MidwestWeekends.com — Your Travel Guide to the Upper Midwest

Music festivals 2014


  • (May 17 – 24)North Country Dylan Celebration

    Duluth, MN

    The town in which Bob Dylan was born celebrates with a musical salute, art exhibit, poetry showcase, singer-songwriter contest, bus tour and Blood on the Tracks Express rolling musical revue.



  • (May 23 – 26)Chicago Gaelic Park Irish Festival

    Oak Forest, IL

    In this west Chicago suburb, there's lots of music, plus a petting zoo, hurling, theater, Irish dog and pony exhibits and red hair, freckle and bonnie baby contests.

  • (May 29 – Jun 1)Bluegrass Festival

    Niles, MI

    Listen to American roots music on two stages along the banks of the St. Joseph River.


  • (Jun 27 – 29)Cedar Basin Jazz Festival

    Cedar Falls, IA

    There's 42 hours of free entertainment in Sturgis Park, including a Sunday morning gospel set and a jazz brunch.

  • (Jun 27 – 28)Blues on the Fox

    Aurora, IL

    Blues artists perform at the festival grounds on the Fox River, in the town where Chicago blues musicians recorded for RCA's Bluebird label in the 1930s.

  • (Jun 28)Yellow River Folk Music Festival

    Danbury, WI

    The Okee Dokee Brothers and Monroe Crossing are among the musicians playing at Forts Folle Avoine, a re-created fur-trade post on the Yellow River.


  • (Jul 3 – 5)Mississippi Valley Blues Festival

    Davenport, IA

    In LeClaire Park on the river, blues musicians celebrate the music that traveled up the Mississippi.

  • (Jul 3 – 5)Iowa City Jazz Festival

    Iowa City, IA

    This downtown festival features a Culinary Row, Fun Zone for kids and Sunday fireworks in addition to music.

  • (Jul 11 – 13)Blissfest

    Cross Village, MI

    This family-friendly folk and roots festival on a farm includes reggae, country, zydeco, jazz and Celtic music on three stages and four workshop areas. There's also a juried arts and crafts fair. Rustic camping is available.

  • (Jul 11 – 13)Square Roots Festival

    Chicago, IL

    The Old Town School of Folk Music presents this Lincoln Square festival, which includes more than 60 acts on four stages plus 30 local and regional craft beers and food from neighborhood restaurants.

  • (Jul 31 – Aug 3)Bix Beiderbecke Memorial Jazz Festival

    Davenport, IA

    Since 1972, fans of this Jazz Age cornetist and composer have held this festival in his hometown on the Mississippi.


  • (Aug. 1 – 2)Howling Moon Music Festival

    Duluth, MN

    This new rock and roots festival in Bayfront Festival Park features Brandi Carlile, the Guess Who, the Big Wu, Nicholas David, the BoDeans and more. Tickets are half-price through May 31.

    Part of the proceeds benefit the St. Louis River Alliance and the Minnesota chapter of the Multiple Sclerosis Society.

  • (Aug. 8 – 10)Live From the Rock

    Red Rock, ON

    This folk festival is on the shores of Lake Superior, east of Thunder Bay near Nipigon. Camping is on-site.

  • (Aug. 30 – 31)Marquette Area Blues Fest

    Marquette, MI

    Two days of music in Mattson Lower Harbor Park on Lake Superior.

  • (Aug. 31 – Sep 1)Fox Valley Folk Music & Storytelling Festival

    Geneva, IL

    Musicians and storytellers perform on eight stages at this festival in Island Park on the Fox River.


  • (Sep. 5 – 6)Paramount Blues Festival

    Grafton, WI

    This town on the Ozaukee Interurban Trail, between Cedarburg and Port Washington, holds a place on the Mississippi Blues Trail along with Chicago, Memphis and Clarksdale, Miss. From 1929 to 1932, a Paramount recording studio here produced a quarter of the nation's blues, jazz, and gospel music, or "race records.''

    The festival is held in Lime Kiln Park. VIP passes are popular; buy early.

  • (Sep. 12 – 14)Riot Fest

    Chicago, IL

    The Cure, Jane's Addiction and Weezer are among the headliners in this Humboldt Park festival.

  • (Sep. 13)Rock the Green

    Milwaukee, WI

    This "near-zero waste'' music festival in Veterans Park on the lakefront features six bands.

  • (Sep. 27 – 28)Hyde Park Jazz Festival

    Chicago, IL

    Listen to non-stop music during this free festival at Midway Plaisance, near the Museum of Science and Industry and Lake Michigan.