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25 Our Favorite Events In Chicago This Weekend

By Michelle Meywes Kopeny in Arts & Entertainment on Jun 10, 2016 3:10PM

Toronzo Cannon performs at Blues Fest. Photo by Marilyn Stringer.

We've got street fests, art fests, music fests and more to keep you busy this weekend in the city.


BLUES FEST: It’s time again for the Chicago Blues Festival downtown in Grant Park. This is the 33rd year for the fest in the city where the music is so prominent. This year’s fest will begin on Friday with the 45th anniversary celebration of local blues label Alligator Records. The whole night is full of dedicated performances featuring 2015 Grammy nominee Shemekia Copeland as well as Toronzo Cannon, Lil’ Ed and The Blues Imperials and many other Alligator artists. The fest closes on Sunday with a tribute to Otis Rush, and there’s so much music in between. See DCASE’s website for the full schedule. All performances are free.

MIDSOMMARFEST: This is the 51st year for Andersonville street festival Midsommarfest, which spans Clark Street from Foster to Catalpa. The street is filled with music, dancing, food and vendors from around the region. There’s also plenty of entertainment for the kids. Entry is a $10 donation.

RIBFEST: The name says it all. This Northcenter street festival has 15 BBQ rib vendors from all over the city, plus other concessions to wash down all that meat. Things get started Friday evening with the RibMania eating competition. In it’s 28th year, the festival has also earned a reputation for its music lineup. This year they’ve got Jukebox the Ghost, Kevin Devine and the Waco Brothers headlining. Entry is $5 suggested donation.

LIT FEST KICKOFF: The 32nd Annual Printers Row Lit Fest is Saturday and Sunday, but the official kick-off is Friday from 6 to 9 p.m. at Chop Steak House. The evening includes a prix fixe dinner, cocktails and a meet & greet with author Jacqueline Camacho Ruiz (The Fig Factor, The Little Book of Big Secrets That Work). Tickets are $35. For more information on Printers Row Lit Fest including schedule, visit their official website.

THE CURE: Robert Smith and The Cure make their way to UIC Pavilion for two headlining nights. The band has been rocking and emoting since 1978. The Twilight Sad opens. 7:30 p.m. Tickets start at $54.

SPRING AWAKENING: Spring Awakening is the music festival for EDM lovers. The three-day fest at Addams/Medill Park is put on by party experts React Presents and is packed with names like Steve Aoki, deadmau5, Kaskade, The Chainsmokers and so many more. There’s also a whole section of local artists on the lineup to check out. Tickets are $325 for a three day pass or $125 for a single day pass, and there’s special discounted prices for attendees under 21.

LITERARY COCKTAIL PARTY: The 826CHI Associate Board (the team behind the youth writing center in Wicker Park) presents their annual fundraiser Prologue, “a cocktail party of literary proportions.” The rooftop party at Parliament features guest speaker Peter Sagal, host of NPR’s “Wait Wait... Don’t Tell Me!,” plus hors d'oeuvres, live music and prizes. 7 to 10 p.m. Tickets are $85.

YACHT ROCK LIVE: Yacht Rock has seen quite the resurgence over the last few years, and Township boasts it’s own Love Boat Dance Party this Friday with performances from 70s soft rock tribute band Quadrophonica and the Fabulous Ladies of Fitness. 8:30 p.m. Tickets are $10.

PHILLY REPRESENT: Marah was a band from Philadelphia but they enjoyed strong Chicago ties for well over a decade. The band, led by brothers Dave and Serge Bielanko, has been dormant for a while, but they've reunited to celebrate thre re-release on vinyl of their breakout album The Kids In Philly. The band is celebrating with a two-night stand at Schubas, the venue that helped them build their Chicago fanbase way back when. Tickets are $25 for Friday or Saturday.

ADULT PROM: Looking to re-live (more like re-write) those prom days? Join GlitterGuts and several local bands for Adult Prom at Chop Shop from 8 p.m. to midnight. Santah, The Kickback, Archie Powell & The Exports, The Congregation and Glam Camp will all perform at the dance, where alcohol will be free-flowing and you won't have to sneak it in like last time. We won't even tell your parents if you stay out after curfew. Put on your best formal wear, because the best dressed of the night will be voted King and Queen. Tickets are $22 ($40 couples).


Photo via Wells Street Art Fest's Facebook page.

WELLS STREET ART FEST + OLD TOWN ART FAIR: It’s Old Town’s weekend to shine with the Wells Street Art Fest and the Old Town Art Fair happening at the same time. Artists of all types using all kinds of mediums are celebrated at the fair, with almost 500 artists featured between the two festivals. Both will also have food, drink and live music. Be sure to check out Old Town’s accompanying Garden Walk, and sing along with the cover bands 16 Candles and Catfight headlining at Wells Street. Entry to Wells Street Art Fest is a $7 donation at the gate; Old Town Art Fair is a $10 donation.

NATIONAL PARK SERVICE CENTENNIAL: The National Park Service turns 100 this year, and they’re celebrating the Centennial with events all over the country, including right here in Chicago on Saturday. The free “Park Exchange” event begins at 11:30 a.m. and brings the rich tradition of New Orleans Jazz National Historical Park to Washington Park. New Orleans’ Treme Brass Band and Black Men of Labor will perform along with our own South Side’s Hypnotic Brass Ensemble. Local Oscar and Grammy winning artist, Common, will also be in attendance (though not performing), plus games and other demonstrations.

CAKE. Photo courtesy of Chicago Alternative Comics Expo.

CHICAGO ALTERNATIVE COMICS EXPO: Celebrate independent comics, artists, presses and publishers at the Chicago Alternative Comics Expo (a.k.a. CAKE). The free expo at the Center on Halsted will have comics for sale from vendors, plus workshops, exhibitions, panel discussions and more. For more details, including a list of special guests, visit CAKE’s website.

REMIX STREET FEST: Eco-friendly art, music, food and more make up Remix Chicago in Logan Square this weekend. Almost 30 artists will show their art made from recycled and found materials at the 6th annual festival. Indie acts Cults and Shannon and the Clams headline two full days of bands. Entry is a $5 donation.

WICKER PARK SIDEWALK SALE: Stroll up and down the sidewalks on Damen Avenue this weekend and peruse the businesses moving sales outside. The Wicker Park Sidewalk Sales are on a different street every few weeks this summer, with scavenger hunts and live entertainment in addition to shopping. For more information, visit the WPB website.

COMEDY SHOW PILOT: The Late Late Breakfast monthly comedy show is in for an exciting afternoon at The Hideout as they film a television pilot in front of a live audience starting at 1:30 p.m. Comedians Megan Gailey (Conan, Comedy Central, SXSW), Ryan Singer (WTF Podcast w/ Marc Maron, Rolling Stone, Bob & Tom), Will Miles (The Chris Gethard Show, truTV, MTV) and more will perform. Tickets are $25.

ROSÉ TASTING: There’s so much more to Rosé than White Zinfandel. Learn all about the resurgence of this popular wine and taste some dryer vintage varieties at Webster’s Wine Bar’s “Not your Mother's White Zin” tasting from 3 to 5 p.m. Tasting includes about 20 wines and hors d'oeuvres. Tickets are $50.

Minus21. Photo by Joshua Longbrake.

TEEN CONTEMPORARY ART: See what the young minds of Chicago have been up to from 1 to 6 p.m. at the culmination of Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago's Teen Creative Agency. These local teenagers spend every Saturday at the MCA, and 21Minus fills the museum with their eclectic and unexpected projects. Entry is free for guests under 21 and their families.

FREE FITNESS: Celebrate Global Wellness Day with the pros at JW Marriott as they host a complimentary workout and coach-led run from 9:30 to 11 a.m. Nike Master Trainer Jason Raynor and his #JWFitSquad will guide participants through high-intensity interval training, metabolic conditioning and then a scenic run through the city. Register in advance here.

AIDS BENEFIT: Head to Elixir Lounge for a happy hour benefiting The Ride for AIDS Chicago and Team to End AIDS from 4 to 6 p.m. A $10 donation will get you a free Altos Tequila cocktail plus one drink ticket. They’ll also have raffles for a weekend in Vegas and more prizes.


Photo via Table8's website.

NEGRONI WEEK DINNER: Attend an exclusive four-course family-style dinner with alongside Negroni-inspired cocktail pairings. Balena hosts the event in honor of Negroni Week, and has a “Negroni per Il Re” cocktail special all week long. Tickets are $100. A portion of the sales will benefit The Trotter Project. For reservations, visit Table8’s website, or call Balena at 312.867.3888.

ROCK N ROLL MARKET: Do312 holds their Second Annual Rock ‘n Roll Market at East Room from noon to 6 p.m. Shop a bunch of local artists while rocking out to the sounds of White Mystery, Uh Bones, & Vietrahm. Free. RSVP in advance and get a free Bud Light.

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Yo-Yo Ma. Photo by Todd Rosenberg.

YO-YO MA: See the legendary cellist Yo-Yo Ma perform at Symphony Center at 3 p.m. He’ll be playing his new music program, A Distant Mirror, inspired by the book of the same name by historian Barbara Tuchman. This performance is also part of the city-wide Shakespeare 400 Celebration. Tickets start at $50.

DOG PARK PAINT DAY: Help paint the mural overlooking Logan Square’s new Dog Park from noon to 6 p.m. AnySquared, ABC, and Renegades of Funk have come together to make this community paint day happen. They’ll need volunteers of all types, artists and non-artists alike, to put the “colossal” dog images on the wall. Visit the event’s website for more information.

DOUBLE DOOR ANNIVERSARY PARTY: Double Door's future may still be uncertain, but that's not stopping them from celebrating their 22nd anniversary with a big ol' party this Sunday. The venue has put together a stellar lineup of DJs including Soul Summit, Simmer Down Sound, CumbiaSazo, Push Beats and Fabitat for a party that kicks off at 8 p.m. and runs all night long. Double Door is asking for a $10 suggested donation at the door, with all the proceeds going towards the Double Door legal defense fund to keep the venue in its Wickr Park location.