15 summer music festivals within driving distance

You could drive to Chicago, a large city many miles from here, to see Lorde this summer. We're not gonna try to stop you.

You could drive to Chicago, a large city many miles from here, to see Lorde this summer. We're not gonna try to stop you. Associated Press/Charles Sykes

Festival season is in full swing. If you live in or around the Twin Cities, you may have already made your way to Soundset, Eaux Claires, or some other fest that’s within reasonable driving distance.

But there are still plenty of all-day live music opportunities ahead, and while the biggest of them may be in Chicago or Milwaukee, others are right here in Minneapolis. Below, find a guide to the most notable of those fests. Some of them are even this weekend—so you may need to start packing your things ASAP.

Summerfest - June 28-July 2, July 4-9, Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Drive: 5 hours

This weekend’s lineup: Dierks Bentley, Future, Big Sean, Migos, Willie Nelson, Bob Dylan, Sheryl Crow, Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit, others.

Tickets: American Family Insurance Amphitheater ticket prices vary. $8-$20 one-day pass; $48 three-day pass.

Why go? If you’re down to head to the Milwaukee fest for its final days, you can still see Future, Migos, and Big Sean playing one massive show together on Saturday, as well as the traveling Outlaw Music Festival, featuring Willie Nelson, Bob Dylan, Sheryl Crow, and Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit. Plenty of worthwhile artists will hit the various other stages this weekend, too, including the Shins, Atmosphere, Aesop Rock, Michelle Branch, Brother Ali, and Whitney.

Taste of Chicago - July 5-9, Chicago, Illinois

Drive: 6.5 hours

This weekend’s lineup: Ben Harper & the Innocent Criminals, Passion Pit, the O’Jays, others.

Tickets: $19-$50 per day.

Why go? If you’re specifically looking for a music festival this weekend, you’re probably better off embarking to Summerfest, 80/35, or West Fest Chicago. But as a combo of live music, food options, and more, this is probably your best bet for the rest of the summer.

80/35 - July 7-8, Des Moines, Iowa

Drive: 3.5 hours

Lineup: The Shins, MGMT, Action Bronson, Charles Bradley & His Extraordinaires, Elephant Revival, others.

Tickets: $45 one-day pass; $80 two-day pass.

Why go? This year, for its 10th anniversary, 80/35 put together what may be its strongest lineup yet. Apart from marquee acts like the Shins, MGMT, and Action Bronson, there will also be a presence of rising indie, garage, and punk bands including Hop Along, Bully, Diarrhea Planet, and A Giant Dog. MN acts the Suburbs, Bad Bad Hats, and ZULUZULUU are also slated to perform.

Basilica Block Party - July 7-8, Minneapolis, Minnesota

Lineup: Brandi Carlile, the Shins, NEEDTOBREATHE, Walk the Moon, AWOLNATION, Gavin DeGraw, others.

Tickets: $67-$400 one-day pass; $110 two-day pass.

Why go? Cities 97’s summer fest comes with a lineup that is, appropriately, tailor-made for the station’s listeners—Gavin DeGraw’s “She Sets the City on Fire,” for example, is in heavy rotation at KTCZ-FM these days. But then, there’s also the Star Tribune Stage, where local acts like Night Moves, Nooky Jones, and Nick Jordan will perform.

West Fest Chicago - July 7-9, Chicago, Illinois

Drive: 6.5 hours

Lineup: ESG, Speedy Ortiz, Local H, Durand Jones & the Indications, Royal Headache, Har Mar Superstar, others.

Tickets: $5.

Why go? West Fest Chicago makes up for its lack of truly major acts with longtime cult bands ESG and Local H, as well as present-day indie rock faves Speedy Ortiz, Cymbals Eat Guitars, Palehound, Woods, and more.

Rock Fest - July 13-15, Cadott, Wisconsin

Drive: 2 hours

Lineup: Avenged Sevenfold, Rob Zombie, Slayer, Korn, Shinedown, Volbeat, Stone Sour, Megadeth, others.

Tickets: $107 one-day pass; $147 three-day pass.

Why go? The self-explanatory Rock Fest is obviously meant for a specific type of music fan, but if you are looking for a monstrous lineup that’s hard rock- and metal-oriented, it’s hard to beat.

Pitchfork Music Festival - July 14-16, Chicago, Illinois

Drive: 6.5 hours

Lineup: LCD Soundsystem, A Tribe Called Quest, Solange, Dirty Projectors, Danny Brown, PJ Harvey, Nicolas Jaar, others.

Tickets: $75 per day; $175 three-day pass (Pitchfork + PLUS upgrade: $365).

Why go? Essentially bringing the site’s Best New Music section to life, Pitchfork Music Festival is, broadly speaking, the fest for witnessing a panoply of today’s acclaimed indie acts in one weekend.

Country Jam USA - July 20-22, Eau Claire, Wisconsin

Drive: 1.5 hours

Lineup: Dierks Bentley, Miranda Lambert, Luke Bryan, Cole Swindell, Gary Allan, Brett Eldredge, others.

Tickets: $120-$320 one-day pass; $150-$695 three-day pass.

Why go? A closer destination than August’s WE Fest in Detroit Lakes, Country Jam USA has a comparably appealing lineup, featuring three veritable country superstars in Dierks Bentley, Miranda Lambert, and Luke Bryan.

Moondance Jam - July 20-22, Walker, Minnesota

Drive: 3.5 hours

Lineup: Halestorm, Live, Steve Miller Band, the Pretty Reckless, Melissa Etheridge, Peter Frampton, others.

Tickets: $130-$350 one-day pass; $200-$575 three-day pass.

Why go? With a lineup that’s distinguished by acts who peaked in the ‘70s, ‘80, or ‘90s, this is a fest for an older audience than, say, the festival-goers that will attend Pitchfork or Warped Tour. But if you like its acts’ past hits or recent material enough, then Moondance Jam isn’t a bad summer option.

Rock the Garden - July 22, Minneapolis, Minnesota

Lineup: Bon Iver, the Revolution, Benjamin Booker, Car Seat Headrest, Dead Man Winter, others.

Tickets: Sold out.

Why go? Rock the Garden offers local Bon Iver fans their first chance to see the Justin Vernon-led group here in town since 2011. And the reunited Revolution are fresh off a recent Paisley Park performance.

Vans Warped Tour - July 22, Tinley Park, Illinois; July 23, Shakopee, Minnesota; July 24, Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Drive: 7 hours (Tinley); .5 hours (Shakopee); 5 hours (Milwaukee)

Lineup: Attila, CKY, Futuristic, Hawthorne Heights, I Prevail, Jule Vera, New Years Day, others.

Tickets: $36.75-$52.50.

Why go? If you’ve enjoyed yourself at a Warped stop in recent years, the 2017 edition should interest you, too—that’s how Warped Tour goes. But this year’s lineup also has the distinction of featuring a number of early punk and hardcore acts, including the Adolescents and T.S.O.L.

Lollapalooza - August 3-6, Chicago, Illinois

Drive: 6.5 hours

Lineup: Chance the Rapper, the Killers, Muse, Arcade Fire, the xx, Lorde, Blink-182, DJ Snake, Justice, others.

Tickets: Sold out.

Why go? What’s there to say? This year’s Lolla lineup is characteristically ginormous and supremely dense with talent; there are acts in the middle of the flier who should arguably appear near the top, and vice versa.

WE Fest - August 3-5, Detroit Lakes, Minnesota

Drive: 3.5 hours

Lineup: Luke Bryan, Zac Brown Band, Lady Antebellum, Alan Jackson, Darius Rucker, Brett Eldredge, others.

Tickets: $105 per day; $175 three-day pass.

Why go? The massive country fest, which brought 150,000 attendees to Detroit Lakes last year, doesn’t disappoint with its 35th anniversary lineup. The stars listed above will be joined by some of country music’s youngest emerging talent, including Kane Brown (no relation to Zac) and RaeLynn.

Hinterland Music Festival - August 4-5, Saint Charles, Iowa

Drive: 4 hours

Lineup: alt-J, Ryan Adams, Gary Clark Jr., the Head and the Heart, Foxygen, Dwight Yoakam, others.

Tickets: $49-$65 per day; $95-$599 two-day pass.

Why go? Hinterland Music Festival is a more affordable and nearer alternative to Lolla, happening the same weekend. Only in its third year, it’s conceivable that Hinterland could become known as a leading Midwest fest in the near future.

Summer Set - August 11-13, Somerset, Wisconsin

Drive: 1 hour

Lineup: Zeds Dead, Zedd, Griz, Run the Jewels, Die Antwoord, RL Grime, Datsik, Post Malone, others.

Tickets: $70 per day; $194.50-$495 three-day pass.

Why go? With a bevy of young and youngish electronic and rap acts, Summer Set is sure to be one of the season’s most youthful fests—an antidote to the realization that, unfortunately, summer’s end is nearing. Among the rap acts are Minnesota’s own GainesFM, Why Khaliq, Chance York, Nazeem & Spencer Joles, and Rich Garvey.