Video: Arcade Fire at Coachella

Music festivals are one of the best ways to spend your sweet summer time. Although we’re still a ways off from the official launch of summer, many music fans consider Coachella the beginning of summer… or, at least, the beginning of summer festivals. As the season of love via live music swings fuller into gear, I’ll help you navigate as many music festivals as I can. But for now, lets talk about Coachella.

Coachella is one of the bigger USA music festivals each year and it’s safe to say that the festival acts as a vacation destination for people across the globe. With 225,000 attendees last year, this year’s festival had a whole lot of hype leading up to its launch. Coachella just wrapped up last night and in case you haven’t heard, it seems as though there might have been some desert-style drama at the event, both good and bad.

Kanye West slammed the event and other event performers. Cee Lo Green showed up late and blamed the festival for his tardiness. But on a more positive energy note, Arcade Fire illuminated their audience with a set you can check out in the video above.

The Festy Experience offers live music and outdoor adventure

Are you looking for something to do this Columbus Day weekend? Do you enjoy outdoor fun and live music? Then you’ll definitely want to check out the Festy Experience, a two-day long camping festival that is scheduled to take place on October 9 and 10 at the Concert Grounds at Devil’s Backbone in Nelson County, Virginia.

Over the course of the weekend, there will be two stages with live music playing from 1 PM to 1 AM each night. A host of bands will be on hand to help keep the party going, and local breweries will be serving up their fine libations. But music festivals are a common occurrence across the U.S. and what sets the Festy apart from the rest is that it also throws some outdoor adventure into the mix.

In addition to this being a camping festival, those in attendance can also take part in several popular athletic events. For instance, the 15th annual Blue Ridge Burn is a 5 and 10k trail race, sponsored by Blue Ridge Outdoors Magazine. That foot race takes place on day one, while the second day of the Festy brings the Devil’s Backbone mountain bike challenge which will push riders to the limit with tough climbs and heart-pounding drops. There will also be a climbing wall on hand with a variety of routes for beginner to advanced climbers, as well as other activities for the outdoor crowd.

Tickets for the event are still available, but they are going fast. The two-day tickets include a campsite and access to both music stages as well as the outdoor events. Single day tickets are available as well allowing you to pick and choose which day you’d like to participate. With summer now officially coming to a close, it is time to have some fun in the autumn air, and the Festy seems like a great way to do just that.

Best shoes for summer travel

Traveling in the warmer months of the year can present unique apparel challenges. When preparing for a trip to the lower latitudes or destinations where water will be a major factor, certain considerations should be made. One important decision is the choice of footwear. There are few shoes that can do it all, but some can accommodate a variety of warm-weather activities.

The beach trip – One of the most common summer trips is that relaxing stay at the beach. Even if the plan is to lounge the day away reading the latest Grisham novel, there will always be walking involved. The shoe choice needs to fit comfortably and be able to get you to and from your seaside accommodations. The shoe also needs to be well suited to handle sand and water, and sometimes both simultaneously.

Chaco has created an ideal beach shoe with the Hipthong Pro. Available in men’s and women’s models, this fashionable sandal has no rear strap for easy removal when you’re ready to kick your feet up in that beach chair. The unique strap system holds the shoe on the foot well, despite the lack of rear support. The footbed also has an arch which is lacking in many low-end water shoes.
Price – $85 at ChacoUSA.comThe business/pleasure trip – It can be difficult to find time for ourselves with the hectic schedules we adhere to these days. Many spend much of their travel time while on the clock. Occasionally though, the opportunity presents itself to escape from the meeting room and get out and explore or relax.

When mixing a business trip with a little R & R, consider a versatile shoe that won’t be too casual for work yet will still get you where you want to go comfortably. For the men traveling on business, the Merrell Neptune not only looks fabulous under a pair of khakis, but the Ortholite footbed cradles the foot for support and will be ready to hit the streets later. Businesswomen will appreciate the Merrell Brio. This flat is anything but flat inside as it also includes an Ortholite footbed. The deceptively supportive soles will keep feet comfortable in the office and at the museum later.
Brio Price – $80 at
Neptune Price – $100 at

The walking trip – Theme parks, music festivals, and urban explorations come to mind when we think of the walking trip. An eight hour stint wandering cobbled streets, eating funnel cakes, jumping on and off trams, and sweating your way through lines is no time to wear uncomfortable shoes. Keeping your feet cool and dry will at least make the day less grueling, and there won’t be the need for a foot soak when you collapse in the room later.

The Saucony ProGrid Ride 3 has a long name but is long on features as well. The performance interior lining wicks (pulls away) sweat from the foot. Both the men’s and women’s versions have midsoles that absorb impact. They are designed to be neutral trainers, so they can accommodate a wide variety of foot types.
ProGrid Ride 3 – $95 at

The active trip – Some of us, myself included, love to explore our natural world during the summer. Hiking, biking, paddling, and climbing our way through national parks and wilderness areas can be a great way to detach from the bustle of city life and get some exercise at the same time. When embarking on a trip packed with this much activity though, the right shoe is key.

The Keen Newport is a classic example of a shoe that can function in the toughest situations and also wears well for casual daily activities. The Newport is a sandal-style shoe with a Vibram sole for gripping slippery terrain and a tough toe bumper to keep your piggies safe.
Price – $95 at

The flying trip – If we want to get far away, and get there quickly, we will most likely be flying the friendly skies. Since you will need to easily slip your shoes on and off in security, as well as have enough support to walk those long terminals, these trips may require a little more planning. The Crocs Melbourne and Melbourne Shecon not only have the slip-on factor covered, but also make for great walking shoe with their ergonomic squishy soles.
Melbourne Price – $55 at
Shecon Price – $45 at

Summer is the high-season for travel, and there are few items we pack in our suitcase more important than our shoes. Choosing the right footwear for a summer trip could mean the difference between blisters and bliss.

Get into the groove: Summer’s best music festivals

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 above was written by Billie Nichols, Seed contributor.

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.

— The above was written by Drew Moss, Seed contributor.

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.

— The above was written by Benjamin Ray Williams, Seed contributor.

Surviving Chicago’s Market Days festival

This Saturday and Sunday, Chicago welcomes the largest street festival in the Midwest, Northalsted Market Days. It’s a two-day free-for-all of over 400 vendors, 40 concerts and drag shows, street food, booze . . . and lots and lots of half-naked men.

You see, Market Days takes place in Boystown, a stretch of Halsted Street in the Lakeview neighborhood that is home to the majority of the city’s gay bars and adult shops (plus plenty of trendy restaurants and unique boutiques for any orientation) and many of its gay residents. While the festival isn’t adults-only, you’ll definitely see some things you might have a hard time explaining to your kids (“Mommy, what’s a speculum?”).

While Market Days is predominantly a party – you’ll see more champagne-slushy stands and margarita vendors than anything else – it’s also a chance to support the local community. The money raised from the voluntary $7 donation goes to support the Northalsted Merchants Association that represents the local business owners. They also profit greatly from the event in the form of extra business during Market Days, both at their restaurants and at booths they operate at the fest. Need a new “special toy”, some knock-off designer sunglasses, a hammock for your backyard, a set of “pitcher” and “catcher” t-shirts, or maybe just an arm full of used books? Market Days has you covered with it’s eclectic collection of vendors. You’ll also find giveaways and contests; last year a friend of mine won two sets of round-trip tickets from Travelocity’s “cash-grab” booth.

If you get tired of sipping frozen cocktails, sampling from food stalls, checking out the merchandise and just taking in some of the more outlandish outfits (or lack thereof) worn by the crowd, you can head over to the concert stage where performers like En Vogue and Jody Watley will entertain, along with some local Chicago bands. For that you’ll have to pony up a bit more though. Wristbands to see the stage run from $30-$50 each.

Given the huge crowds and sensory overload you’ll experience at Market Days, the first time can be a bit overwhelming. Here are a few tips for survival.

Bring cash. In addition to the $7 donation fee, you’ll need it for any purchase you make from a vendor. There are ATM machines located around the route, but they often run out of money over the weekend.

Bring toilet paper and hand sanitizer. A few hundred thousand drunk people can really take their toll on the porta-potties. Come prepared. Most establishments along the route will not let you use their facilities unless you buy something.

Bring snacks and water. You aren’t supposed to bring booze into the fest (though it’s easy enough to sneak in) but you can bring in some water to stay hydrated and some healthy snacks to keep your strength up.

Wear closed-toe shoes. Especially as the night wears on, your chances of getting stepped on (or worse, stepping in something unsavory) increase.

Bring your cell phone if you plan to meet up with friends and make a plan to meet just inside or outside one of the entrances. Make a plan for if you get separated too. It’s easy to get distracted and wander off from your group.

Bring a camera. You’ll want to document this. Trust me.

Dress to impress. If you’re looking for a hook up, bring your A-game. You’ll have lots of competition. From skinny young guys in nothing but a pair of speedos and some feathery angel wings to older “bears” in full-on leather, you’ll see it all and if you want to stand out, you’ll need to make an effort.

Take public transportation. If you plan on drinking, and even if you don’t, taking the El (Belmont Red Line) or bus is the way to go. Cops are out in full force looking for drunk drivers, and parking around the fest is nearly impossible anyways.

Come with an open mind. Market Days is a party for sure. But it’s also a celebration, of love and acceptance. Everyone is happy and friendly. Whether you are gay or straight, male or female, you’ll be approached or maybe even propositioned, but either way you’ll have a great time.