Chicago’s 2024 Summer of Sound: Windy City Music Festival Guide 

The events will bring both the biggest names and most prominent rising stars to the stage and the city.

This year, ‘The Windy City’ will gust in music and tourists aplenty with the hot summer breeze.

Concert festivals Pitchfork, Lollapalooza and RiotLand will each take hold of Chicago between July and September. The ensuing events will bring both the biggest names and most prominent rising stars to the stage and the city.

Pitchfork: Friday-Sunday, July 19-21

Every summer, Union Park hosts the Pitchfork Music Festival, a three-day display of the hottest acts in alternative music and hip hop. This year’s lineup is sure to light up the weekend of July 19-21.

Electronic duo 100 gecs will inject Friday’s lineup with their signature hyperpop style and heart-pumping beats. Formed by Laura Les and Dylan Brady, the band rose prominence with their 2019 album “1000 gecs,” a brief collection bursting with energy. Their most recent release, 2023’s “10,000 gecs,” amped up the alt-rock influences while maintaining exhilarating instrumentals.

Sudan Archives, performing the same time as 100 gecs, will take the stage equipped with an unexpected instrument for electronic musicians — a violin. Her critically-acclaimed work is layered with emotion and innovation, resulting in a haunting yet heavenly sound.

Hip hop group De La Soul will inject Saturday evening with an inventive, jazzy touch. The ensemble is notable for their Grammy-winning collaboration on the single “Feel Good Inc.” with alternative icon Gorillaz and recently celebrated the 35th anniversary of their debut album “3 Feet High and Rising.”

Carly Rae Jepsen, pop icon known for “Call Me Maybe” and “Run Away With Me,” holds the headline spot for Saturday night. Her sensitive but soaring voice and cult following have cemented her place among pop music’s highest ranks.

Rap legend Grandmaster Flash will appear Sunday evening. His decades-long career and inventive techniques transformed the field of DJing. His eponymous hip hop group, Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five, was the first rap group inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Wrapping up the weekend on Sunday is indie pop band MUNA. Their appearance at Pitchfork will mark a turn from their 2016 and 2022 performances at the more mainstream Lollapalooza.

Beyond music, attendees can explore the festival’s craft fair, vinyl shop and food from local vendors, according to Pitchfork’s website.

One-day tickets and three-day tickets are available on the festival’s website for $129 and $249. 

Lollapalooza: Thursday-Sunday, August 1-4 

With eight stages, over 170 artists and just four days to fit everything in, Lollapalooza is extraordinarily exceptional, just as its name suggests.

Due to the large number of shows, many artists perform at the same time as others, just on a different stage. The two headliners for each evening perform simultaneously, split between the Bud Light and T-Mobile stages. 

Taking place in Grant Park, this year’s lineup features artists representing a wide array of genres, including K-pop, hip-hop and rock.

Irish singer-songwriter Hozier will headline the festival’s first day. Lollapalooza will be his Chicago pit stop while on a world tour for his 2023 album “Unreal Unearth,” which secured a spot in the Rolling Stone’s “The 100 Best Albums of 2023.”

Contrasting Hozier’s bluesy tunes on night one will be rapper Megan Thee Stallion, who will perform on Lollapalooza’s T-Mobile stage.

Another notable Thursday performer is pop artist Chappell Roan. Roan has recently skyrocketed to fame with songs like “Good Luck, Babe!” and “HOT TO GO!” She’ll take on Lollapalooza’s IHG stage as America’s “Midwest Princess.

Headlining the second night will be K-pop group Stray Kids and R&B pop artist SZA. Stray Kids will be making their Lollapalooza Chicago debut on Friday, having performed at Lollapalooza Paris last year. 

Also performing on Friday is Mckenna Grace, a 17-year-old best known for her acting in movies such as “Gifted” and “I, Tonya.” Grace is an alternative pop singer and released her debut album “Bittersweet 16” in 2023.

The Killers — most famous for their song “Mr. Brightside,” which has over two billion streams on Spotify — will be headlining Saturday..

Future and Metro Boomin also headline the Saturday lineup together. The hip-hop-rap duo will likely perform songs from their 2024 collaborative albums “WE DON’T TRUST YOU” and “WE STILL DON’T TRUST YOU.”

Special guest Skrillex is also set to perform Saturday night, possibly on Perry’s stage — although that stage’s lineup remains hidden behind question marks on Lollapalooza’s Saturday schedule. The start time for Skrillex’s show is unknown. 

Lollapalooza will strike its closing chord with alternative pop artist Melanie Martinez on the Bud Light stage, and blink-182 on the T-Mobile stage. 

blink-182 is a 1990’s rock band enjoying a 21st century comeback with their album “ONE MORE TIME,” released last October.

One-day general admission tickets for Sunday can be purchased for $149. Currently, four-day passes and one-day passes for Thursday, Friday and Saturday are sold out. Waitlists are available for sold-out tickets. All passes are listed on Lollapalooza’s website.

RiotLand: Friday-Sunday, September 20-22 

RiotLand, formerly known as “Riot Fest,” is changing both its name and venue this year. Chicago’s Douglass Park, on the city’s West Side between Pilsen and Lawndale, has been home to the punk-rock spectacle since 2015. However, this year’s event will instead be hosted in SeatGeek Stadium, located in Bridgeview, a southwest suburb.

Festival co-founder Mike Petryshyn credited the switch to the Chicago Park District’s “lack of care for the community,” in a notice posted on X. Prior to the change, Douglas Park residents retained a contentious relationship to the festival due to its Riot-ous nature.

Community groups clashed with festival organizers, arguing the event barred residents from public spaces, blocked traffic and disturbed patients at nearby hospitals, The Chicago Sun-Times reported.

Illustrated by the festival’s promotional material, RiotLand aims to evolve the event into a theme park of rock entertainment.

Carnival showcase and Riot Fest staple, Hellzapoppin Circus Sideshow will return after a six-year absence to display stunt performances and magic shows. Additional venues will include a casino, arcade, ferris wheel and local vendors who’ll provide food and drinks.

Over 90 bands will take the stage for the three-day festival, spanning genres from alternative rock, heavy metal, hip hop and reggae.

Fall Out Boy will take center stage Friday, falling in the middle of “The So Much for (2our) Dust” tour coinciding with their recent “So Much (for) Stardust” album. Their newest LP ended the band’s hiatus which dated back to 2019 and marked a return to their grunge-rock roots.

For Saturday, singer-songwriter Beck will headline as part of his ongoing 2024 junket. 90’s alternative staple Pavement will follow for a consecutive set, ending their international reunion tour which began in 2022.

Thrash legends Slayer will close the festival on Sunday, reuniting after an abrupt 2019 break-up. RiotLand will mark an early end to their five-year retirement and kick off a brief festival stint set to conclude in October.

Filling out the lineup are indie-rock icons St. Vincent, The Offspring, Sublime and Spoon. Other names of note include hip hop royalty Public Enemy, filmmaker and metal musician Rob Zombie and sons of the late Bob Marley, The Marley Brothers.

Current tickets on sale include two-day passes for $190 and three-day passes for $250 available through the festival website. Parking passes will be sold separately. Further details on day schedules will be released closer to the festival dates.

This story was written by Brendan Parr, Mao Reynolds and Cate Meyer.

Featured image by Violet Miller | The Phoenix

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