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September 2019 events calendar for Chicago

Summer is almost over, but September in Chicago is packed with things to do, including festivals, concerts and theater

Punks and rockers gathered in Douglas Park for the final day of Riot Fest, September 13, 2015.
Photograph: Max Herman
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The arrival of September may signal that the end of summer in Chicago is drawing near, but we still have a few more weeks of warm weather to enjoy. When you're not frequenting beer gardens and rooftop bars before they close for the season, you can shop for handmade goods at the Renegade Craft Fair, indulge in musical nostalgia at Riot Fest and sample dishes from some of the city's hottest chefs at Chicago Gourmet. Plus, you'll find a long list of Oktoberfest celebrations, no less than two different jazz festivals and concerts from the likes of Chance the Rapper, Lizzo, The Black Keys and more. Find more of the best things to do in Chicago this month with the help or our September events calendar.

RECOMMENDED: Events calendar for Chicago in 2019

Featured events in September 2019

Eddie Palmieri
Photograph: Courtesy DCASE
Music, Jazz

Chicago Jazz Festival

icon-location-pin Multiple venues
icon-calendar

Some of the biggest names in jazz come to Chicago for a series of shows at Pritzker Pavilion in Millennium Park during this annual festival. This year's lineup features the Art Ensemble of Chicago, jazz vocalist Cécile McLorin Salvant, legendary pianist Eddie Palmieri and a tribute to Nat King Cole (led by his brother, Freddy Cole). In the week leading up to the festival, you'll be able to catch free shows at venues like Constellation, Hungry Brain and PianoForte Chicago.

Tour de Fat 2016
Photograph: Jaclyn Rivas
Things to do, Festivals

Chicago Bike Revolution

icon-location-pin Humboldt Park Boathouse, Humboldt Park
icon-calendar

New Belgium Brewing's Tour de Fat event is taking a year off, so West Town Bikes is teaming up with Revolution Brewing to present a new beer and biking festival in its stead. It looks pretty familiar: there's a bik parade to kick off the day, plenty of cold beverages to enjoy, an appearance from local marching band Mucca Pazza and a stacked list of local musicians taking the stage throughout the afternoon. Soulful duo the O'My's headline the day's festivities, with support from singer/rapper/saxophonist Sen Morimoto, psych rock collective Glad Rags, poct-punk act Negative Scanner and synth-pop outfit Little Church. Proceeds from the event keep West Town Bikes' classes and youth programs rolling year-round.

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Oktoberfest
Photograph: Pixabay
Things to do, Festivals

German-American Oktoberfest

icon-location-pin Western and Leland Aves, Lincoln Square
icon-calendar

Grab a plastic stein and munch on a pretzel at this annual Lincoln Square celebration of Deutschland heritage, which kicks off Oktoberfest season in Chicago. The street party takes place under two gigantic tents and features plenty of German food, music and dancing. Make sure to stop by to see the annual Von Steuben Parade march up Lincoln Avenue on Saturday, September 7 at 2pm.

Photograph: Jaclyn Rivas
Shopping, Markets and fairs

Renegade Craft Fair

icon-location-pin Division St between Damen Ave and Ashland Ave, Wicker Park
icon-calendar

Renegade Craft Fair's fall festival takes over Division Street in Wicker Park, where makers from across the nation will be selling their handmade art and wares, including jewelry, pottery, prints, T-shirts and more. When you're not browsing the offerings of more than 400 vendors, you'll enjoy food from local restaurants, cool drinks and hot tunes being spun by Chicago DJs.

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riot fest 2018
Photograph: Kate Scott
Music, Music festivals

Riot Fest

icon-location-pin Douglas Park, North Lawndale
icon-calendar

It's the social event of the season for anyone with a denim jacket covered in patches hanging in their closet. Riot Fest brings a lineup of rock, hip-hop and punk acts to Douglas Park for a three-day carnival of music (there's even a Ferris wheel), where attendees can eat corn dogs and enjoy some of the final gasps of warm summer weather. This year, Blink-182, Slayer, Bikini Kill, the Raconteurs and Rise Against headline the festival, joined by acts like the Flaming Lips, Jawbreaker, Ween, Patti Smith and Die Antwoord. It also happens to be Riot Fest's 15th anniversary, so maybe there will be some cake?

EXPO Chicago
Photograph: Zach Long
Art, Fairs

EXPO Chicago

icon-location-pin Navy Pier | Chicago, IL, Streeterville
icon-calendar

The International Exposition of Contemporary and Modern Art (better known as EXPO Chicago) returns to Navy Pier, hosting more than 100 of the world's prominent contemporary galleries. You’ll see towering installations, sprawling canvases, intriguing sculptures and more cutting-edge art at this annual gathering, which features work by artists from around the globe. EXPO Chicago also presents conversations with artists public art installations and more ways to immerse yourself in the creative spirit of the event. If you simply can't wait to experience it all, snag a ticket to the Vernissage night (September 19) for a preview of all the cool stuff on display.

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Kurt Vile and the Violators played to an enthusiastic crowd during an unexpectedly stormy Saturday at Pitchfork Music Festival, July 18, 2015.
Photograph: Hallie Duesenberg
Music, Music festivals

312 Block Party

icon-location-pin Goose Island Brewery, United Center
icon-calendar

Haven't made it to a bonafide Chicago block party yet this year? You'll get your chance to celebrate in the streets at Goose Island's annual end-of-the-summer soirée on the pavement outside of its Fulton Street brewery. The 312 Block Party brings together a stacked lineup of performers, food truck fare and plenty of beer (for just $3 a pop)—and your $10 donation at the gate supports local charities. On Friday, September 20, country singer-songwriter Jenny Lewis headlines the party, with support from Nashville balladeer Margo Price and actor-turned-musician Lola Kirke. Laid-back rocker Kurt Vile (whose set at July's Pitchfork Music Festival was rained out) tops the bill on Saturday, September 21, joined by D.C. punks Priests and soulful psych rockers the Budos Band. You'll also find local acts like Rookie, Cafe Racer, Dogs at Large, Ben Pirani, Manwolves, Roy Kinsey and Tatiana Hazel at the two-day fest. With so much great music and cheap beer on tap, the 312 Block Party usually fills up quickly, so we recommend arriving early (the fest's entrance is at Fulton St and Wolcott Ave) and have a few drinks while you wait for your favorite act to play.

The annual Chicago Gourmet festival features tastings, cookoffs, book signings and more.
Photograph: Max Herman
Things to do, Festivals

Chicago Gourmet

icon-location-pin Millennium Park | Chicago, IL, Millennium Park
icon-calendar

The annual three-day festival kicks off Friday with its Hamburger Hop throwdown, where you can taste creative patties cooked by a stacked lineup of chefs. On Saturday and Sunday, Millennium Park hosts the Grand Tasting event, filling the Great Lawn with cooking demos, tasting pavilions and a wine sampling. This year's event features local celebs such as Diana Dávila, Joe Flamm, Rick Bayless and more.

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Beer Hoptacular
Photograph: Courtesy Beer Hoptacular
Things to do, Festivals

BeerHoptacular

icon-location-pin Vertiport Chicago, Little Italy, UIC
icon-calendar

One of Chicago's most expansive craft beer festivals sets up in a helicopter hanger this year, offering more than 150 different brews to taste over the course of an afternoon. The Beerhoptacular also features a homebrew competition and much more.

Amir ElSaffar
Photograph: Michael Crommett
Music, Jazz

Hyde Park Jazz Festival

icon-location-pin Various venues, Loop
icon-calendar

If you're still yearning for more meandering solos and shifting rhythms after the Chicago Jazz Festival, head to Hyde Park for this annual event that focuses on local performers. The Hyde Park Jazz Festival takes over venues throughout the South Side neighborhood, welcoming two days of performances from acts like local multi-instrumentalist Angel Bat Dawid, trumpeter Amir ElSaffar’s and the debut of saxophonist Greg Ward’s new band Rogue Parade. During the afternoon, many of the concerts take place on two outdoor stages at Midway Plaisance, while the evening moves the music to places like the Logan Center and Rockefeller Chapel.

Festivals in September 2019

Eddie Palmieri
Photograph: Courtesy DCASE
Music, Jazz

Chicago Jazz Festival

icon-location-pin Multiple venues
icon-calendar

Some of the biggest names in jazz come to Chicago for a series of shows at Pritzker Pavilion in Millennium Park during this annual festival. This year's lineup features the Art Ensemble of Chicago, jazz vocalist Cécile McLorin Salvant, legendary pianist Eddie Palmieri and a tribute to Nat King Cole (led by his brother, Freddy Cole). In the week leading up to the festival, you'll be able to catch free shows at venues like Constellation, Hungry Brain and PianoForte Chicago.

Pierogi
Photograph: Pixabay
Things to do, Festivals

Taste of Polonia

icon-location-pin Copernicus Center, Jefferson Park
icon-calendar

Feast on potato pancakes, kielbasa, pierogi, blitzes and more at this annual Polish celebration during Labor Day weekend. Once you're full, stick around to take in performances from polka bands and tribute acts, explore photos of Polish Chicago between 1850 and 1939, watch traditional dance groups or enter a cow milking contest.

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Tour de Fat 2016
Photograph: Jaclyn Rivas
Things to do, Festivals

Chicago Bike Revolution

icon-location-pin Humboldt Park Boathouse, Humboldt Park
icon-calendar

New Belgium Brewing's Tour de Fat event is taking a year off, so West Town Bikes is teaming up with Revolution Brewing to present a new beer and biking festival in its stead. It looks pretty familiar: there's a bik parade to kick off the day, plenty of cold beverages to enjoy, an appearance from local marching band Mucca Pazza and a stacked list of local musicians taking the stage throughout the afternoon. Soulful duo the O'My's headline the day's festivities, with support from singer/rapper/saxophonist Sen Morimoto, psych rock collective Glad Rags, poct-punk act Negative Scanner and synth-pop outfit Little Church. Proceeds from the event keep West Town Bikes' classes and youth programs rolling year-round.

Kveik Fest
Photograph: Courtesy District Brew Yards
Things to do, Festivals

Kveik Fest

icon-location-pin District Brew Yards, River West/West Town
icon-calendar

The inaugural beer festival at District Brew Yards explores a Norwegian farmhouse ale yeast called kveik that has recently become available to brewers in North America. A lineup of local breweries such as Burnt City, Penrose, Off Color, Marz and Illuminated Brew Works will be sampling their creations at the festival, giving attendees a chance to experience the various styles that benefit from the event's titular yeast. Plus, Norwegian beer expert Lars Marius Garshol will be in attedance to answer questions about kveik yeast and its various brewing applications. The event will take place in the District Brew Yards parking lot and each guest will recieve 20 drink tickets that can be redeemed for 3oz samples.

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Oktoberfest
Photograph: Pixabay
Things to do, Festivals

German-American Oktoberfest

icon-location-pin Western and Leland Aves, Lincoln Square
icon-calendar

Grab a plastic stein and munch on a pretzel at this annual Lincoln Square celebration of Deutschland heritage, which kicks off Oktoberfest season in Chicago. The street party takes place under two gigantic tents and features plenty of German food, music and dancing. Make sure to stop by to see the annual Von Steuben Parade march up Lincoln Avenue on Saturday, September 7 at 2pm.

Photograph: Jaclyn Rivas
Shopping, Markets and fairs

Renegade Craft Fair

icon-location-pin Division St between Damen Ave and Ashland Ave, Wicker Park
icon-calendar

Renegade Craft Fair's fall festival takes over Division Street in Wicker Park, where makers from across the nation will be selling their handmade art and wares, including jewelry, pottery, prints, T-shirts and more. When you're not browsing the offerings of more than 400 vendors, you'll enjoy food from local restaurants, cool drinks and hot tunes being spun by Chicago DJs.

Advertising
Camera
Music, Latin and world

World Music Festival

icon-location-pin Multiple venues
icon-calendar

See musicians from India, Peru, France, South Africa, China and more locations around the globe at the annual World Music Festival, which stages a series of free concerts at venues throughout the city during the month of September. As usual, the festival kicks off with an overnight Ragamala concert at the Chicago Cultural Center, featuring 14 hours of classical music from India. Other highlights of this year's lineup include the ¡SÚBELO! concert in Millennium Park featuring acts from Peru, Puerto Rico and Mexico (Sept 14); Chinese rock, reggae and ska band MABANG! (Sept 20, 21) and Afropop artist Thomas Mapfumo & The Blacks Unlimited (Sept 28). The festival concludes at Navy Pier with a series of performances at the World Dumpling Fest on Sept 29. Friday, September 13–Saturday, September 14Ragamala – A Celebration of India Classical MusicChicago Cultural Center, 6pm–8am Saturday, September 14¡SÚBELO! – A Celebration of Pan Latin Music and CulturePirulo y la Tribu (Puerto Rico), Los Wembler’s de Iquitos (Peru), Centavrvs (Mexico)Jay Pritzker Pavilion, 3–7 pm Saturday, September 14Lucibela (Cape Verde), Girma Bèyènè and Akalé Wubé (Ethiopia, France, USA)The Promontory, 6pm Sunday, September 15Girma Bèyènè and Akalé Wubé (Ethiopia, France, USA), Khalil El’Zabar Ethnic Heritage Ensemble (Chicago)Constellation, 7pm Wednesday, September 18The Englewood/Soweto Exchange (Chicago, South Africa), Jeremy Dutcher (First Nation/Canada)Old Town School of Folk Music, 7pm Thursday, Sep

riot fest 2018
Photograph: Kate Scott
Music, Music festivals

Riot Fest

icon-location-pin Douglas Park, North Lawndale
icon-calendar

It's the social event of the season for anyone with a denim jacket covered in patches hanging in their closet. Riot Fest brings a lineup of rock, hip-hop and punk acts to Douglas Park for a three-day carnival of music (there's even a Ferris wheel), where attendees can eat corn dogs and enjoy some of the final gasps of warm summer weather. We don't know when the festival's lineup will be released—and you probably shouldn't ask the fest via Twitter, unless you're willing to be the subject of a biting retort.

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Kurt Vile and the Violators played to an enthusiastic crowd during an unexpectedly stormy Saturday at Pitchfork Music Festival, July 18, 2015.
Photograph: Hallie Duesenberg
Music, Music festivals

312 Block Party

icon-location-pin Goose Island Brewery, United Center
icon-calendar

Haven't made it to a bonafide Chicago block party yet this year? You'll get your chance to celebrate in the streets at Goose Island's annual end-of-the-summer soirée on the pavement outside of its Fulton Street brewery. The 312 Block Party brings together a stacked lineup of performers, food truck fare and plenty of beer (for just $3 a pop)—and your $10 donation at the gate supports local charities. On Friday, September 20, country-tinged singer-songwriter Jenny Lewis headlines the party, with support from Nashville balladeer Margo Price and actor-turned-musician Lola Kirke. Laid-back rocker Kurt Vile (whose set at July's Pitchfork Music Festival was rained out) tops the bill on Saturday, September 21, joined by D.C. punks Priests and soulful psych rockers the Budos Band. You'll also find local acts like Rookie, Cafe Racer, Dogs at Large, Ben Pirani, Manwolves, Roy Kinsey and Tatiana Hazel at the two-day fest. With so much great music and cheap beer on tap, the 312 Block Party usually fills up quickly, so we recommend arriving early (the fest's entrance is at Fulton St and Wolcott Ave) and have a few drinks while you wait for your favorite act to play.

Beer Hoptacular
Photograph: Courtesy Beer Hoptacular
Things to do, Festivals

BeerHoptacular

icon-location-pin Vertiport Chicago, Little Italy, UIC
icon-calendar

One of the Chicago's most expansive craft beer festivals sets up in a helicopter hanger this year, offering more than 150 different brews to taste over the course of an afternoon. The Beerhoptacular also features a homebrew competition and much more.

Show more

Concerts in September 2019

Eddie Palmieri
Photograph: Courtesy DCASE
Music, Jazz

Chicago Jazz Festival

icon-location-pin Multiple venues
icon-calendar

Some of the biggest names in jazz come to Chicago for a series of shows at Pritzker Pavilion in Millennium Park during this annual festival. This year's lineup features the Art Ensemble of Chicago, jazz vocalist Cécile McLorin Salvant, legendary pianist Eddie Palmieri and a tribute to Nat King Cole (led by his brother, Freddy Cole). In the week leading up to the festival, you'll be able to catch free shows at venues like Constellation, Hungry Brain and PianoForte Chicago.

Tyler, the Creator
Photograph: Sam Rock
Music, Rap, hip-hop and R&B

Tyler, The Creator + Jaden Smith + Goldlink

icon-location-pin Credit Union 1 Arena at UIC, Little Italy, UIC
icon-calendar

Tyler, the Creator owes much of his current success to the controversy that he generated as the sophomoric figurehead of Odd Future, the anarchic California hip-hop collective that introduced Earl Sweatshirt and Frank Ocean to the world. But Tyler's last two records have moved beyond the shocking and often problematic rhymes of his past, taking a more open and confessional tone about the artist's own sexuality. On his latest record, Igor, Tyler weaves a tale about a man who is dating another man (who happens to also be dating his ex-girlfriend) wrapped around funky beats, R&B samples and guest verses from the likes of Kanye West and Playboi Carti. It's some of his most beautiful work to-date—and that includes the ice cream flavor he created for Jeni's. Rappers Jaden Smith (yes, he's the son of Will Smith) and GoldLink open the show.

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Sheer Mag
Photograph: Marie Lin
Music, Rock and indie

Sheer Mag + Tweens

icon-location-pin Lincoln Hall, Sheffield & DePaul
icon-calendar

Harnessing the wall-to-wall riffage of ’70s power pop bands and the defiant swagger of punk rockers, Philly outfit Sheer Mag are a blaring force to be reckoned with. On the group's newest album, A Distant Call, lead singer Christina Halladay puts her powerful pipes to use atop anthems that explore a time in her life when she was laid off from her job, newly single and dealing with the sudden death of her estranged father. Cincinnati garage rockers Tweens serve as the evening's opening act.

Kesha
Photograph: Olivia Bee
Music, Pop

Kesha

icon-location-pin Ravinia Pavilion, Suburbs
icon-calendar

It's been nearly a decade since "Tik Tok" introduced us to a pop singer who brushed her teeth with a bottle of Jack and partied until the break of dawn. These days, Kesha has dropped the dollar sign from her name and shed her party girl image. Released in the wake of ongoing lawsuits against her former producer Lukasz “Dr. Luke” Gottwald, Kesha's 2017 album Rainbow never addresses the tumultuous controversy head-on, but the subtext is abundantly clear. From a soaring duet with Dolly Parton to a jam with the Dap-Kings, the record is a showcase of Kesha's talents that purposefully (and joyfully) moves beyond her past (though there's no way she'll make her Ravinia debut without throwing in at least one rendition of "Tik Tok").

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World Music Festival
Photograph: Patrick L. Pyszka
Music, Latin and world

World Music Festival

icon-location-pin Multiple venues
icon-calendar

See musicians from India, Peru, France, South Africa, China and more locations around the globe at the annual World Music Festival, which stages a series of free concerts at venues throughout the city during the month of September. As usual, the festival kicks off with an overnight Ragamala concert at the Chicago Cultural Center, featuring 14 hours of classical music from India. Other highlights of this year's lineup include the ¡SÚBELO! concert in Millennium Park featuring acts from Peru, Puerto Rico and Mexico (Sept 14); Chinese rock, reggae and ska band MABANG! (Sept 20, 21); and Afropop artist Thomas Mapfumo & The Blacks Unlimited (Sept 28). The festival concludes at Navy Pier with a series of performances at the World Dumpling Fest on Sept 29.

riot fest 2018
Photograph: Kate Scott
Music, Music festivals

Riot Fest

icon-location-pin Douglas Park, North Lawndale
icon-calendar

It's the social event of the season for anyone with a denim jacket covered in patches hanging in their closet. Riot Fest brings a lineup of rock, hip-hop and punk acts to Douglas Park for a three-day carnival of music (there's even a Ferris wheel), where attendees can eat corn dogs and enjoy some of the final gasps of warm summer weather. This year, Blink-182, Slayer, Bikini Kill, the Raconteurs and Rise Against headline the festival, joined by acts like the Flaming Lips, Jawbreaker, Ween, Patti Smith and Die Antwoord. It also happens to be Riot Fest's 15th anniversary, so maybe there will be some cake?

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Morrissey
Photograph: Greg Gorman
Music, Rock and indie

Morrissey

icon-location-pin Ravinia Pavilion, Suburbs
icon-calendar

The infamous vegan (remember when he shut down all of the hot dog, taco and burger stands at Riot Fest?) makes his first appearance at Ravinia, headlining the summer-long festival's penultimate performance (which will probably be mostly meat-free, unless security starts confiscating salami from picnic baskets). The former Smiths frontman is touring behind his recent album, California Son, a covers record on which Moz takes on tracks by the likes of Bob Dylan, Roy Orbison and Carly Simon. As usual, we can't be entirely sure that Morrissey will even show up—he's canceled several recent concerts in Chicago due to illness, and September is an opportune time to catch a sudden end-of-the-summer cold.

Tycho
Photograph: Scott Hansen
Music, Dance and electronic

Tycho + Poolside

icon-location-pin Aragon, Uptown
icon-calendar

After creating four albums worth of down-tempo compositions built from vintage synthesizer tones, undulating bass lines and resolute rhythms, Tycho mastermind Scott Hansen had something a little different in mind for his latest release. The group's new record Weather is its first to feature vocals, courtesy of Hannah Cottrell (a.k.a. Saint Sinner), who wraps gentle harmonies around floating guitar lines and twinkling synths. It's a logical evolution that adds a bit more variety to Tycho's sonic palette—and it's not as if they'll be leaving instrumental selections off the setlist entirely. Los Angeles electro-pop duo Poolside (who claim to have originated the "daytime disco" sound) open the show.

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The Avett Brothers
Photograph: Crackerfarm
Music, Folk, country and blues

The Avett Brothers + Trampled By Turtles

icon-location-pin Huntington Bank Pavilion, Museum Campus
icon-calendar

Backed by a pulsing synthesizer and a dance floor beat, the lead single from the Avett Brothers' forthcoming album, Closer Than Together, is a fairly jarring departure from the group's catalog of folk-, country- and bluegrass-tinged tunes. Overseen by the vocal harmonies of Scott and Seth Avett, the stylistic evolution seems closely tied to some of the most overtly sociopolitical songs that the group has ever penned, which unpack the uncertainty of life in a world where fear is on the rise and longstanding values appear to be deteriorating. Headlining the Huntington Bank Pavilion at Northerly Island, the Avett Brothers are joined by folk act Trampled By Turtles.

Kurt Vile and the Violators played to an enthusiastic crowd during an unexpectedly stormy Saturday at Pitchfork Music Festival, July 18, 2015.
Photograph: Hallie Duesenberg
Music, Music festivals

312 Block Party

icon-location-pin Goose Island Brewery, United Center
icon-calendar

Haven't made it to a bonafide Chicago block party yet this year? You'll get your chance to celebrate in the streets at Goose Island's annual end-of-the-summer soirée on the pavement outside of its Fulton Street brewery. The 312 Block Party brings together a stacked lineup of performers, food truck fare and plenty of beer (for just $3 a pop)—and your $10 donation at the gate supports local charities. On Friday, September 20, country-tinged singer-songwriter Jenny Lewis headlines the party, with support from Nashville balladeer Margo Price and actor-turned-musician Lola Kirke. Laid-back rocker Kurt Vile (whose set at July's Pitchfork Music Festival was rained out) tops the bill on Saturday, September 21, joined by D.C. punks Priests and soulful psych rockers the Budos Band. You'll also find local acts like Rookie, Cafe Racer, Dogs at Large, Ben Pirani, Manwolves, Roy Kinsey and Tatiana Hazel at the two-day fest. With so much great music and cheap beer on tap, the 312 Block Party usually fills up quickly, so we recommend arriving early (the fest's entrance is at Fulton St and Wolcott Ave) and have a few drinks while you wait for your favorite act to play.

Show more
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