD TRUCK SOCIAL: 5411 Empanadas, Beavers Coffee & Donuts and Tamale Spaceship are just a few of the food trucks participating in the Pilsen Food Truck Social this weekend. A live music lineup programmed by Empty Bottle Presents features bands like Sonorama and Escort on the stage outside Thalia Hall. Admission is a $5 optional donation. Sampler tickets are $20.

Image via JW Marriott's event website.

FREE JOGA: Saturday is Global Wellness Day and you can get in on some free fitness with the JW Fit Squad. JW Marriott is offering a complimentary Joga session at 10 a.m. What is Joga, you ask? Well, it’s a practice designed specifically for athletes and athletic movements focused on enhancing understanding of body mechanics. The class will be led by National Fitness Champion and American Gladiators competitor Beth Horn. Register here.

WORLD NAKED BIKE RIDE: The World Naked Bike Ride promotes environmentalism, because of course it does. Whether you join in the parade of bikes or just cheer as the nudity and body paint goes by, find more details on the local ride’s Facebook page. Riders will gather around 8 p.m. and ride into the night.


Image via bellyQ's Facebook page.

BELLYQ BACKYARD BBQ: bellyQ’s Backyard BBQ Series is back for another year. Chef Bill Kim will partner with other local chefs to create their take on summer barbecue once a month. The season kicks off this Sunday from 1 to 4 p.m. with Chef Cameron Waron of Honey Butter Fried Chicken, Chef Cedric Harden of River Roast, Chef Will Bravo of Xoco, and Chef Sarah Maun of urbanbelly Wicker Park. Tickets are $45 and include two drink tickets.

CHICAGO VS NEW YORK CITY: Chicago Athletic Association’s Storytelling Series continues with "Chicago vs. New York City" at 11 a.m. in The Tank. The popular New York City-based event, “3-Minute Stories,” brings a dynamic panel of storytellers including journalist and essayist Britt Julious, author Megan Stielstra, writer and professor Adam Morgan and more. Entry is free, but registration is recommended.

STANDUP SHOWCASE: NBC is on the hunt for their next StandUp NBC champ and their nation wide search brings them to Chicago this weekend. Open calls are on Saturday, and the the best comedians will appear in Sunday’s showcase at 7 p.m. Comedian Aisha Alfa hosts while last year’s StandUp NBC winner JR De Guzman will close the evening. Tickets are $17.