Improving coronavirus numbers have made more summer events possible. Here’s the latest updates on this year’s changing entertainment landscape.
With coronavirus case numbers and positivity rates on the decline, the summer festival season in Chicago is in much better shape than last year.
The city has given the green light for festivals and “general admission outdoor spectator events” to welcome 15 people for every 1,000 square feet.
The city has debated various ways bolster vaccination rates among young people most likely to attend outdoor music events like Lollapalooza and Riot Fest. Mayor Lori Lightfoot said a proposal to create a coronavirus vaccine passport for Chicago events is “very much a work in progress” but that preferred seating at those events could be one way to urge vaccination.
Some festivals have already announced their return and concerts are starting to be rescheduled.
We’re tracking the status of the city’s festival and major events throughout the area as new cancellations and postponements are announced. Check back for more updates.
- Navy Pier Fireworks: The Pier is hosting a 10-minute fireworks show every Saturday in May at 9:00 p.m.
- Manifest Urban Arts Festival: Columbia College Chicago’s student driven event that showcases graduating student work. May 10-14.
- For the Love of Chocolate: Long Grove, demonstrations, classes, presentations, experiences, vendors, chocolatiers, entertainment and so much more. Advanced online registration is required, May 14-16.
- Hot Stove Cool Music virtual music festival, benefits the Foundation To Be Named Later, which was co-founded by former Cubs president Theo Epstein. Eddie Vedder headlines. May 18.
- Mayfest: Armitage Ave. at Sheffield Ave. in Lincoln Park, May 21 – 23.
- Pivot Arts Festival: Reimagining Utopia – A Performance Tour: Live, a multi-arts experience featuring world premieres in theatre, dance, video, music and puppetry. May 21 – June 5.
- The South Side Jazz Coalition – Jazzin’ On The Steps. At St. Columbanus Catholic Church, 331 East 71st St. May 23.
- Chicago Symphony Orchestra concerts at Symphony Center, beginning May 27. Tickets will go on sale 10 a.m. May 11, at cso.org. Performances will take place over three consecutive weekends at 7:30 p.m. Thursdays, 1:30 p.m. Fridays, 7:30 p.m. Saturdays and 3 p.m. Sundays.
- “Tuesdays on the Terrace,” Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, starting June 1 and every Tuesday at 5:30 p.m. through Aug. 31.
- Old Town Art Fair, June 12-13.
- “The Obama Portraits,” Art Institute of Chicago, June 18 – Aug. 15.
- Pride in the Park, Grant Park, Headlining will be Chaka Khan, the legendary Queen of Funk; Gryffin, the self-taught prodigal producer; and Tiësto, who has been dubbed “the world’s greatest DJ.” June 26- 27.
- The Ravinia Festival announced it will reopen in July 1 for 64 concerts through Sept. 26 with a slate of outdoor concerts including a six-week residency by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. Also slated to appear are: Cynthia Erivo, Kurt Elling, Brian McKnight, Ides of March, Madeleine Peyroux, Midori, Joshua Bell, Pinchas Zukerman, the Chicago Sinfonietta and the Joffrey Ballet.
- Ribfest: Naperville/Romeoville, July 1-4.
- Grant Park Music Festival, Millennium Park. All concerts are free with reserved seats for all concertgoers and will take place Wednesday, Fridays and Saturdays at 6:30 p.m. Run time will be 90 minutes, without intermission. July 2-Aug. 21.
- African/Caribbean International Festival Of Life: Washington Park, July 2-4.
- The Windy City Smokeout, headlined by country music superstars Darius Rucker, Dierks Bentley and Jon Pardi, will return July 8-11 outside the United Center.
- The Auditorium Theatre presents “ABT Across America” featuring American Ballet Theatre, Pritzker Pavilion, Millennium Park, July 8.
- Southport Art Fair, Waveland Ave. and Southport Ave. July 10-11.
- The Chicago Loop Alliance announced plans for Sundays on State, a weekly summer street festival, which will close portions of State Street on Sundays for pedestrians starting July 11.
- Chicago Auto Show is on for July 15-19 — breathing life into McCormick Place for first time since pandemic began.
- “Toward Common Cause: Art, Social Change, and the MacArthur Fellows Program at 40,” Smart Museum of Art, July 15 – Dec. 19.
- Millennium Art Festival: Lake St. at Michigan Ave., July 16-18.
- Race to Mackinac: July 16-17.
- Chinatown Summer Fair, July 17-18.
- Belmont-Sheffield Music Fest: 3200 N. Sheffield Ave, July 17-18.
- Chicago Latin Jazz Festival, Humboldt Park boathouse, July 23-24.
- Lincoln Square Greek Fest: July 23-25 (tentative dates).
- “Planting and Maintaining a Perennial Garden: Shrouds by Faheem Majeed,” through July 24, Hyde Park Art Center.
- Lake County Fair: July 28- Aug. 1.
- Jeff Fest: Milwaukee and Lawrence Avenues, July 30-Aug. 1.
- Lollapalooza: Grant Park, July 30-Aug. 1.
- Chicago International Dragon Boat Festival, July 31.
- Dave Matthews Band tour heading to Northerly Island this summer, Aug. 6 and 7.
- Northalsted Market Days: Aug. 6-8.
- Lake County (Ind.) Fair: Crown Point, Indiana, Aug. 6-15
- Printers Row Art Fair: Dearborn St., from Harrison to Polk, Aug. 7-8.
- Retro on Roscoe: Roscoe St. & Damen Ave., Aug 13-14 (tentative dates).
- Edison Park Fest: Aug. 13-15 (tentative dates).
- Wells Street Art Festival: Aug. 14-15
- World Naked Bike Ride: 6 p.m. Aug. 16. Route to be announced.
- Ruido Fest: Addams/Medill Park, Pilsen. Aug. 20-22.
- Summer Smash: Douglass Park. Aug. 20-22.
- Taste Of Greektown: Aug. 20-22.
- Gold Coast Art Fair: Grant Park. Aug. 21-22.
- Sangria Festival: Humboldt Park, Aug. 20-21.
- Dragon Boat Races: Chinatown. Aug. 28.
- Summerfest: Milwaukee. The festival will take place over three weekends, Sept. 2-4, 9-11 and 16-18. More than 100 artists are slated to perform including Chance the Rapper, Miley Cyrus, Luke Bryan, Pixies, Rise Against, Wilco, Diplo, and Fitz and the Tantrums.
- Pitchfork Music Festival: Union Park, Sept. 10-12.
- Printers Row Lit Fest, Sept. 11-12. Headlining the festival will be National Book Award winner Ta-Nehisi Coates.
- Chicago Vegandale: Vegan Food Festival, Grant Park. Sept. 11.
- RiotFest: Douglass Park, Sept. 17-19.
- Dead & Company: Wrigley Field, Sept. 17-18
- Wright Plus Architectural Housewalk: Oak Park. Sept. 18.
- Artfest Michigan Ave.: Sept. 18-19.
- Hyde Park Jazz Festival, Sept. 25-26.
- Lyric Opera of Chicago 2021-22 season, opening night featuring an all-new production of Verdi’s Macbeth, Sept. 25.
- Chicago Wine Fest, at the Lincoln Park Zoo. Oct. 2.
- Spring Awakening/Autumn Equinox, Addams/Medill Park, Oct. 2-3.
- “Six,” Broadway In Chicago, at the Broadway Playhouse at Water Tower Place, Oct. 5, 2021 – Jan. 30, 2022.
- Lincoln Park Wine Fest, Jonquil Park, Oct. 9-10.
- Court Theatre – “Othello,” Court Theatre, opening Oct. 21.