July is the high point for outdoor concerts in the greater Chicago area: the Pitchfork Music Festival takes place in Union Park the weekend of July 15-17; Lollapalooza will occupy Grant Park two weeks later, on July 28-31; and the Ravinia Festival, in Highland Park, has something going on almost every night of this month and the next (the festival runs though Sept. 11). But how to tell them apart? Which one would be best for you? The correct answer, obviously, is, “All of them!” But if you’re planning a trip to Chicago and need to know which week to aim for, read on.
Should you go to the Pitchfork Music Festival?
If you’re a millennial, you don’t need us to remind you that Pitchfork is the go-to online guide to indie, hip-hop, and underground music. Have you been crying along with Sufjan Stevens’ banjo on his latest album, Carrie & Lowell? Were you intrigued by BJ the Chicago Kid’s vocals on the Mission: Impossible III soundtrack? Have you been impatiently awaiting the return of Broken Social Scene? Pitchfork’s for you.
Photo Courtesy of Matt Lief Anderson
Should you go to Lollapalooza?
Are you comfortable in big, big crowds? Do you go for big, big headliners like Lana Del Rey, LCD Soundsystem, the Red Hot Chili Peppers, and Radiohead? Then our prescription is a dose of Lolla. Also, you can combine your concert-going with visiting such marquee sights as Millennium Park, the Art Institute, and the Field Museum.
Photo Courtesy of Shea Flynn
Should you go to Ravinia?
Are you a member of Gen X? Have you been missing Duran Duran, Diana Ross, and the Steve Miller Band? Do you like a little classical mixed into your musical diet—Beethoven’s Fifth, perhaps, or Schubert’s final sonata? If so, it’s a short Metra train ride to the suburbs for you—pack a picnic, or pull together one at Ravinia’s in-park market.
Photo Courtesy of Ravinia Festival