Some fests feel like a throwback neighborhood block party, while others feel like that two-day rager you never got invited to in college. This weekend leans more toward the hard-partying crowd as the World's Largest Block Party at Old St. Pat's—one of the biggest names in Chicago summer fests—rolls through. Feeling a bit "been there, done that?" Opt for one of the two newbies on the scene, with Wavefront Music Festival and Craft Beer Fest at St. Mike's kicking off their first year.
Old St. Pat's World's Largest Block Party
When: 5:30-10:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday
Where: Old St. Patrick's Church, entrance at Madison and Des Plaines streets
Cost: $40 in advance/$45 at gate per night for general admission; $75 for a two-day GA pass
Big bands: This fest has a reputation as a meeting ground for singles, but the biggest draw this year may be the music lineup. Crowd the stage to catch Chicago singer-songwriter Joe Pug open for Ben Folds, who plays the main stage Friday at 9 p.m. On Saturday, catch headlining band Lifehouse at 9 p.m.
Walk away rich(er): Raffles are a staple at many outdoor events, but the prizes at this bash take it to a new level. The first 1,000 people who buy a $100 ticket for the Pot o' Gold raffle have a shot at a $25,000 grand prize. Too pricey for you? Opt for a $20 book of five tickets for the Block Party Raffle, where you could win free rent for a year in Presidential Towers or roundtrip airfare for two to Ireland.
Craft Beer Fest at St. Mike's
When: 5-10 p.m. Friday, 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Saturday, 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Sunday
Where: St. Michael's, 1711 N. Cleveland Ave. in Old Town
Cost: $5 entry fee, $35-$50 for access to beer tasting tent
The basics: The organizers of this inaugural fest are aiming for the feel of a Belgian beer fest in Chicago, but there will also be food, music and arts booths. The $5 entrance fee buys you access to the food booths, art areas and the music stage, which will feature bands Empires, Civil Twilight and Shiny Toy Guns on Saturday night.
The beers: Those interested in the craft beer portion of the festival will want to snag a ticket for the separate beer tasting area, which will feature breweries such as Arcadia, Flying Dog, Founders, Ommegang, Ska, Six Point, Goose Island and Half Acre. Tickets are $50 for the Friday VIP tasting (which includes rarer brews and benefits St. Mike's) and $35 on Saturday and Sunday. The fee includes entry to the fest (or $5 off your beer tent price if you already paid your fest cover at the door), a souvenir glass and 25 beer tickets for 3-ounce samples. Those wanting to sip some suds without paying the entry fee will have to stick with Goose Island, which will be supplying beer for sale in the main fest area.
Wavefront Music Festival
When: 5 p.m.-10 p.m. Friday pre-party, 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Saturday and Sunday
Where: Montrose Beach
Cost: $109.99 for a general admission two-day pass; $40 additional for Friday pre-party tickets. VIP options available.
The basics: It's the first year for this all-ages beachfront electronic dance music fest. The weekend kicks off with a pre-party Friday and continues Saturday and Sunday with music at four different stages, including a local stage featuring some of Chicago's most popular DJs. Big names on the bill include MSTRKRFT, Eric Prydz and "Barbra Streisand" creators Duck Sauce. Free busses will run between the fest and the Wilson Red Line station from 9-11 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.
West Fest: July 7-8 in West Town
Lincoln Park Arts & Music Fest: July 7-8 in Lincoln Park
Lakeview Rock Around the Block: July 7-8 in Lakeview