By Mollie Olsem

The big ticket shows are well-known in Chicago: Lollapalooza, Mamby On The Beach, Pitchfork Music Festival. But behind the massive headliners and even bigger ticket prices is a lively music festival scene totally free to the public all summer long.  Looking for something to do during the beautiful Chicago summer that won’t cost a dime? Here’s a guide to some of the city’s free music festivals.

Chicago Blues Fest: For three whole days, the largest free blues festival on Earth takes place right here in Chicago and brings nationally-know musicians to the main stage. This year, headliners include Gary Clark Jr., William Bell and Che “Rhymefest” Smith.

When: Friday, June 9th – Sunday, June 11th

Where: Millenium Park

Make Music Chicago: Every year, Make Music Chicago celebrates the musician in all of us with a DIY, city-wide festival. The event is a member of the Make Music Alliance, a group of nearly 50 cities who participate in a day of music in city parks, plazas, and porches. To register to perform and get information and locations for this year’s event, click here

When: June 21st

Chicago Gospel Music Festival: During the first weekend in June, both local and international gospel musicians will take over Jay Pritzker Pavilion for three days of music, dance and worship.

When: Friday, June 2nd and Saturday, June 3rd

Where: Millenium Park

Grant Park Music Festival: Got an itch for something classical? Starting in June and running through to mid-August, the Grant Park Music Festival brings in world-class performers to Jay Pritzker Pavilion for free.

When: Wednesday, June 14th – Saturday, August 19th

Where: Millenium Park

World Music FestivalIn it’s lifetime, the World Music Festival has brought over 750 artists to Chicago from over 80 countries. This year, the city-wide, multi-venue festival is back for the month of September

When: Friday, September 8th – Sunday, September 24th

Chicago Jazz Festival: Fill your Labor Day weekend with some of Chicago’s best Jazz at the 2017 Chicago Jazz Festival. There will be free live performances by local and national jazz musicians with the beautiful backdrop of a Chicago summer.

When: Thursday August 31st – Sunday September 3rd

Where: Millenium Park


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