The greater Champaign County area is a hotbed for festivals and events that are sure to give your Instagram followers FOMO. We’ve created a list of our top 5 festivals, featuring the best in music, culture and food, so you don’t miss out.
Matsuri Festival | September 9, 2018
Japanese culture will be celebrated at this growing festival, held at the Japan House at the University of Illinois. Returning for its fourth year in 2018 and celebrating the 20th anniversary of the Japan House, Matsuri features sake tastings, tea ceremonies, martial art demonstrations and local, Asian-inspired food and drinks. Special performances from internationally known Japanese rock bands the 220.127.116.11’s and Shonen Knife will surely impress before the evening ends with fireworks over the scenic Arboretum.
CU PrideFest | September 14–16, 2018
This family-friendly event is the largest Pride celebration south of Chicago and the only celebration in September. Complete with a colorful parade through the streets of downtown Champaign, a drag brunch, community vendors and evening parties, this weekend-long festival puts our pride on full display for all to enjoy.
PYGMALION | September 26–29, 2018
This festival features a mixture of components that have been curated over the decade-plus of its existence: music, literature, technology & hacking, crafts and food. In 2018, the festival adds even more to the experience: comedy and podcasts. You’ll find no other event quite like it, showcasing local talent alongside headliners like Tig Notaro (comedy), Playboi Carti and Mount Kimbie (music), and Luis Alberto Urrea and Safiya Noble (literature). Where else can you watch a Tesla coil in an amphitheater, eat local food and listen to live music and a poetry marathon in one culture-filled weekend?
Champaign-Urbana Folk & Roots Festival | October 18–20, 2018
Celebrating 10 years in 2018, this festival brings together national and local folk artists for more than 80 high-quality folk performances and participatory activities throughout downtown Urbana. For its special anniversary, singer/songwriter Robbie Fulks, who headlined the inaugural festival in 2008, returns alongside dozens of other headliners and performers. The incorporation of dance, education, jams, song circles, storytelling and much more make for a full, Outside of Ordinary weekend of celebrating music.
Ready to make your friends jealous of your weekend plans? Start planning with our complimentary visitors guide.