It’s spring time and we all know where that leads; Less time spent on college courses and more time spent getting drunk while camping in a field near the festival you’re going to attend for 3 days to see the bands you wish would tour near your city, but dont. The difficult part about the festival season is the fact that their all so damn expensive and they all require a bit of planning. There are 5 major festivals to consider and i’ve chosen, what i feel, are the strongest festivals in each area of the United States (West Coast, East Coast and South). I have compiled what festivals i am most excited about this coming season and who to look forward to the most at each. Prices can be found at the links provided along with line ups and potential camping/lodging. I can tell you from personal experience that the price you’re looking at paying is completely worth the experience and if you’re going to do it then go all out and make it a life changing event.
1. Newport Folk Festival-
Highlights: This event is one of the more selective festivals the United States has to offer. Aiming more towards the folk/indie crowd the festival showcases the few stars of the scene that exist and up and coming artists to watch out for. Mainly acoustic and singer/songwriter in nature, the festival is only 2 days and at a whopping $144 dollars for a festival pass it is definitely more aimed at those with specific tastes due to the lack of overall variety.
Main Artists to look out for: My Morning Jacket, Conor Oberst, The Tallest Man on Earth, Iron & Wine, Dawes, Deer Tick, City and Colour, Blind Pilot, First Aid Kit
Highlights: In the sea of options you have for summer festival attendance (unless your one of those people fortunate enough to attend more then one a year), Bonnaroo is the Leviathan of festivals; offering everything from Rock, Indie, Pop, Punk, Hip Hop, Soul, Reggae, Electronic, Experimental and everything in between. Staged in Tennessee it is in the direct center of the eastern seaboard so anyone from Manhattan to Miami could feasibly attend and with a line up like this years they should all be contemplating it.
Main Artists to look out for: Radiohead, Phish, Red Hot Chili Peppers, The Beach Boys (oh my god), Bon Iver, The Avett Brothers, Danzig Legacy (Misfits fans rejoice, Danzig/Doyle will be together again performing Misfits songs only they might actually perform some this time), Ben Folds Five, Childish Gambino (Donald Glover of ‘Community’ fame), Flying Lotus, Two Door Cinema Club, St. Vincent, Bad Brains, Battles, etc. The list seriously is too long to list, just click the link.
3. Sasquatch Music Festival
Highlights: The scenery of this festival is enough of a reason to attend. ‘The Gorge’ is, without doubt, the most beautiful venue for a music festival that i have ever seen not to mention the Pacific Northwest Weather and free camping. The Line up itself offers a bit of variety while, like all the festivals, has a lot of the same names. It seems that most of the larger festivals are reserved for either coast of the US and Sasquatch is one of the strongest in the West and is catered more to the Indie/Folk crowd.
Main Artists to look out for: Jack White, Beck, Bon Iver, THE RETURN OF TENACIOUS D!, The Shins, Beirut, Silversun Pickups, M. Ward, Of Monsters and Men, The Walkmen, Ted Leo & The Pharmacists, Allen Stone, Hey Marseilles, Howlin Rain.
Highlights: Coachella is easily Bonnaroo’s biggest rival and is known for bring well known acts back from the grave, this year being no exception. The festival is in fact, so big that they have 2 separate shows planned, both 3 straight days. The line up is solid and as per usual is bringing back the type of acts we all dreamed about; i.e. Snoop and Dr. Dre/ At the Drive In. The only negatives about this festival is the location; being directly in the center of the desert the heat is a known deterrent for those on the fence about attending; also the fact that this years Coachella sold out in literally 3 hours. With the kind of quality acts that Coachella is capable of bring up, dying of heat stroke during At the Drive In’s first show in 10 years sounds like a noble way to go, long as you can find a ticket.
Main Artists to look out for: Radiohead (Yes. THE Radiohead), Bon Iver, Jeff Mangum, Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg, At the Drive-In, Gotye, The Black Keys, Arctic Monkeys, M83, The Shins, Andrew Bird, Noel Gallagher, The Buzzcocks, Kasabian, Manchester Orchestra, Girl Talk, The Hives,
5. Hangout Festival
Highlights: The Southern United States is always the last area to show up to the party, be it joining the union and uniting as one country or music festivals. Hangout festival is hosted on the beautiful Gulf shores of Alabama and is a fairly new festival, 2012 being it’s third year in existence. That being said, nothing says summer more then spending a weekend at the beach; why not add in beautiful hotels and some of your favorite bands as well? While it might not have as much to offer as the bigger festivals, the south is starting to come up as contenders in the Music Festival scene and in a few years time the Gulf Shores of Alabama are going to be the place to be.
Main Artists to look out for: Dave Matthews Band, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Jack White, Wilco, The Flaming Lips, Chris Cornell, Gorgel Bordello, Coheed and Cambria, Randy Newman, Dr. Dog.
Sadly this is all the news i have. Other known large festivals to look into would be Austin City Limits, SXSW, and Voodoo Experience. Check this page again for updates on those festivals line ups which are yet to be announced. Remember that the point of a music festival is more about the experience then the music but let the music and area decide where you want to go. All of the festivals listed will cost a fair amount of money, but ways to save are look into carpooling and lodging options and if you can find someone with a big enough tent/car then look into camping or campgrounds. If you let it, the festival experience can be one of the most rewarding and livening experiences of y0ur life and who doesn’t want or need that?