Some weekends are full of chill festivals, involving some strolling, some art, some lazy window shopping. This is not that weekend. With Pride Parade, Back Lot Bash, Old St. Pat's World's Largest Block Party, Chive Fest, Milwaukee Avenue Arts Festival and Chicago Summerfest on the calendar, prepare for three days of packed partying. Lakeview essentially will become one giant outdoor circus, while Andersonville will be ground zero for lesbian-friendly music and entertainment. Stay hydrated, keep tabs on your phone and consult our guide to making the most of one of the summer's biggest weekends.
RedEye wants you to dive headfirst into each summer weekend, so all season long we're issuing a mini-fest challenge. Complete the task, take a photo and use the hashtag #GetFested on Instagram to see your photo end up here. Last week, we asked for your fest selfies, and @gingie24 delivered. This week, snap a photo of something rainbow—come on, that's an easy one—and tag it #GetFested.
When: Steps off at noon Sunday
Where: Begins at Broadway and Montrose Avenue, continuing south on Broadway, south on Halsted Street, east on Belmont Avenue, south on Broadway again, then east on Diversey Parkway to end at Cannon Drive in Lincoln Park
How much: Free to attend
Don't miss: Last year, 800,000 spectators lined the sidewalks, waved from apartment windows and packed bars in Lakeview and Lincoln Park to cheer on the annual Pride Parade. This year's festivities will be led by grand marshal Will Sheridan, a former Villanova University basketball star turned musician and performer. Keep a special eye out for RedEye's float, which this year has an "I Do" theme to celebrate marriage equality in Illinois. Want a prime viewing spot? Better arrive a few hours early.
Back Lot Bash
When: 5-10 p.m. Friday; 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday (Family Day); 4 p.m.-10 p.m. Saturday; 3 p.m.-10 p.m. Sunday
Where: Comedy kick-off (Thursday) takes place at Mayne Stage (1328 Morse Ave.); main event and concerts located at 5238 N. Clark St.
How much: $45 three-day pass; $100 three-day VIP pass includes lounge area and artist meet-and-greet; other ticket options $15-$35 at brownpapertickets.com/event/669706
Don't miss: The annual lesbian-focused party kicks off Thursday with a comedy showcase at Mayne Stage (6 p.m.), continues Friday with a night of acoustic concerts and really heats up Saturday and Sunday with two days of music and entertainment by Xoe Wise (6 p.m. Saturday), Your Villain My Hero (8 p.m. Saturday), and Sunday celebrity appearances by Kate Moennig (Showtime's "The L Word"), Leisha Hailey and Camila Grey (Uh Huh Her).
Old St. Pat's World's Largest Block Party
When: 5:30 p.m.-10:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday
Where: Entry gate at Madison and Des Plaines streets
How much: $70 two-day pass; one-night passes $40 in advance ($85 for Friday night VIP Lounge) or $45 at the gate, includes four drink tickets
Don't miss: The West Loop fest, celebrating its 30th year this summer, manages to pack a lot of music into just ten total hours. Guster (9 p.m) and G Love & Special Sauce (7:40 p.m.) headline Friday while Third Eye Blind (9 p.m.) and The Mowgli's (7 p.m.) headline Saturday. Enter a bags tournament (6:30 p.m. Saturday; tickets $20 per team or $15 per individual online; $25 and $20, respectively, at the door) for a chance to win sports tickets, jerseys and more.
Milwaukee Avenue Arts Fest
When: 5-10 p.m. Friday; noon-10 p.m. Saturday and Sunday
Where: Milwaukee Avenue between Kimball and Kedzie avenues
How much: $5 suggested donation
Don't miss: This pop-up art and music fest includes two stages plus visual artists, installations and some of the best fest food you'll find (think Lula Cafe sangria and pizza from Dimo's). Keep an ear out for sets from hip-hop artist Psalm One (8:45 p.m. Friday), local rockers Secret Colours (6:45 p.m. Saturday), Bailiff (6:45 p.m. Sunday) and Archie Powell & The Exports (7 p.m. Sunday).
When: Noon-10 p.m. Saturday; noon-9 p.m. Sunday
Where: Clark Street at Armitage Avenue
How much: $5 suggested donation
Don't miss: This Lincoln Park fest returns after a short hiatus with food, live music and local vendors. Grab some barbecue, listen to cover bands including 16 Candles (8 p.m. Saturday), Rod Tuffcurls & The Bench Press (5 p.m. Sunday) and Too White Crew (7 p.m. Sunday), then relax post-fest on a blanket in Lincoln Park.
When: 1-11 p.m. Saturday
Where: Stadium Green outside Soldier Field
How much: $70 general admission tickets; $250 VIP tickets include access to VIP area with complimentary drinks and food
Don't miss: The first ever Chicago music festival produced by lifestyle website The Chive includes headliners Empire Of The Sun (9:30 p.m.), 2Chainz (7:30 p.m.) and Matt & Kim (5:30 p.m.).
See RedEye's complete calendar of summer fests (through September!).
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