Looking for music festivals in in Illinois? We got you! Whether you need booking info so you can apply to perform at festivals or are interested in attending events in your town or city, discover music festivals of all sizes on FestivalNet. We publish art shows with stages for regional talent, expos of all sorts that feature local and national entertainment, and craft shows in your own backyard that include all kinds of entertainment! Serving the events industry since 1996, FestivalNet offers many ways to find the right event! Set up a free or pro membership and gain access to search by event attendance, number of stages, genres & types of music, whether there's food trucks, fine art, or anything in between...! Ready? Peruse upcoming music festivals below and join our website for extensive booking information!
Whether you want to see a live set from award-winning country stars or you’re a fan of classical music and opera, musical experiences have a way to enrich one’s life. Our team at FestivalNet has worked with independent musicians for several years now. As music lovers, we understand that a music festival is much more than a lineup of great musical performances – it’s the joy of sharing your love for your favorite music with a collective group of like-minded souls. It’s almost as if all the differences created by societal construct are left behind once you enter the festival’s pearly gates, so to speak.
We have seen patrons forget about each other’s gender, race, economic status, sexual orientation, and other qualifiers as everybody sways to the same tunes. We have also seen people moved to tears after a particularly powerful performance by a passionate singer. Whether you’re a musician, music director, or just someone who is really into music, we have got an incredible selection of festivals for you to attend this year.
Walnut Festival, Walnut Creek (California)
Held at Heather Farm Park, the Black Walnut Festival offers a lot more than music. It features more than 120 vendors and a large carnival with 30 or so rides, along with two stages for live music and entertainment. The 4-day festival usually takes place in September or October, with over 7,000 visitors attending the festival per day.
They showcase some of the best regional and local talent including jewelers, designers, craftsmen, artists, craft beer garden, specialty food, builders, and more. You can shop for a wide range of items: vintage and antiques, handmade crafts, fun novelties, fresh fall produce, and wood carvings.
Black Walnut also hosts a baking contest and auction, a car and truck show, a petting zoo, a train ride and tractor pull for children, and a kid’s art show. Children are sure to have a golden time with caricature artists and face painting. If you’re brave enough, there’s a haunted wagon tour too! Don’t forget to grab some of their famous homemade, hand-cranked ice creams.
Redneck Revival, Conesville (Iowa)
This is a good old-fashioned adult biker party – you must be 21+ to attend. The NSFW event features live music performances, outlaw bike and car drags, camping, and tons of food and beverage vendors. Redneck Revival is definitely NOT for the faint of heart! From bikes to BBQ to blues music, this festival has a lot to offer.
SantaCaliGon Days Festival, Independence (Missouri)
This annual, late summer music festival has been a part of Labor Day weekend celebrations in Independence, MO, for over five decades. Every year, thousands of people visit the Queen City of the Trails for the 4-day SantaCaliGon Days Festival to enjoy live music, food, drink, entertainment, and shopping. They also have more than 500 craft booths selling handcrafted goods!
ONE Musicfest, Atlanta (Georgia)
ONE Musicfest has been known to bring together a diverse lineup of artists hailing from almost every genre: soul, trap beats, house, R&B, hip-hop, old school, and so much more. The likes of Kendrick Lamar, Andra Day, The Roots, and Cee-Lo Green have played at this music festival in the past. It’s no wonder the event has been recognized by MTV, Rolling Stone, and Billboard as “one of the best musical experiences”.
The festival venue is another big draw for the visitors. It’s held at the Centennial Olympic Park in downtown Atlanta, which is one of the greenest and most popular picnic spots in the city.
You’ll also get to check out Atlanta’s best food trucks serving an unbelievable number of options, including waffles, burgers, frozen custard, stir fry, seafood, BBQ, and vegan and vegetarian delicacies.
How Do You Get Booked to Perform at a Music Festival?
Booking a music festival gig is always exciting for emerging artists, but it can also be a great opportunity to grow your fanbase and grab the attention of the industry’s who’s who. Getting accepted to perform in a festival lineup shows that you are not only a super talented musician, but you’re serious about your career.
The general way it works is, festival directors first secure the headliners for the event. Then they start filling the other spots with up-and-coming musicians.
It should be noted that getting a slot in one of these events is not just about having talent. You will need to find the best music festivals that fit your music style, prepare an absolute winner of application, and follow the submission process to the T. Here are some tips to help you do that:
Choose the Right Festivals
It’s tempting to apply to every music festival that is accepting submissions to increase your odds of getting booked, but being selective is a far better approach. Be realistic about whether you/your band is ready for a festival and your music is suitable; value the promoters’ time.
Start this research several months beforehand, and target events that are likely to line up your genre of music. Figure out where similar bands have performed and check out festival directories like FestivalNet for opportunities.
Work on Your Skills
Because of the exposure they offer, musical fests are highly competitive. To increase of chances of getting accepted, your live show must be impressive and unforgettable. Play live shows regularly to improve your stage presence and chops to make sure your performance is perfect.
Also, focus on networking with fellow musicians, talent buyers, and local promoters while you gain experience playing shows. The music industry is not that big, especially if you are active in your local scene. When you’re consistently putting yourself out there with a great live show, word is bound to get around, which means you’ll have a better chance of getting picked for the festivals.
Have a Compelling Press Kit Ready
Getting into a music festival as an independent artist takes a lot of work. Once you have a list of festivals you want to perform at, make sure your application is extraordinary. Having great music is priority #1, but promoters also look at other details to determine if you’re ready for a festival stage.
Create a press kit for yourself/ your band to highlight these important factors. A professional-looking Electronic Press Kit (EPK) on your artist website sends the message that you have your act together. This kit should include:
- A Great Bio: Write a musician bio that is catchy, concise, and highlights your uniqueness. It should be short, but long enough to hit on all the relevant points, like other festivals and events you’ve performed at. If this is not possible, include live streamed performances with numbers to demonstrate your draw.
- Professional Pictures: You could be the best yet-to-be-discovered band on the west coast, but festival organizers won’t take you seriously if you can’t present yourself in a professional manner. High-definition photographs are a must in your press kit. You should also include a few live shots in addition to standard press photos to convey your onstage look and energy.
- High-Quality Live Video: The best way to convince people that you can put on a memorable show is by showing it to them first! Include a live performance video – even if it’s footage from a small venue in a tiny town – in your kit. Make sure it has good quality audio and is well-filmed.
- Press and Reviews: If your live show has received any reviews or press coverage (online or offline), include a snapshot or link to it in your kit.
- Social Media: Event promoters almost always check out musicians’ presence on social media. This includes any activity on streaming platforms. Make sure to include links to your social media and streaming accounts.
Ready to Turn Your Hobby into a Lucrative Career?
Since 1996, FestivalNet has served the events community by publishing the most comprehensive database of fairs, festivals, expos, and shows in North America. Our goal is to expand the reach and presence of our members who range from musicians and artisans to event promoters, vendors, and festival goers. Join us today to avail luxury perks and get official updates about the upcoming events near you. If you need any festival help to set up your event booth, we can help with that too.