Dillo Day

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B.o.B performing at Dillo Day 2011.

Dillo Day is an annual all-day music festival at Northwestern University that takes place on the last Saturday of May at the Lakefill. Begun in 1972, it is organized by the Mayfest student group and is the largest completely student-run festival of its kind.


The festival has its roots in May Day, or Mayfete. Mayfete was a time when students would celebrate the "renunciation of the May Queen of the temporal world for a spiritual one," according to a 1951 history of the event. Although little is known about the early days, May Day was originally a celebration of the women of Northwestern. The crowning of the May Queen was the central event, and the pomp included a Maypole dance and cotillion. May Day expanded to May Week in 1946 to accommodate a women's sing, men's sing, and an honors ceremony.

Armadillo Day began in 1972. In 1981 the A&O board first produced a free two day outdoor concert event to coincide with Armadillo Day, featuring rockabilly revivalist Robert Gordon on Friday, and blues legend Muddy Waters on Saturday. The all-day Saturday concert event on the shores of Lake Michigan has continued the tradition of presenting major industry artists. Food trucks and a "Dillo Village" surround the two stages. Northwestern University lists Dillo Day as one of its most notable traditions.[1]

2016 lineup[edit]

Main Stage[2]

WNUR Stage[3]

Past lineups[edit]

2015 (Note: Dillo Day was canceled in 2015 due to high winds.)

Main Stage

WNUR Stage[7]


Main Stage

IndieU Stage[12] presented by WNUR[13]

  • Tink
  • The GTW
  • Sirr Tmo
  • Teen Witch Fan Club

2013 [14]

2012 [14]

2011 [15]

2010 [16]

2009 [17]

2008 [18]

Past headlining bands include The Roots, Cake, and Lupe Fiasco in 2007, and Robert Randolph and the Family Band and Ben Folds in 2006. Performers from previous years include George Clinton, Yellowman, Third World, The Wailers, The Crystal Method, Outkast, and Bela Fleck and the Flecktones.[17]


Stephen Colbert mentioned Dillo Day at his 2011 Northwestern University commencement speech (Northwestern is Colbert's alma mater, where he was a theater major in the 1980s).[19]


External links[edit]