Watch CBS News

Crowds to head to Chicago's Grant Park as Sueños Music Festival kicks off summertime

Sueños Music Festival set to kick off Chicago festival season
Sueños Music Festival set to kick off Chicago festival season 03:14

CHICAGO (CBS) -- The 3rd Sueños Music Festival begins Saturday in Grant Park as the Chicago summertime festival season begins.

The festival runs from noon to 10 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

Suenos Festival

Sueños, Spanish for dreams, first debuted in Grant Park back in 2022. It has already become one of the largest Latin music festivals in the United States.

About 80,000 fans turned out last year. This year, 130,000 are expected.

The Suenos festival in 2023. Annie Robillard

CBS 2 caught up with a couple of owners of Chicago family-owned restaurants working as vendors to feed those fans this weekend.

"It's just a great experience for us to get out," said Michael Stolfe, president of Connie's Pizza. "It's a lot of hours and a lot of pizzas."

Connie's Pizza has been serving Chicago since 1963. Stolfe started working festivals at the age of 7.  

"They always sent me out to the fests, so I've been doing it for forever," he said.

Cafe Tola started with the Sueños Festival in its first year and has grown with it. The restaurant—which has four locations on Chicago's North and Northwest sides and also one location in New York City's Greenwich Village—now works several festivals a summer.

"It's really nice to see a company like Sueños have faith in us," said Cafe Tola owner Victoria Salamanca. "It's confirmation that what we're doing is really special; that what we're cooking, who we're employing, and how we're operating the businesses - it's special to us."

For Salamanca, preparing for Sueños means much more than the effort required to make 20,000 handmade empanadas.

"I get a little sentimental," Salamanca said, "because I really am so grateful."

The City of Chicago is preparing too. With Sueños being the first major event of the summer season, street closures began for the festival on Wednesday.

  • Balbo Drive from Columbus Drive to DuSable Lake Shore Drive: May 15 – May 30
  • Columbus Drive, from Ida B Wells Drive to Roosevelt Road: May 23 – May 27th
  • Balbo, from Michigan to Columbus: May 23rd – May 27th

Sidewalk Closures

  • Michigan Avenue, from Jackson Boulevard to Roosevelt Road: May 25 – 26
  • Balbo Drive (both sides, from Columbus Drive to DuSable Lake Shore Drive: May 15 – May 30
  • Balbo Drive (both sides), from Michigan Avenue to Columbus Drive: May 23 – May 27
  • Columbus Drive (both sides), from Roosevelt Road to Balbo Drive: May 15 – May 30
  • Columbus Drive (both sides), from Balbo Drive to Ida B. Wells Drive: May 23 – May 27
  • DuSable Lake Shore Drive (Southbound side), from Buckingham Fountain to Roosevelt Road: May 22 – May 28
  • Congress Plaza Drive, from Michigan Avenue to Columbus Drive: May 25 – May 26

The city's Office of Emergency Management and Communications recommended downloading its app for the latest safety info and alerts in real time. The app can be found through the Apple App and Google Play stores or the website

"Chicago in the summer?" said Stolfe. "There's nothing like it."

"There's so much appreciation, so much love," said Salamanca. "There's so much hustle."

Chicago OEMC: Be prepared

A spokesperson for the OEMC said the office would have its operations center active for the Memorial Day holiday weekend and will be coordinating with the Chicago Police and Fire departments and all other city departments to coordinate security efforts.

With festivals, concerts, sporting events, and the opening of beaches all happening at once this weekend, OEMC also reminded everyone of security measures in place and urged people to be aware of their surroundings – and to report suspicious activity to event security or call 911.

OEMC also noted that markers are posted on poles in Grant Park and all along DuSable Lake Shore Drive so people can reference their location on the lakefront or in the park in the event of an emergency.

The OEMC also advised people to take public transit, such as the Chicago Transit Authority or Metra, to Sueños and other events this holiday weekend. Those who drive are advised to expect heavy traffic and reroutes – and to be aware of the street closures listed above.

The OEMC also advised Chicagoans to be aware of weather conditions and to follow instructions in the event of a weather-related warning.

The office issues alerts and notifications to keep residents and visitors safe and up to date. Anyone may sign up for alerts at

The OEMC also issues text messages for lakefront notices and issues affecting businesses:

·         CHILAKE: For lakefront notices, TEXT "CHILAKE" to 78015

·         CHIBIZ: For alerts affecting businesses, TEXT "CHIBIZ" to 67283.

With beaches opening, the OEMC also issued this news release about swimming and boating safety.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.