Summertime in Chicago is filled to the brim with fun festivals, delicious food, and amazing music, but there’s only one festival that hits a sweet-spot for all three: Taste of Chicago.
Mark your calendars for July 6-10 because Taste of Chicago is returning to Grant Park for its 36th year celebrating Chicago food, Chicago music, and Chicago pride. Best of all, the whole event is free.*
*Unless you’re trying to get tickets to one of the concerts, which is not free.
Part I: The Fest
The City of Chicago calls Taste of Chicago, “the nation’s premier outdoor food festival showcasing the diversity of Chicago’s dining community,” which loosely translates to, “the sole reason you’ll be buying pants a size too big for about a month.” This year, Taste of Chicago will take place over five days. You’ll definitely want to attend at least one or two days, especially on a night a musical act you want to hear is performing. Some of us (me) will be asking off from work for the entire duration of the festival, but hey, to each their own.
#SpoonTip: Even though the festival is free, tickets to the Petrillo Music Shell where acts will be performing are not – but that doesn’t mean you won’t be able to hear performers while you’re sitting on the grass at Grant Park eating your sixth or seventh Chicago Dog (we’re not judging).
Part II: The Music
There are two stages at Taste of Chicago. First is the Petrillo Music Shell where you can purchase tickets to access seating. The second is the Bud Light Stage, which is free (#ThankYouBudLight). The Petrillo Music Shell is where the headliners perform. The lineup, by day, is as follows:
- Wednesday, July 6th – The Roots & Donnie Trumpet
- Thursday, July 7th – KONGOS & Transviolet & Elle King
- Friday, July 8th – The Decemberists & Shakey Graves
- Saturday, July 9th – Billy Idol & Sons of the Silent Age
- Sunday, July 10th – The Isley Brothers ft. Ronald and Ernie Isley & Shelia E.
The Budlight Stage has artists performing all day long, not just headliners in the evening, with lesser known acts worth checking out. The BudLight Stage lineup is split up by a different genre each day, as follows:
- Wednesday, July 6th – Singer/Songwriter & Country Music
- Thursday, July 7th – Cornucopia of Music!
- Friday, July 8th – Rock ‘n Roll Will Never Die
- Saturday, July 9th – Surf Pop, Synth Pop, Electro Pop, and just Pop
- Sunday, July 10th – R&B and Soul
Part III: The Food
On to the fun part that’s… not yet been released. But based on the past 36 years of deliciousness, you can bet a pretty penny that the food vendors participating at Taste of Chicago will not disappoint. From pop-ups (Hot Dougs, please!) to Celebrity Chefs (Gordon “Super-Babe” Ramsey, please!), Taste of Chicago patrons this year can expect similar attractions to last year’s sit-down, three-course meal prepared by local chefs like ‘Top Chef’ Stephanie Izard (Curtis Duffy, Please!).
Keep an eye out on the City of Chicago’s website for updates!