Music festival season never really ends in Chicago. The city keeps rocking long after Labor Day and even into the winter. Featuring artists ranging from Congolese DIY musicians to Blink-182, these events make the most of fall in Chicago.
Throwback Music Festival
This Gladstone Park neighborhood music fest fully embraces nostalgia. Twist and shout or bang your head with a weekend lineup of retro music acts from the 1950s through the ’80s. With bands covering Prince, Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons, Queen, and Chicago, there’s something for every generation to groove to.
Details: September 7 and 8 at Gladstone Park; $5 donation
Festival de la Villita
Celebrate Mexican Independence Day with one of the largest festivals of Mexican culture in the Midwest. The Little Village Festival takes over 26th Street with food, a parade, and more for its 30th anniversary. The music lineup ranges from DJs to mariachi and folk music, including cumbia artist Julio Cortez, “techno band” Adaptivo 16, and Colombian cumbia veterans Sonora Tropicana.
Details: September 6–8 at 26th Street and Kostner Avenue; free
World Music Festival
The 21st annual World Music Festival Chicago features 50 artists representing more than 20 countries and regions. The event is spread across the city at a variety of venues. Stay up all night at the Chicago Cultural Center with the Ragmala, a traditional Indian classical concert rarely held in the U.S. Meanwhile, ¡Súbelo!—A Celebration of Pan-Latin Music and Culture brings musicians from Peru, Puerto Rico, and Mexico to the Jay Pritzker Pavilion. Other highlights include the Chinese ska band Mabang and the Congolese collective Kokoko, which creates DIY electronic music by upcycling cans and containers into instruments.
Details: September 13–29, various venues; free
Break out your safety pins and start sculpting your mohawk, because Chicago’s premiere punk-rock festival is here. The three-day carnival brings together punk, rock, and hip-hop artists for a raucous weekend of moshing and head banging. Blink-182, Bikini Kill, Slayer, Patti Smith, Jawbreaker, and the Flaming Lips are just a taste of the festival’s 15th anniversary lineup.
Details: September 13–15 at Douglas Park; $49.98–$1,499.98
312 Block Party
Soak in the September sunlight with a block party at Goose Island and a solid music lineup. Enjoy food trucks and $3 beers while listening to the indie rock sounds of singer-songwriters Jenny Lewis and Margo Price on Friday. Then welcome the first day of fall on Saturday with psych rocker Kurt Vile and D.C. punk rockers Priests.
Details: September 20 and 21 at Goose Island Taproom; $10 charity donation
Hyde Park Jazz Festival
The 12th annual Hyde Park Jazz Festival celebrates the culture of the South Side through the medium of jazz. The music spans 14 venues, including the Logan Center, Oriental Institute, Midway Plaisance, and the historic Rockefeller Chapel. Don’t miss Angel Bat Dawid’s Requiem for Jazz funeral mass; saxophonist Isaiah Collier’s commentary on the African diaspora, The Story of 400 Years; and the closing set by local trumpeter Pharez Whitted.
Details: September 28 and 29, various venues; $5 donation
Inherit Chicago is a monthlong cultural festival taking place across 41 neighborhood heritage institutions. Music is just one facet of the intercultural event, which aims to highlight Chicago’s diversity. Featured musical performances include a concert fusing classical music and Latin rhythms starring violinist Aisha Syed-Castro; a traditional Cambodian performance; an open mic highlighting the Afro-Puerto Rican and Muslim-American communities’ resilience; and a celebration of Native American, Korean, and Japanese drumming traditions.
Details: September 29–October 26, various venues; free–$45
Revolution Brewing and the Empty Bottle join forces to bring Oktoberfest to the streets for this weekend festival. Rock out on Metal Friday to the likes of Pallbearer, Bongripper, and Oregon doom metal band Yob. Catch local indie rock trio Dehd on Saturday, along with Tuareg guitarist Mdou Moctar and garage rock headliners Parquet Courts.
Details: September 27 and 28 at Revolution Brewing