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It’s that time again. The music, the scene, the nonstop partying: The music festival.

The great and glorious Lollapalooza kicks off tomorrow at 4 p.m., one day earlier than ever before. Which means only one thing for Chicago: One extra day of massive blow-out parties, must-see after shows, concerts, food, new friends, art and anything-goes after parties. And this year promises to one-up last year’s lineup, with names like Flosstradamus, The Last Shadow Puppets, Radiohead, Disclosure and LCD Soundsystem.

If you haven’t gotten tickets yet, there’s still time to catch the event of the season. But if you can’t drop everything and fly to sunny Chicago right now, here are 8 more seriously good summer music festivals you can still make before it starts to get cold again.


City Folk Festival

When and where: September 15–18 in Ottawa, Ontario

The New Pornographers, Dropkick Murphys, Marlon Williams and Charlotte Cardin will all be at City Folk Festival, so naturally you should too. They’ll all be hitting the stage with the beautiful Lansdowne Park as their backdrop. And because indie rock goes best with a cold craft beer, local hangout Beau’s Brewery will be onsite providing plenty of the good stuff. Plus, there’ll be food, and plenty of it. Notably, the festival is vegan-friendly so everyone can chow down in harmony. Don’t forget to stop by the affiliated Marvest for some seriously local music, food and drink. Everything is sourced from within 100 miles.

Backwoods Camping and Music Festival

When and where: September 1–5 in Stroud, Oklahoma

This is what road trips are made for: Stroud, Oklahoma is a small town just off the fabled Route 66. In this small, unassuming destination you’ll find adorable diners, throwback hotels and the Backwoods Camping and Music Festival, along with the treehouse parties, ferris wheel, waterslide, public art and music that go with it. This crossover festival hosts rock, indie and EDM alike, so plan to stage-hop to catch A Silent Film, Hippie Sabotage, Audien and The Young Vines.

Ohana Music Festival

When and where: August 27–28 in Dana Point, California

The two-day Ohana Music Festival benefits local nonprofit the San Onofre Parks Foundation, which works with the state’s parks to preserve California’s stunning coastline. So it’s only fitting that the entire thing is basically one big beach party. And the lineup boasts some serious heavy hitters, among them Eddie Vedder, Lana del Ray, Elvis Costello, Cat Power and Band of Horses. Grab some craft cocktails and artisan eats between sets, or wander through the Doheny State Park (where the festival is held) to explore grassy plains, dig your toes in the sand or swim in the beautiful Pacific. Preferably not after you’ve been drinking. This one’s not a camping festival, so get those hotel reservations now.

Imagine Music Festival

When and where: August 26–28 in Hampton, Georgia

You can get your EDM, circus, costume-party, camping and dance-party fixes all in one place this year: Atlanta’s Imagine Music Festival, an uninhibited two-day romp through the Atlanta Motor Speedway. Or, more specifically, the ‘Imaginarium’, a fictional (obviously), ancient lost city. This fable makes room for a whole host of spiritual and oddball activities like drum circles, acro yoga, Qi Gong, art installations, live painting, a pool party, aerial cirque performers and a central fire. Local food vendors will keep everyone fed and watered. Oh, and there’s music, too: Come for The Disco Biscuits, Zeds Dead, Adventure Club and Dillon Francis. Stay for Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs.

Billboard Hot 100 Music Festival

When and where: August 20–21, 2016 in Wantagh, New York

Think back on it, and maybe you’ve heard of artists like Ariana Grande, Calvin Harris, Rachel Platton and Fetty Wap. The name of this festival—taking place at the iconic Nikon Jones Beach Theater—pretty much says it all: This is the festival to go to if you want to dance to tracks that dominate the airwaves. It is called the Billboard Hot 100, after all. And you’ll be treated to one seriously pretty backdrop—the Jones Beach State Park in Wantagh, New York. It offers more than 6 miles of Atlantic beach and miles of hiking trails.

Outside Lands Music & Arts Festival

When and where: August 5–7, 2016 in San Francisco, California

Folks, the fabled Outside Lands is a Golden Gate Park mainstay—which means you’ll get to drink, dance and party amid a Japanese tea garden, museums and botanical gardens. Joining you, and providing the tunes, will be some of the most famous musical acts in the world: Radiohead, Ryan Adams, Lana del Ray and LCD Soundsystem. In case that wasn’t enough, there’ll also be plenty of laughs—Natasha Leggero and John Mulaney headline the comedy stage, which is likely somewhere between all the public art installations, musical stages, the future-minded Eco Lands, and more food, beer, cocktail and wine vendors than you could reasonably visit during the three-day affair.

Wrecking Ball

When and where: August 13–14 in Atlanta, Georgia

This one’s an indie kid’s dream. Atlanta festival Wrecking Ball may only be in its second year, but that hasn’t stopped it from drawing the likes of Dinosaur Jr, Thursday, Motion City Soundtrack and Anti-Flag. If that’s any indicator, genres run the gamut from post-hardcore and punk to emo and indie rock. Plus, there will be tons of beer, and the city’s food trucks will swarm upon the festival to satisfy hungry festival-goers. Best of all, it takes place in the much beloved Masquerade, a tri-level music venue where infamous acts like Radiohead, Foo Fighters, Motorhead and Nirvana have all graced the stage. And if you’ve ever wanted to see this venue in all its glory, take note: Wrecking Ball is Masquerade’s very last blowout before the venue moves from its original location, so get those tickets now.


When and where: August 4–6 in Detroit Lakes, MN

Country music lovers, take note: Eric Church, Kid Rock and Tim McGraw are headlining this year’s WeFest. And they’re joined by some lesser-known hard hitters, including Montgomery Gentry, Maiden Dixie and an obscure up-and-comer named Steven Tyler (maybe you’ve heard of him?) who will be performing with the Loving Mary Band. Camping is the name of the game at this Detroit Lakes, MN fest (though there are some hotels nearby, if camping’s not your thing). And they’ve got 10 different campgrounds for different strokes— among them, there’s an Accessible one, a few for families, and several for the rowdy young kids. But fear not: There’s still modern plumbing and restrooms for all. And the concerts themselves? They’re held at the outdoor amphitheater at the gorgeous Soo Pass Ranch.

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Tagged: California, Events, Festivals, Music

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So we all know that summer is the season of the music festival. And it’s pretty much the best. Here’s a breakdown of the sweetest season’s best and brightest festivals, no matter what your taste in music.

BottleRock Festival

When and where: May 27–29, 2016 in Napa Valley

Why to go: You mean besides being surrounded by arguably the best wine producers in the country? Oh, yeah—the headliners. Maybe you’ve heard of them. They go by Florence and the Machine, Death Cab for Cutie, The Lumineers, Cold War Kids. And that barely scratches the surface of the 70+ indie wonders  on the lineup, including the biggest name of them all: Stevie Wonder will be there, too, crooning to the dancing crowds. When you need to fuel up, just head to the food vendors—some of Napa’s best chefs—to pick up gourmet eats, craft beers, cocktails and, of course, local wines.­

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Bayou Country Superfest

When and where: May 27–29, 2016 in Baton Rouge, LA

Why you should go: What better way to celebrate Memorial Day weekend than with a country-music blowout? This show is less about the scene and more about the music, and country heavyweights like Dierks Bentley, Eric Church, Darius Rucker and Lady Antebellum are all hitting the stage.


When and where: June 4, 2016 in Wantagh, NY

Why to go: This year, Pitbull, The Chainsmokers and Mike Posner are headed to Nikon at Jones Beach Theater for this one-day pop blowout. Meaning you can dance like crazy to hits like Mr. Worldwide’s I know You Want Me (Calle Ocho) and Posner’s I Took a Pill in Ibiza. Oh, and the Backstreet Boys will be serving up heaps of swoon-worthy nostalgia, so start practicing that late-‘90s choreography now!

Nikon at Jones Beach Theater

Nikon at Jones Beach Theater. Photo: Rob Sinclair – Flickr

CMA Music Festival

When and where: June 9–12, 2016 in Nashville, TN

Why you should go: Nashville’s just about the best place you could pick for a country-music jam fest, and this Music City mainstay does not disappoint. This year, it draws top talent like Miranda Lambert, Carrie Underwood, Sam Hunt and Blake Shelton, but that’s barely the tip of the iceberg. There’s also meet-and-greets, celebrity sports events, nightly stadium shows (see the big stars above) and free concerts downtown every day.

BLI Summer Jam

When and where: June 11, 2016 in Wantagh, NY

Why you should go: Meghan Trainor, Fifth Harmony, Iggy Azalea and Charlie Puth will all be there, so really what’s your excuse? Besides the lineup, this one-day blowout takes place in one of the coolest outdoor concert venues, tucked away in a beautiful state park along Zachs Bay. So the soundtrack of the summer basically comes with beautiful, summery nature views.

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Buckeye Country Superfest

When and where: June 18–19, 2016 in Columbus, OH

Why you should go: Luke Bryan. Lady Antebellum. Thomas Rhett. Since this festival only does stadium shows, its lineup reads like a who’s who of country-music superstars. The second-best part? The festival-sanctioned tailgating. Get there early on the 18th for a free concert, meet-and-greets and some tasty grub.

Cincinnati Music Festival

When and where: July 22–23, 2016 in Cincinnati, OH

Why you should go: R&B reigns supreme at this riverfront fest, not the more typical rock and country. Meaning stars like Fantasia, New Edition and Leela James headline the event, which has more than 50 years of history behind it. Meaning its two stages has hosted greats like Duke Ellington and Aretha Franklin, and later, Maxwell and Jennifer Hudson.

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When and where: July 28–31, 2016 in Chicago, IL

Why you should go: The image that comes to mind when you think of music festivals is probably someone’s slightly drunken Lollapalooza memory: a ripped-from-an-Urban-Outfitters-catalogue scene of flashing peace signs, selfies, festival fashion, booze, and all-around good times. This 25-year-strong festival lights up Chicago’s Grant Park every summer, and is showing no signs of falling off the must-hit summer festival circuit. And while it’s lost some of its Woodstock-like vibe along the way (though you can still shop a farmer’s market and hit up Lolla Cares), the music hits keep on coming. This year, headliners include Radiohead, LCD Soundsystem, Haim, Lana del Ray, and the band that started it all—Jane’s Addiction.

Outside Lands Music & Arts Festival

When and where: August 5–7, 2016 in San Francisco, CA

Why to go: One of the most forward-thinking festivals is set against one of the most beautiful parks in the U.S.: Golden Gate Park. Amid the National AIDS Memorial Grove, botanical gardens, a Japanese tea garden and a handful of museums, some world-renowned showstoppers—LCD Soundsystem, Radiohead, Lana del Rey and Lionel Richie—will be crooning to the crowds. Throughout, you can hit up Eco Lands, the festival’s center for all things eco-friendly. Besides that, there’s—well, there’s a ton more. Take a break from dancing and recycling to sample goods from the onsite cocktail bars, local restaurant vendors, food trucks, local wineries and breweries hawking their delicious goods onsite.

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Watershed Festival

When and where: August 5–7, 2016 in George, Washington

Why to go: Most folks camp out at Watershed, tailgating and roughing it in their RVs in the shadow of the gorgeous Columbia River Gorge. It’s a surprisingly fun way to wait for the likes of Raelynn, KaceyMusgraves, Eric Church and A Thousand Horses to hit that floodlit stage at The Gorge. But don’t worry—hotels are fine, too. Either way, if you want to kick up your heels all weekend long, this one’s not to be missed.

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Tagged: Cheap Tips, Festivals, Music, Uncategorized

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Welcome to your one-stop shop for the best of America’s non-musical festivals. (Don’t worry, we’ve got plenty of cheap music festival tickets for you anyway.)


Eeyore’s Birthday Party: Austin, Texas

When: April 30, 2016

Why: This one-day celebration dedicated to pop culture’s most depressed cartoon has been raging once a year since the 1960s. It also serves as a fundraiser to various local nonprofits, making the family-friendly drum circles, games, food and drinks that much more enjoyable. There’s also the annual maypole and real-live donkey, a cartoon Eeyore stand-in. But make sure to take a good, hard look in your closet (or collection of Halloween costumes) before heading out: There are prizes for the best costumes.

Lightening in a Bottle: Bradley, California

When: May 25–30, 2016

Why: This festival offers a holistic, ‘transformative’ experience that combines music, interactive art installations, performers and yoga to create an atmosphere that’s as free and accepting as that of Burning Man. Take a personal-growth workshop to the tune of a nearby electronic music show or sip tea with soon-to-be-friends on some soft Persian rugs.

Milwaukee Highland Games: Wauwatosa, Wisconsin

When: June 4, 2016

Why: According to this festival’s homepage, you’ll be treated to spectacular bagpipe bands, working sheepdogs in action, unique athletic events and great Scottish food on the outskirts of Milwaukee. So take in the Highland dance competition and heavy stone putt events while chowing down. And trying to avoid running into any errant sheep that aren’t inclined to be herded.

Ribfest Chicago

When: June 10-12, 2016

Why: Welcome to the festival of messy fingers. Do not sacrifice your favorite shirt to Ribest, and show up ready to eat. A lot. This massive, Chicago-style block party offers up a down-home environment despite its size—there are live bands, a kids’ playground, and more smoky, sticky, fall-off-the-bone ribs than you can count (but really, who’s counting?).


Summer Feast: Sun Prairie, Wisconsin

When: June 24–26, 2016

Why: Eat your heart out. Literally. This fest serves up a different culinary theme each day, two of which are free. The first is Fiery Foods, a celebration of all things spicy. Next, is the Bacon, Brew & BBQ Festival (requires a ticket, but it’s all-you-can-eat). Finally, there’s the World Food Festival, where you can sample goods from Africa, Japan, India and plenty of other countries. You can also take a free or cheap cooking class onsite.

International Folk Art Market: Santa Fe, New Mexico

When: July 8–10, 2016

Why: This is the country’s largest folk-art festival, which attracts roughly 180 artists from around the world to hawk their goods at Museum Hill. These artists are more carefully curated than it may sound, though—most of the artisans create goods that represent their country’s history and identity, including hand-knotted Moroccan carpets, embroidered clothing from Afghanistan and hand-carved and –painted marionettes from Myanmar.

Artscape: Baltimore, Maryland

When: July 15–17, 2016

Why: Welcome to America’s biggest free arts festival. This year’s theme is ‘Space: Explore What’s Out There!’, which artists, fashion designers, performers and craftspeople will all explore with their craft. And you can pick up some tasty international eats as you meander between artists’ booths and pop-up theaters.

Lumberjack World Championships: Hayward, Wisconsin

When: July 28–30, 2016

Why: Oh, yes. Come to Hayward to see hopefully bearded men and (beardless) women compete in some of the wackiest sports around—among them, logrolling, sawing, the boom run and chopping, which is harder than it sounds. For the Springboard Chop, for instance, a lumberjack must climb nine feet up a marked tree, stand on a springboard stuck in the trunk, and chop it down.

Satchmo SummerFest: New Orleans, Louisiana

When: August 4–7, 2016

Why: It doesn’t get much more iconic than NOLA native Satchmo, aka Louis Armstrong. Dig into regional specialties like jambalaya and crab cakes as you celebrate the man’s legend with outdoor concerts and a jazz mass. And since this is New Orleans, you’ll need a mango daiquiri or margarita to go with that po’boy.


Beloved Festival: Tidewater, Oregon

When: August 12­–15, 2016

Why: Okay, so yes, this technically is a music festival. But it’s not like any kind you’ve seen before—billed as a journey to self-realization and connectedness, this camping festival offers a single stage, where acts ranging from ancient music to Middle Eastern chants (and yes, maybe some dance music). But there’s also an art gallery, a market and yoga classes. Past years’ artists include Krishna Das and Les Nubians.

Ghirardelli Chocolate Festival: San Francisco, California

When: September 10–11, 2016

Why: What could be better than stuffing your face with chocolate for a good cause? Support Project Open Hand by sampling local wines, all kinds of gourmet desserts, learning how chocolate is made and watching chefs do their magic.

Festival of the Dead: Salem, Massachusetts

When: October 1 to November 2, 2016

Why: Explore the paranormal in America’s spookiest town. Speak to dead ones through psychic mediums, join a magic circle, and meet high priestesses and Hoodoo practitioners during this month-long event. You can also head to the Salem Witches’ Halloween Ball for a night of dancing, music, food and, of course, rituals.

Harry Potter Festival: Chestnut Hill, Philadelphia

When: October 21-22, 2016

Why: Muggles rejoice! The wizarding world comes alive in Chestnut Hill, albeit in a very American way: Think pub crawls, character lookalikes, horcrux scavenger hunts and, somehow, a Quidditch tournament.

Voodoo Music & Art Experience: New Orleans, Louisiana

When: October 28–30, 2016

Why: Why yes, you are noticing a trend here: New Orleans is excellent at festivals. While food isn’t exactly the focus of this one, there are tons of vendors selling some seriously tasty grub. Otherwise, enjoy the local crafts and wares, art and music that takes over City Park. And plan to stay out late—the after parties basically rage on until the next morning’s events begin.


Oak Street Po’ Boy Festival: New Orleans, Louisiana

When: November 2016

Why: New Orleans tradition is darn tasty. Sure, you can get more than the eponymous sandwich here, but these humble hoagies are worth the hype. In past years, local eateries have churned out edible offerings like the smoked BBQ brisket po’boys, slow-roasted duck po’boys with apple slaw, fried Maine lobster po’boys and so, so much more.

National Cowboy Poetry Gathering: Elko, Nevada

When: January 30–February 4, 2017

Why: Mercifully, this one’s exactly what it sounds like. It’s just too bad that you’ll have to wait until next winter to hear real, time-worn cowboys croon their sentimental sonnets. Besides the thousands of folks who flock here to recite poetry, this festival also attracts thanks to its musical performances, art and open mics. The attendees are notoriously friendly, too.

Calle Ocho Festival: Miami, Florida

When: March 2017

Why: It’s only fitting that one of the country’s largest Hispanic streetfests takes place on Miami’s legendary 8th Street, or Calle Ocho, in the Little Havana district. It’s also part(y) of the massive Carnaval Miami. Come celebrate multiculturalism by salsa dancing in the street, watching traditional performances, checking out folk art and—you guessed it—eating. This gloriously unfussy street fest serves up food and drinks from plenty of local restaurants to refuel partygoers tired from their conga lines and no-holds-barred Latin dancing.

Frozen Dead Guy Days: Nederland, Colorado

When: March 2017

Why: Let’s end this list with a bang, shall we? This goofily morbid event celebrates a quirky local instance from 1989 involving cryogenic freezing that we won’t get into here. But the festival it spawned is as wacky as thename suggests. Expect frozen salmon tosses, a hearse parade, coffin races and a whole host of other macabre events—all naturally paired with beer—high up in the Rocky Mountains.

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Tagged: California, City, Festivals, Food & drink, Music