A Select Guide to This Summer's Midwest Music Festivals

With spring here and the warmer months right around the corner, now seems as good of a time as any to start making summer plans. For music fans, big festivals regularly crowd the summer concert calendar as the temperature begins to rise. These festivals offer music lovers a shot at seeing a ton of fantastic acts in a small amount of time and space.

This year in particular, the Midwestern states have an assortment of quality music festivals lined up, from right here in Minneapolis to the middle of Michigan. And though they'll all leave your wallet a little lighter, they'll surely give you plenty of musical memories that will last well into next summer and beyond.

Here are the 10 Midwest music festivals we're most looking forward to this summer.

Bled Fest

Date(s): May 23
Location: Howell, Michigan
Best of the Bill: Touché Amoré, Modern Baseball, Modern Life Is War, Pianos Become the Teeth, Restorations
Tickets: General admission $32 / VIP packages starting at $75

For anyone even casually partaking in the so-called "emo revival," Michigan's Bled Fest will be a one-stop shop to catch every band you've been dying to get a glimpse of over the last two years. As an added bonus, this fest takes place in an old high school (with some stages in old classroom) -- no need to worry about rain or crappy weather ruining your day.


Date(s): May 24
Location: Shakopee, Minnesota
Best of the Bill: Atmosphere, J. Cole, Ice Cube, Big Sean, Freddie Gibbs & Madlib
Tickets: General admission $62

Hip-hop heads unite! Each summer, Soundset is stacked with quality rap acts from top to bottom, and this year's lineup proves to be no exception to that rule. Canterbury Park in Shakopee has proven to be the perfect fit for the local hip-hop fest that gets bigger and better every year, serving as an energy-filled template for other rap festivals to model themselves after.


Rock the Garden

Date(s): June 20-21
Location: Minneapolis
Best of the Bill: Modest Mouse, Belle & Sebastian, Connor Oberst, Courtney Barnett, Babes in Toyland
Tickets: Single-day passes start at $59 / Two-day passes start at $100

The Walker Art Center and 89.3 the Current have stuck with the two-day Rock the Garden setup that they debuted to great effect last year. The lineup looks like an indie all-star team from 2005. In no way is that a bad thing, however, as this is sure to be two days of relishing in hits from acts both old and new.

Electric Forest Festival

Date(s): June 25-28
Location: Rothbury, Michigan
Best of the Bill: The String Cheese Incident, Bassnecter, Skrillex, Phantogram, Lotus
Tickets: Sold out

One part Bonnaroo and one part never-ending rave, Electric Forest Festival is always a sight to behold. Though the forest isn't actually electric, the sheer amount of urban dwellers and electronic music-based acts that trek out to secluded Rothbury, Michigan, each year sure make it seem that way.


Date(s): July 10-11
Location: Des Moines, Iowa
Best of the Bill: Weezer, Wilco, Jenny Lewis, Run the Jewels, Talib Kweli
Tickets: Single-day pass $39 / Two-day pass $59

Getting its name from the two interstates that intersect in Des Moines, Iowa, 80/35 is an ultra-smooth stop for nationally touring acts. Created by the nonprofit Des Moines Music Collection in 2008, the festival will host over 50 total acts during its two-day duration.


Eaux Claires Music & Arts Festival

Date(s): July 17-18
Location: Eau Claire, Wisconsin
Best of the Bill: Bon Iver, the National, Sufjan Stevens, Spoon, the Tallest Man on Earth
Tickets: Two-day general admission passes start at $135 / Two-day enhanced passes start at $250

Justin Vernon continues to keep Eau Claire, Wisconsin, on the map, thanks to the inaugural Eaux Claires, a festival expertly curated by the National's Aaron Dessner and Vernon himself. In addition to boasting a number of fantastic Midwest-based folk acts on the roster, Eaux Claires will also feature sets from Minneapolis's own hip-hop artists Doomtree and Lizzo.

Pitchfork Music Festival

Date(s): July 17-19
Location: Chicago
Best of the Bill: Wilco, Chance the Rapper, Sleater-Kinney, the New Pornographers, CHVRCHES
Tickets: Single-day pass $65 / Three-day pass $150

Now in its 10th year of taking over Chicago's Union Park, Pitchfork Music Festival has become a summer staple for kids looking to get a great bang-for-your-buck weekend of music. This year's fest also happens to be one of the few festival dates that Sleater-Kinney have thus far mapped out on their glorious reunion tour.

Hinterland Music Festival

Date(s): July 31-August 1
Location: Des Moines, Iowa
Best of the Bill: Old Crow Medicine Show, Future Islands, TV on the Radio, Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros, Lucius
Tickets: Two-day pass $75

As with Eaux Claires, 2015 is the inaugural year for Iowa's Hinterland Music Festival. Aside from the two-day event's small but stellar lineup, the fest is set to celebrate the great outdoors by hosting cyclist events, craft vendors, and a number of other non-musical activities.


Date(s): July 31-August 2
Location: Chicago
Best of the Bill: Paul McCartney, Metallica, Florence + the Machine, A$AP Rocky, Tame Impala
Tickets: Sold out

Lollapalooza has shifted heavily since it was created as a touring festival by Jane's Addiction frontman Perry Farrell in the early 1990s. Now a fixture of Chicago's Grant Park, where it's been held every summer since 2005, the music fest brings in upward of 150,000 fans annually, as well as some of the biggest names in music.


Maha Music Festival

Date(s): August 15
Location: Omaha, Nebraska
Best of the Bill: The Jayhawks, Atmosphere, Purity Ring, Speedy Ortiz, Alvvays
Tickets: General admission $50 / VIP packages start at $175

Some may lump Nebraska in with the Great Plains states instead of the Midwestern ones, but the Maha Music Festival is just too close to the Twin Cities area to ignore. Plus, there are plenty of familiar local acts on the bill. The Jayhawks and Atmosphere join Rock the Garden headliners Modest Mouse on a diverse lineup that features a nice blend of young and veteran artists.

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