The Midwesterner’s Guide to Music Festivals Pt. 2 : On The Front Porch

In last week’s first installment of “The Midwesterner’s Guide to Music Festivals Pt. 1“, staff writer Wes Ogden broke down a couple of festivals in our own backyard. If that didn’t get you stoked for summer music, then please check your pulse. This week, we have the next link in our chain of regional-ish festies. So fill out those PTO requests, pack up those wet-wipes, and call the dog sitter, because it’s the “Midwesterner’s Guide to Music Festivals: Pt. 2:On The Front Porch ”

With this selection, the focus is shifting from campgrounds and green hill tops to bustling urban landscapes. Can’t you just imagine trekking down the sidewalk heading to the next stage to see a new performer you’ve heard your friends brag about? Or maybe you picture yourself snagging an icy brew and then waltzing past Lake Michigan while listening to your favorite band? Whatever your pleasure may be, this list will educate you on a few urban Midwestern festivals.

1.) Forecastle

Forecastle Waterfront

Forecastle Waterfront

When: July 18-20th

Where: Louisville, Kentucky

Cost: $184.50 GA (Tier 4) VIP available with an upcharge

*No lodging provided in ticket fee, all lodging accommodations must be purchased separately*

Style: Indie-Rock, Electronic, Hip-Hop, Folk


Extra Attractions

Bourbon Lodge, where you can get your drank on, but you must purchase drink vouchers. Be sure to check out Kentucky Landing, which will host lots of locally sourced craft brews. Late night shows, which cost extra, too. There’s also plenty of activism afoot.

Things to Know

This is a non-camping festival, so make hotel reservations nearby and prepare to travel accordingly to and from the festival grounds. There is a KOA, so if you really want to camp somewhere, there’s your option. Be sure to check out the special rates on hotels through the Forecastle site. Leave all your own food and booze at the hotel.

Founded in 2002 by a Louisville native, this will be Forecastle’s 12th year running. Louisville is famously located on the Ohio River, and this festival fully embraces this fact. The maritime theme is all over this place. For example, did you know a forecastle is actually “a superstructure at the bow of a ship where the crew is housed”? Essentially, this is where the crew would go and party after a hard day’s work at sea. It all makes sense now…

Wow. Forecastle Festival has got it goin’ on this year. Aside from the hefty lineup through all tiers, the headliners are hands down phenomenal. Jack White, Beck, and the crème-de-le-crème Outkast should be enough to tug anyone here.

For all you Midwestern folks, don’t sleep on this festival. The tunes, the bourbon, the atomophere, and the attractions won’t be something to miss out on, so dust off your knock-off Ray-Bans. Make your KOA reservation, and get excited for Forecastle!



Jack White


The Replacements

More Awesomeness:

Ray LaMontagne

Band of Horses


Local Natives

Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings

Gary Clark Jr.


Sun Kil Moon

Trampled By Turtles


Avey Tare’s Slasher Flicks

 2.) Pitchfork

Pitchfork 2014

Pitchfork 2014

When: July 18-20th

Where: Chicago, Il in Union Park

Cost: $120 GA (sold out) day passes $60/day

Style: Indie-Rock, Hip-Hop

*No lodging provided*


Extra Attractions

Save up those pennies for Chirp Record Fair, where you can buy direct from independent record labels, Flatstock, an awesome print art sale, and Coterie Craft Fair, which hosts a plethora of handmade creations.

Things to Know

This is a non-camping festival, so make hotel reservations nearby and prepare to travel accordingly to and from the festival grounds. However, this is Chicago, so mass transit is readily available. No outside food or booze allowed, so plan ahead, folks!

Since 2006 Pitchfork Festival has been inundating eardrums to independent music from all over the sound spectrum. Located in downtown Chicago, Pitchfork offers not only top notch music, but also the opportunity to explore the Midwest’s largest city. Wanna hit the bars after a long day rocking out in the sun? Do it! The world is your oyster. Unfortunately, this festival shares the same dates as the aforementioned Forecastle festival, so start drafting up those pro-con charts and make your choice.

In 2014 Pitchfork has definitely accrued a deeply satisfying lineup. Neutral Milk Hotel, a band dormant for the past 16 years, has graced this year’s headlining tier, alongside the enigmatic Beck. For Hip-Hop heads, there’s the wonder rapper Kendrick Lamar, and Detroit bad boy Danny Brown holding things down. This lineup is stacked from top to bottom. Seriously, if you’re a fan of independent music, there’s no way to be disappointed.

Pitchfork Music Festival 2013 - Day 1



Kendrick Lamar

Neutral Milk Hotel

More Awesomeness:

St. Vincent

Danny Brown

Real Estate

Sun Kil Moon

Shool Boy Q

Avey Tare’s Slasher Flicks

Cloud Nothings

Earl Sweatshirt


3.) Lollalapooza

Lollapalooza Crowd

Lollapalooza Crowd

When: August 1-3

Where: Chicago, IL Grant Park

Cost: Platinum Pass $3,600, Weekend GA (sold out), VIP (sold out), Single Day Passes (sold out)

*Lodging not provided*

Style: Multi-genre Radio-friendly: Hip-Hop, Dubstep, Alternative


Extra Attractions

There is a Farmer’s Market, along with other dining options present. Check out Kidzapalooza for kid friendly musical choices.

Things to know

Lollapalooza sold out, like, in the first minute, so if you want tickets you should start sleuthing. Unless you want to spend $3,600 on the Platinum Passes, which are readily available on the festival’s site. Outside booze and food are prohibited from outside sources. Plan to take mass transit or bike to and from Grant Park, because Chicago traffic ain’t no fun.

lollapalooza2Since its genesis in 1991, Lollapalooza has been one of the country’s most famed festivals. Synonymous with the likes of Bonnaroo and Coachella, Lollapalooza famously sells out in a matter of minutes these days. This urban festival hosts widely popular music, which makes it universally appealing for those who simply just want to get down. Here you are just as likely to see hoopers are you are hipsters.

Located in Grant Park, Lollapalooza offers a tremendous view of Lake Michigan. Also, after the festival has closed down for the night, there’s the option to go bar-hopping or whatever you like to do in the Windy City. As with all the previously mentioned festies, there’s no lodging provided at the grounds, so it is up to the Lollapaloozers themselves to arrange a home base.

It’s easy to see why the tickets were drained so quickly this year. Headliners like Eminem, Outkast, and King of Leon tend to pull in the masses. With an equal mix of EDM, Hip-Hop, and Alternative Rock, Lollapalooza has delivered an incredible lineup up for the everyday music lover.




Kings of Leon

Arctic Monkeys


Calvin Harris

More Awesomeness:



Foster the People

Avett Brothers


Chance the Rapper

Broken Bells

Glitch Mob

Potugal the. Man



 4.) Moogfest: The Synthesis of Art, Technology & Music


Moogfest 2014

When: April 23-27

Where: Asheville, NC

Cost: Day & Night passes $375.00 & up

*No lodging included*

Style: Electronic

Moogfest 2014

Moogfest 2014

Extra Attractions

Daily workshops led by progressives in the fields of music, art, and technology. Yoga, film presentations, and the beauty of scenic Asheville all play into the allure of this festival.

Things to Know

This entire event takes on much more of a conference vibe than your standard music festival. This doesn’t exactly seem like the ideal format to go buck wild, so put on your business-casual threads and plan to have your mind academically expanded.

Moogfest 2014 is going to be quite different from its previous years. Founded by Dr. Bob Moog, founder of Moog Music, and his colleagues in 2004, Moogfest has expanded its format in 2014 from a 3-day festival into a 5-day event.  It feels a bit like SXSW in that it offers discussion panels, workshops, and symposiums in technology, music, and art.moogfest

Plan for day time conferences that focus on experimental technology, and nighttime performances by cutting edge electronic acts. The festival is sprawled across the face of Asheville, so venue hopping will be something to plan for. Also, don’t be so drawn into the illuminating technological screens that you forget to stop and absorb the rustic beauty of mountainous Asheville.

Keeping it deep this year, Moogfest is hosting numerous premiere electronic artists. Ranging from the Pet Shop Boys to MIA and Riff-Raff to RJD2, this festival’s lineup should leave no electronic music fan disappointed.




Pet Shop Boys


Flying Lotus

Giorgio Moroder

Chic ft. Nile Rodgers

Keith Emerson

Zeds Dead


Dillon Francis

More Awesomeness:

Avey Tare’s Slasher Flicks

Eliot Lip





5.) Summerfest

Summerfest 2014

Summerfest 2014

When: June 25-29 & July 1-6

Where: Milwaukee, WI Henry Maier Festival Park

Cost: GA Power Pass Ticket $70, GA day passes $16

*No lodging provided*

Style: Mainstream/ Radio Friendly


Extra Attractions

75 acres on a lake front setting with over 45 food vendors, and various interactive activities.

Things to Know

Lodging accommodations should be made on a personal basis. Making sure to arrange transportation to and from the festival grounds would be a good game plan. Since food and beverage are heavily advertised on the site, it would be a fair guess to say outside food and alcohol is prohibited.

summerfestIt only seems proper to address the world’s largest music festival in this article. There will be over 800 acts playing on 11 stages over 11 days. Settled on the shores of Lake Michigan, Summerfest will host over 1,000 performances. Originally founded in 1968 by Milwaukee’s mayor, this festival has evolved into an attraction that’s draws about 900,000 people.

So who are some of these 800 acts? Well, since this festival is quite family friendly there is a broad variety of artists performing. While wandering around these festival grounds in Milwaukee you could just as easily bump into a Bruno Mars concert as a Dave Matthews band show. For the radio loving music fan, this festival offers a myriad of selections.


Bruno Mars

Lady GaGa

Brad Paisley


Dave Matthews Band

Zac Brown Band

Motley Crue

Fallout Boy & Paramore


More Awesomeness:


Girl Talk


Tegan and Sara

Umphrey’s McGee


We’re not finished yet! Stay tuned for the third installment of The Midwesterner’s Guide to Music Festivals.

Continued from: The Midwesterner’s Guide to Music Festivals Pt. 1: In Our Own Backyard

Next in the series: The Midwesterner’s Guide to Music Festivals: East Coast Styleeee