Nothing says summer like backyard barbecues, the beach and live music. Spend a steamy summer night under the stars listening to your favorite band, or commit a weekend to rocking out at some of the best music festivals around the country. Here are a few of our favorites:
Delfest is a blue grass festival masterminded held in Cumberland, Maryland. The McCoury family – who have been in the business of blue grass for 50 years – started the festival. This family friendly weekend festival is organized by High Sierra.
All Good: A bit more “crunchy” than some festivals, All Good is a nitty-gritty atmosphere with stellar musical acts. They really have a great vibe at Marvin’s Mountaintop, West Virginia, and you’ll really get back to your roots here!
Gathering of the Vibes: The Gathering is great, especially since they moved it to Bridgeport Connecticut. The location is great for biker riders, like me, because it has sidewalks throughout the festival ground, and the Vibes family has built quite a community of vendors and fun morsels for their concert goers.
Camp Bisco: Camp Bisco is at the Indian Lookout in Mariahville, New York, where the Gathering of the Vibes used to be held, which is a great location. This intense, electronica-jam festival is now in it’s 9th year, and is certainly one to catch if you are in the area.
Philadelphia Folk Fest: The “mother” of all folk festivals, this festival is in it’s 49th year! Just outside the city of brotherly love, this festival has great acts, a family friendly atmosphere, and lots and lots of craft vendors. So if you are looking to let loose to some down-home sounds, this festival is a great way to cap off the festival season here on the East Coast!
Mayan Holidaze: Previously called “Caribbean Holidaze” this is the cream of the crop of festivals for anyone who loves to travel. The previous years, it has been held in Jamaica, and this year they have moved it to beautiful Mexico, right in the middle of the Mayan temples! Put on by the Disco Biscuits and Umphrey’s McGee, this is a decadent festival that will leave lasting memories. This has to be, hands down, one of the best festivals I have ever been too, and it’s held in January, so you can save all year to make it there!
Bonnaroo: There is almost no way I could talk about festivals without mentioning one of the country’s biggest. Bonnaroo is a playground for adults who love music of all genres. The musical mix boasts something for everyone, so even your pickiest friends would have a blast at this one. And with attendance being around 100,000 per year, you will feel the energy surging all weekend!
The Great South Bay Music Festival is held in Patchogue, NY, July 9-11. Local artists drive this scene and deliver an eclectic blend of rock, folk, jazz and reggae, with Robert Randolph and the Family Band headlining this year. Family friendly scene as well, there’s even a dog tent.
Willie Nelson’s 4th of July Picnic happens in Bee Cave, Texas, and it’s as easy-going as a backyard barbecue. Grab a hot dog, a cold Lone Star Beer and listen to Willie’s deft finger-picking, dust kickin’ good time country swing. Driving a few days from either coast to Willie’s own backyard to for the festival? That’s America.
Jerry Fest, the annual music tribute to Grateful Dead great Jerry Garcia, takes place Aug. 6-7 in Mountain Springs, Shartlesville, PA. An entire weekend devoted to the life and music of Jerry Garcia includes nature walks, jam bands, bluegrass weirdness and more, all for $35.
Lollapalooza descends on Chicago Aug. 6 – 8. Perry Farrell, the Godfather of the modern fest, has found a home for his circus tent. Pearl Jam, Ice Cube, Beck, Neil Young and the Red Hot Chilli Peppers have all killed it in the past. Soundgarden, Green Day and MGMT this year? Historic.
Lake Champlain Bluegrass Festival in Vermont happens Aug. 12 -15, and is one of the finest down home American roots music festivals in New England. Of note this year are the Mad Mountain Scramblers, absolutely kickin’ it with that “high lonesome sound.”
Celebrating Brooklyn, the annual party in Prospect Park, Brooklyn, features a varied and esteemed summer-long lineup in one of the area’s most pristine open spaces. Highlights will include The Dead Weather, Buena Vista Social Club, The Roots, The National and of course, the inimitable Sonic Youth who, for some reason, really go for broke outdoors in the heat.
Burning Man takes place in Black Rock Desert Aug. 30-Sept. 6. Located approximately 120 miles north of Reno, Nevada, this festival is for the truly extraordinary. You don’t go to Burning Man. You become Burning Man. Don’t expect to be the same – ever.
Rock Fest Cadott: Heralded as the biggest music festival in Wisconsin each year, Rock Fest has never been a disappointment. With incredible line-ups featuring some of the biggest names in Rock ‘n’ Roll. Along with the great local accommodations, Rock Fest offers a spectacular festival venue. Last year there were over 25,000 people in attendance.
Rock Jam Mack: Colorado Rock Jam is the largest Rock ‘n’ Roll music festival in Colorado. Known to draw crowds of up to 10,000+ fans each day of the event, it is unlike any other Rock ‘n’ roll festival on the planet. Rock Jam offers two days of great music and lots of local campsite as well as hotels available for those looking for accommodations.
Abbey Road On The River Louisville: Nothing can compare to the experience of attending the worlds largest Beatles tribute festival. Throughout the festival’s four days, fans of the Beatles band together to experience something that is truly unforgettable. For any Beatles fan this is the ultimate event. Many cover bands perform, as well as other world famous musicians.