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Daytrippin': Music Festivals Worthy Of A Road Trip In 2013

By Samantha Abernethy in Arts & Entertainment on Jun 24, 2013 10:20PM

Photo Credit: Samantha Abernethy

Summer in this city is great and all, but sometimes it's good to escape this steaming pile of pavement called Chicago and get a fresh perspective. We told about some great weekend getaways, now we have a few suggestions for a trip with a soundtrack. Every weekend we're swamped with options for street festivals within the city, and we're rarely left wanting for a band or style of music. But maybe you didn't get Lollapalooza tickets because they sold out way too quickly. Or maybe you just want to move your feet elsewhere. Here are some music festivals within driving distance from Chicago that are worth the road trip.

Milwaukee, Wis.
Approx. distance: 90 miles, 1 hour 45 minutes

Summerfest is like a county fair with all its greasy food, cheesy music and sweaty, hairy men in tank-tops... except it has cheesy food, greasy music, and incredibly friendly sweaty, hairy men in tank-tops. It's also cheap. All those great Wisconsin beers? They might be cheaper than they are at your corner bar. Cased meats, you guys. Oh, you think cheese curds are good? Wear an elastic waistband and dig into some fried ones. The entrance fee costs $17, only $10 if you get there before 4 p.m. Tuesday through Friday. That includes most of your entertainment. The concerts in Marcus Amphitheater come at a premium, though, with an extra ticket that costs around $50-$80. That's what you'll pay to see one of the headliners like Fun, Tom Petty or New Kids On The Block. Check out the lineup on June 26: Violent Femmes & The Avett Brothers with special guests Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros. The rest of the shows on the lineup come with your entrance fee. That means MGMT, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Atlas Genius, Billy Idol, Pretty Lights... $17 is pretty cheap for a ticket to any one of those shows. Pick a date and plan your trip north. We picked July 5 because that's when Lewis Black takes the stage. Did you know George Carlin was arrested at Summerfest in 1972 when he delivered his "Seven Words You Can't Say on Television" routine? We look forward to hearing Black say waaaaay more than seven words.

Summerfest is June 26-30, July 2-7 at the Henry Maier Festival Park at the lakefront.

Forecastle Fest
Louisville, Ky.
Approx. distance: 300 miles, 5 hours

Forecastle (pronounced FOK-sol) is a structure at the bow of a ship where the crew is housed. It's also a music and art festival at the riverfront in Louisville. We went last year, and we've been looking forward to the return trip this year to see Black Keys, Alabama Shakes, Jim James and Flaming Lips (This might be the closest The Lips get to Chicago this summer). It's big enough to keep you constantly loving the act you're watching, but you won't have to hoof it a mile to get from one stage to the other. In fact, if two bands are playing at the same time, the stages are close enough that you can see half of each act, and the weird layout (there's a highway running over the whole park) seems to cut the potential noisebleed. While you're in Louisville, be sure to consume barbecue and bourbon. Forecastle has a special "Kentucky Bourbon Lodge" to help you with the latter. We remember having some delicious pulled pork nachos, too. Hit up the Louisville nightlife, too. The bars are open later than you may think.

Forecastle Fest is at the Louisville riverfront from July 12 to 14.

St. Louis, Mo.
Approx. distance: 300 miles, 5 hours

The Killers and Wilco headline this St. Louis music festival, which also features The National, Alabama Shakes, Jim James, Toro Y Moi and Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros. LouFest partners with area hotels to offer special rates for out-of-towners, so check their rates before you book.

LouFest is on Central Field at Forest Park from September 7 to 8.

Des Moines, Iowa
Approx. distance: 330 miles, 5+ hours

This festival confuses us, but in a way that we like. What does the name mean? We're not sure, but according to their website, "This year, 80/35 promises to be a logically funky, aurally superior robot dance party." Friday's headliner is David Byrne & St. Vincent. Saturday's headliner is Wu Tang Clan. Somehow that all makes sense.

80/35 is at Western Gateway Park in Des Moines from July 5 to 6.

Bunbury Festival
Cincinnati, Ohio
Approx. distance: 300 miles, 5 hours

MGMT, The National and Fun. headline the 2013 Bunbury Festival. The music lineup is solid, and so is the beverage lineup in the Craft Beer Village.

Bunbury Festival is at Sawyer Point and Yeatman's Cove in downtown Cincinnati from July 12 to 14.

Pygmalion Music Festival
Champaign, Ill.
Approx. distance: 150 miles, 2.5 hours

Major Lazer, The Breeders, The Head & The Heart, Kurt Vile & the Violators, Kishi Bashi, and lots more great acts fill this college town up with sound in September. See a show, relive your college glory days (where applicable), then eat a stack at Merry-Anne's.

Pygmalion Music Festival is at multiple venues in Champaign and Urbana from Sept. 26 to 28.

Gathering of the Juggalos
Cave-in-Rock, Ill.
Approx. distance: 325 miles, 5.5 hours

You all know that we love the Juggalos here. We write about them often, usually mocking them, but you have to respect a group of people that are so deeply and passionately attached to a band that they wear their makeup. The performer to see is, obviously, Insane Clown Posse. Go. We dare you.

Gathering of the Juggalos is from August 7 to 11.