Short Drive Music Festivals 2018

V1 Staff

Sylvan Esso
Sylvan Esso


June 21-July 1 & July 3-8 • Henry Maier Festival Park, Milwaukee • • Billed as the “World’s Largest Music Festival,” the iconic Summerfest boasts an incredible lineup of top-notch headliners featuring James Taylor, Imagine Dragons, Halsey, Logic, Florida Georgia Line, J. Cole, Dave Matthews Band, Journey, Charli XCX, Arcade Fire, The Weeknd, and many, many more. 

Rock the Garden

June 16 • Walker Arts Center, Minneapolis • • Held at the beautiful and newly renovated Walker Arts Center, this one-day festival has a killer lineup with performances by Father John Misty, Feist, Kamasi Washington, P.O.S., Chastity Brown, and U.S. Girls. 

Pitchfork Music Festival

July 20-22 • Union Park, Chicago • • A music festival in Chicago hosted by the Pitchfork music publication. Includes performances by Tame Impala, Courtney Barnett, Earl Sweatshirt, Syd, Fleet Foxes, The War on Drugs, Moses Sumney, Blood Orange, Kelela, and D.R.A.M., plus the legendary Lauryn Hill will perform her album The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill in its entirety for the record’s 20th anniversary. 

Mile of Music

Aug. 2-5 • Appleton • • The 6th coming of Appleton’s downtown music festival includes 900 live musical sets, 70 venues, all in 1 mile of great music. There’s a whole mile of safe, walkable, no-cover charge events to explore. All original music from various genres like indie rock, country, soul, R&B, jazz, folk, and more. Plus check out craft shops, restaurants, and cafes.


Aug. 2-5 • Grant Park, Chicago • • One of the country’s biggest music festivals, Lollapalooza has been serving up great talent since ’91. Performances by Bruno Mars, The Weeknd, Arctic Monkeys, The National, Post Malone, Tyler The Creator, BROCKHAMPTON, Vampire Weekend, St. Vincent, Jack White, and Lil Uzi Vert. Also features Chowtown, serving up the best of Chicago’s local restaurants and eateries for festival-goers to enjoy.

Surly Brewing Festival Field

June 30, July 20-21 • Surly Brewing, Minneapolis • • For the last two summers, Twin Cities brewing giant Surly has teamed up with First Ave. for a handful of truly cool shows in the festival field at their brewing headquarters. On June 30, Spoon and Grizzly Bear will perform, July 20 brings Sylvan Esso and Collections of Colonies of Bees, and on July 21 Courtney Barnett will headline alongside Julien Baker and Lucy Dacus.

Basilica Block Party

July 6-7 • The Basilica of Saint Mary, Minneapolis • • The gorgeous Twin Cities staple the Basilica of Saint Mary is the backdrop for a two-day festival that brings a fresh mix of indie artists to Minneapolis. This year, across three stages, the Basilica Block Party welcomes the likes of Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit, Cake, BØRNS, Third Eye Blind, Fitz and the Tantrums, and more.

North Coast Music Festival

Aug. 31-Sept. 2 • Union Park, Chicago • • As summer months start to wind down, Chicago’s North Coast festival aims to ramp it up again. The hip-hop festival brings some seriously buzzworthy names to the Windy City, including Miguel, Dvsn, Smokepurpp, Vulfpeck, Cashmere Cat, Jamiroquai, Gramatik, Mura Masa, and Monte Booker.

Bayfront Blues Fest

Aug. 10-12 • Bayfront Festival Park, Duluth • • For the last 30 summers, 20,000 blues fans have flocked to Duluth for the Bayfront Blues Fest, which brings some notable blues players from all over the country to do their thing on the shores of Lake Superior.