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.
2015 (Note: Dillo Day was canceled in 2015 due to high winds.)
- The GTW
- Sirr Tmo
- Teen Witch Fan Club
- A DJ set by Northwestern University alumnus William Butler, member of Arcade Fire
- Ted Leo and the Pharmacists
- A DJ set by Flosstradamus
- Broken Social Scene
- Third Eye Blind
- The Cool Kids
- Clash Gordon
- DJ Sicarii
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.
- "Northwestern Traditions", Northwestern University Office of Undergraduate Admissions
- Matt Connolly, "Week in Review May 26: Dillo Day, lacrosse and coupon apps", North by Northwestern, 26 May 2011
- "Full Dillo Day lineup posted", The Daily Northwestern, 25 May 2010
- Liz Coffin-Karlin, "Third Eye Blind will headline Dillo Day lineup", North by Northwestern, 25 May 2008
- Youtube video of Colbert's commencement speech at Northwestern University, 2011: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m6tiaooiIo0