Local and regional shows and festivals you just can’t pass up

Even the hardest partiers have recovered from Summer Camp, and it’s time to move on to the rest of a tunes-filled summer in Illinois. From weekly local acts to Chicago festivals, summer is packed with shows worthy of your time and cold cash. That grueling summer job is finally good for something.
Here at home, weekly shows run amok with DJ Mingram at the Highdive every Monday night and The Piano Man at Canopy on Tuesdays. For laid back nights, check out Acoustic at Aroma in downtown Champaign, and for energy and dancing hit up DJ nights at Soma, Boltini and The Highdive. Local bands Zmick and Underpaid Packy will make routine appearances at The Canopy Club, and for something different check out Troy, the roller-skating bartender at Fallon’s Ice House on Disco Thursdays.
Summer heat can make anyone itch for a road trip, and this summer Chicago gives you a reason to spend your funds on diesel. This weekend brings the Chicago Blues Festival from June 5 to June 8. Ravinia Festival in Highland Park, Ill., begins June 6 and features everyone from The Backstreet Boys and The Temptations, to Feist and The Beach Boys. R.E.M., Modest Mouse and The National play at the United Center on June 6, and Lil’ Wayne will undoubtedly light up Chicago’s House of Blues in many different ways on June 11. Get back in hip-hop mode on June 19 for T.I. at the Congress Theater.
St. Josaphat Summerfest spans the weekend of June 20 and features Dot Dot Dot for only a $5 donation. Jakob Dylan and The Gold Mountain Rebels play June 27 at the Metro, and the same night kicks off the Taste of Chicago. Dabble in the delicious Chicago cuisine while Stevie Wonder lights up your ears. Pitchfork Music Festival takes over Union Park on July 18 with Public Enemy, The Hold Steady, Fleet Foxes, Animal Collective, Spoon, Dinosaur Jr., Les Savy Fav, Cut Copy and much more. Three day passes may be sold out, but there’s still time to grab one of two day passes for Pitchfork. The Taste of Lincoln Avenue celebrates its 24th anniversary on July 26 in Chicago, and the next weekend, of course, brings Lollapalooza to Grant Park. This year’s lineup includes Radiohead, a newly reunited Rage Against the Machine, Kanye West, Nine Inch Nails, Wilco, The Black Keys, Explosions in the Sky, Spank Rock, Santogold, Dr. Dog, Uffie and more. For those not so intent on being one of tens of thousands to grace Lollapalooza, She and Him will play August 5 at Park West.
After a summer of CamelBaks, front row bludgeons, sunburns and an overall wild time, spend the month of August accumulating funds and anticipating CU’s own Pygmalion Music Festival, already set to feature Yo La Tengo, Black Mountain, Dan Deacon, Dark Meat and a slew of talented local groups. Pool your petty cash, slather on the SPF 30 and soak in the music.

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