Must-See Music Festivals in the Midwest

By Brendan MaGee on April 4, 2015

Do you love nothing more than being surrounded by thousands of dancing and sweaty people? Do you want to spend your summer listening to music outdoors, but don’t want to leave the comfort of your own backyard to do so? If you answered yes to any of those questions, then do I have a list for you!

The Midwest is home to some spectacular music festivals that are often overlooked. This year especially is an AMAZING year for music in the heartland and there are a lot of great festivals for you to check out without having to leave the midwest!

May I present you the essential list to summer music festivals in the Midwest:

Hinterland Music Festival, July 31-August 1, Des Moines, IA:

This is the newest music festival to hit the growing Des Moines music scene. Hinterland, the German word meaning, “the land behind a river. The rural area near a city. A backwater.” Will take place this summer in Water Works Park in Des Moines, Iowa. This newly founded music festival is featuring acts such as Old Crow Medicine Show, Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros, and Brandi Carlile! And that’s just to name a few! This new music festival is setting out to have a big turnout since the festival announced they have received ticket purchases from all over the country! VIP passes are currently sold out but there are still two-day passes available so make sure to buy yours here, before it’s too late!

Find the full lineup here:

Pitchfork Music Festival, July 17-19, Chicago, IL:

When you think of summer music festivals in the Midwest the first one that comes to most minds is Lollapalooza but one Chicago music festival that’s often overlooked is Pitchfork Music Festival! An essential to any  major indie music lover! This year will be the festival’s 10th year of brining international acts to Chicago’s Union Park. Put together by the online publication Pitchfork Media, this year’s festival will be headlined by chicago-natives, Wilco and Chance the Rapper but also by the recently returned Sleater-Kinney! Three-day passes for this festival are $150 while individual tickets are $65 a piece. Buy yours here!

Find the full lineup here:

Lollapalooza, July 31-August 2, Chicago, IL:

Conceived and created in 1991 by Jane’s Addiction singer Perry Farrell, this music festival is a must attend to any die-hard festival lover. Brining more than 160,000 people over a three-day period to the Chicago area, which is understandable considering this year’s headliners will be non other then Paul McCartney, Metallica, and Florence + The Machine! With a lineup like that it doesn’t take much to explain why this music festival is an essential to any festival lover. Hopefully you’re one of the lucky one’s who has already purchased their tickets to this year’s festival because tickets are sold out!

Find the full lineup here:

80/35, July 10-11, Des Moines, IA:

Des Moines/Iowan natives know the beauty that is 80/35. Named after the intersection of the two prominent interstates that meet in Des Moines, (I-80 and I-35 if you couldn’t guess). This festival brings a mixture of local and regional acts to the growing Des Moines metro area. Though the lineup for this year’s festival has yet to be announced previous acts have ranged from The Flaming Lips to Wu Tang Clan to David Byrne & St. Vincent. If you hurry you can buy discounted tickets here before the lineup is announced on Tuesday, April 7.

For clues at this years lineup:

Gentlemen of the Road, June 19-20, Waverly, IA:

Iowa is looking to be an amazing place for music this summer, the band Mumford & Sons will bring their Gentlemen of the Road Stopover to Waverly, Iowa this summer in June. Since 2012, Mumford & Sons have brought Stopover’s into small gems of cities throughout the world. The purpose of these festivals is to bring a sense of community celebration with the energy of major music festival. The festival will be featuring acts such as My Morning Jacket, Mumford & Sons and The Flaming Lips amongst others. Only two-day passes are available for purchase starting at $199. Buy those here!

Find the full lineup here:

Summerfest, June 23-28/June 30-July 5, Milwaukee, WI:

There’s a reason why this music festival claims the title as the “World’s Largest Music Festival”, holding over 800 acts and 1,000 performances on 11 stages across 11 days this music festival is one to be reckoned with. This year the festival will host everyone from The Rolling Stones to Florida Georgia Line to Paris Hilton (that’s hot)! Unfortunately tickets to the headlining acts are sold separately, but general admission tickets will only cost you anywhere from $19-70!

Find the full lineup here:

Hi there! I'm a first-year student majoring in journalism at the University of Iowa.

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