These 11 summer music festivals deliver on big names, tons of fun and the best of what host cities have to offer.
With so much outstanding music coming out, it would be a shame to not take in a few concerts, and summer is buzzing with the hottest tickets. Music festivals bring the brightest stars and rising acts recording today and on tour to shrines of fun, outdoor revelry.
Wade into summer music festivals and get your fix for exploration and adventure in the bold cities and towns that host them.
Seventh Annual Roots Picnic
Saturday, May 31- Philadelphia, Penn.
Line-up: The Roots, Snoop Dogg, Janelle Monae, The War on Drugs, Araabmuzik, Rudimental, Action Bronson, A$AP Ferg, Bad Rabbits, Biz Markie, Jhene Aiko, more
How many hip-hop fans can you fit on the Festival Pier at Philadelphia’s Penn’s Landing? The answer is irrelevant, because they’re not actually on the pier, and the picnic that’s actually a one-day festival attracts an audiences that grows larger every spring, and The Roots haven’t hit their limit yet. www.rootspicnic.com
Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival
June 12-15 – Manchester, Tenn.
Line-up: Elton John, Jack White, Kanye West, Vampire Weekend, The Avett Brothers, Skrillex, Arctic Monkeys, The Flaming Lips, Neutral Milk Hotel, Janelle Monae, Andrew Bird & the Hands of Glory, Lauren Hill, Wiz Khalifa, Nick Cave, more
For four days, music revelers of all walks and ages witness a series of recording artists and performers in a variety of musical styles on a great outdoor stage – and no one ever, ever complains that the music is too loud. Considered one of the best festivals around for music, Bonnaroo also makes room for comedy, sustainability, crafters and children. Camp out to get the best experience. www.bonnaroo.com
Firefly Music Festival
June 19-22 – Dover, Del.
Line-up: Foo Fighters, Imagine Dragons, Beck, Outkast, Jack Johnson, Phantogram, the Lumineers, Pretty Lights, Tegan and Sara, Courtney Barnett, Local Natives, Arctic Monkeys, Iron & Wine, Sky Ferreira, more
Bonnaroo may have been the inspiration, but the Firefly Music Festival has quickly developed its own identity as a premier summer music festival for the East Coast. Complete with camping, local partnerships and a nod to environmental friendliness, this festival prides itself on bringing top national acts to a stage nestled in a woodland setting and with an arcade tent planted somewhere among the fun. www.fireflyfestival.com
June 19-22 – Calgary, Alberta, Canada
Line-up: Neko Case, St. Vincent, Rhye, Spiritualized, Chelsea Wolfe, Blitzen Trapper, Rocket From the Crypt, Joel Plaskett Emergency, Mission of Burma, Touche Amore, more
You’ll need your passport to join this northern escape for some of indie rock’s coolest acts. Calgary’s Sled Island is not really an island, but the festival hopes to inspire its audience by sending them into unusual venues for concerts and introducing new acts to the stage. Never heard the band Quaker Parents? Neither have we, but that’s okay. “This festival caters to people who aren’t intimidated by not knowing something,” states the website. www.sledisland.com
June 25-29 and July 1-6
Line-up: Bruno Mars, Lady Gaga, Brad Paisley, Outkast, Dave Matthews Band, Usher, Zac Brown Band, Ray LaMontagne, Melissa Etheridge, Bonnie Raitt, Matisyahu, Neon Trees, Airborne Toxic Event, The Head and the Heart, more
Some outdoor festivals become grazing pastures when the last camper has rolled out, but Summerfest never really ends. The festival has been going strong since the 1970s at the Henry Maier Festival Park on the shores of Lake Michigan. Hosting close to a million people annually by attracting the biggest stars, “The Big Gig” shows no signs of drifting away. www.summerfest.com