Get Warm, Get Lucky: Gadling’s Exclusive Summer Playlist

Alessandro Oddi, Flickr

Just in time to officially celebrate the summer solstice comes the Gadling Exclusive Summer Playlist. You might have had the new Daft Punk album on repeat for the last few weeks now, but it’s time for something new, so the Gadling crew got together and compiled all of our favorite warm weather songs the perfect summer playlist. We do of course kick off with Daft Punk’s insta-jam “Get Lucky,” because for summer 2013 there’s just no other choice, and then we work our way through 67 more songs, all intended to keep your summer days chill and your summer evenings rocking.

Just like summer, or a good ice cream stand, there’s a little bit of everything in this playlist. A little funk, a little country, a little Euro, a little reggae, a little indie pop… you get the idea.

Perfect for: road trips, afternoon lemonade drinking, taking the metro in a new city.

Listen to the full playlist on Spotify.

Gadling’s guide to Summer music

Summer. Music. Could any two words in the English language possibly go so well together? There’s just something about warm weather that makes you want to be outside, bare feet touching soft grass and dirt underfoot, hands in the cool night air, eardrums fluttering to the vibrations of a strumming guitar.

And aside from Summer, what could go better with music than travel? Whatever your favorite genre, this season is prime time to catch some of the best live performances you’ll see all year. So what if nothing good is playing near your hometown? Jump in the car or book that cheap plane ticket. Music is just the excuse you’re looking for to get out on the road. From the smallest local city festivals, to the giant multi-headliner events now dotting the country (and the world), it’s time to start making some travel arrangements to catch your favorite band.

We won’t pretend to list out every music festival and event going on this summer – there’s way too many. But we’ve been to our fair share of good ones – and we know what’s worth the trip. Grab those earplugs and stop making those Free Bird requests, Gadling is bringing you our picks of this Summer’s best music events, both in your backyard and around the world.
International Festivals
There are some music events so incredibly epic, bringing together so many great bands, and unique performers in such unique settings, that they’re worth a trip halfway across the globe. That’s not to mention peculiar quirks of the local crowd. What better way to meet the locals than your shared love for Metallica? The international festivals below are definitely worth your money’s worth:

  • Sonar Festival – Barcelona, Spain (June 19-21) – the cutting edge Sonar Festival, hosted in one of Europe’s most dynamic cities, brings together multimedia art and music for three days of decidedly high-tech fun and dancing. This year’s festival features big names like M.I.A. and Justice. Did we mention the city is on a beach for when you get tired of the party?
  • Glastonbury – Glastonbury, England (June 27-29)Glastonbury has long been known as one the one the premier festivals in England, if not the world, offering a huge lineup of some of pop music’s up-and-comers as well as established superstars. This year promises a similar showing, featuring hip-hop star Jay-Z, singer songwriter Leonard Cohen and bands like indie-rockers The National marquee acts such as Franz Ferdinand, Q Tip and Bruce Springsteen
  • Gnaoua Festival – Essaouira, Morocco (June 26-29) – if your musical tastes run towards the more esoteric and global, consider a trip to Morocco’s Gnaoua Festival, held each year in the lazy seaside village of Essaouira. Gnawa is type of music indigenous to Northern Africa, characterized by its soulful chanting and acrobatic dancing. As if a visit to the whitewashed town of Essaouira wasn’t reward enough, you’ll bear witness to some of the most amazing musicians from across sub-Saharan Africa.
  • Roskilde Festival – Roskilde, Denmark (July 3-6) – Denmark is not exactly a hot spot when you think of great musical events, but the annual Roskilde Festival is proof the Danes really know what they’re talking about. This year brings yet another killer lineup including uber-rockers Radiohead and Coldplay, Nine Inch Nails, Kanye West, Lucinda Williams, and many others.

U.S. Festivals
Alright, so the Spanish music festival is out of your budget this year. That’s not a problem really – live music is practically a birthright of American citizens, guaranteeing that each summer you’ll find a heap of great musicians touring at a concert hall or ampitheater near you. To help you figure out what to check out, we’ve broken down some of our favorites based on geography: East Coast, West and Central. Take a look:

  • EAST COAST – All Points West, New York, NY (July 31- August 2) – brought to you by the same team that pulls together the annual Coachella Festival in Indio, CA, New York City’s All Points West Festival is now entering its second year. Much as you’d expect from a sister festival to the excellent Coachella, All Points West brings in top-notch talent like the Beastie Boys and MGMT to a gorgeous waterfront park facing the Statue of Liberty.
  • CENTRAL – Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival, Manchester, TN (June 12-15) – many people wondered what was going on when a new festival was first announced in 2002 on a 700 acre farm in Tennessee. But the detractors have long since been silenced by Bonnaroo, now one of the country’s most famous music festivals. 2009 brings yet another eclectic and stellar lineup headlined by Bruce Springsteen, Snoop Dogg, Phish and Wilco.
  • CENTRAL – Lollapalooza, Chicago, IL (August 7-9) – consider Lollapalooza as the grandfather of national music festivals. It’s been around longer than just about every other major Summer festival around, originally created by Jane’s Addiction singer Perry Farrell way back in 1991. The fact Lollapalooza no longer tours the country each Summer also works to your advantage – the festival now permanently resides in wonderful Summer climes of Chicago. Headliners this year include Depeche Mode, Kings of Leon and The Killers.
  • WEST – Telluride Bluegrass Festival, Telluride, CO (June 18-21) – you know you have a good thing going when your festival has been ongoing for 36 years. That’s exactly the advantage of the long-running Telluride Bluegrass Festival, a celebration of a distinctly American musical style nestled in the scenic heights of the Rocky Mountains. This year’s lineup includes a diverse roster of performers including David Byrne, Elvis Costello as well as old favorites like Jerry Douglas.

Ready for an encore? We only had space to list a few of our favorite summer musical events here. What did we miss? Have a favorite festival you think we should know about? Leave us your thoughts in the comments and there very well may be a Summer music roundup “Part II” in the near future.

Haiti Part 5: Festival Mizik Jakmel Update

Congo Plage
Although Festival Mizik Jakmel, with headliners Stephen and Damian “Jr. Gong” Marley did not make it into Gadling’s Massively Huge 2007 Summer Music Fest Roundup, I mentioned the first-time event not long before I took a trip over to check it out on my own. Actually, at the time I booked my ticket to Haiti I hadn’t planned on attending the three-day music festival because I hadn’t heard of it. I was simply planning on going to explore culture, arts, food and beaches. When I found out the festival and my travel dates linked up, it made my trip plans all the better.

As noted before the festival would not only involve a slew of musicians from across the globe singing around the clock, there would also be art events, workshops, a tourism conference, and most importantly an attempt to break the Guinness World Record for the largest drumming ensemble in the world. (India got the claim to fame last year.) If you ask me – that is one mega feat to beat. And by now you are probably wondering if their mission was accomplished?

To answer the question: Yes and No.
Congo Plage
I haven’t the slightest idea what happened to the drum ensemble and I was a little disappointed that it didn’t occur. My hopes were flying high and my heart-racing every time I heard that the drumming would start. I tried to imagine Congo beach packed with 10,000 drumming sets of hands, but even my imagination failed me. There were a number of people who shared the same somber feeling as I had, but with all of the other events to look forward to there was little room or time to stay disappointed long.

The concert line-up for the first day included some amazing musicians such as Mizik Mizik featuring Belo and Tifane, Reggae Cowboys, Bruce “Sunpie” Barnes and one of my favorites, Les Nubians. The only problem now was figuring out what time they were going to go on. No one in my camp seemed to have an idea of when the DJ would cut his music and let the real live show start. To kill time we walked around Congo beach for a while. There were tons of people hanging around making puppets dance for the amusement of others and others just standing and waiting. From the stage and screen set-up you could tell they were expecting a packed sandy beach. By the end of night number one I wouldn’t have been the one to tell you whether the masses came out in full force or not. You’d have to ask another festival participant. With it being the first international music festival ever for the area of Jacmel I figured there would be some minor bumps and road blocks in the way, but performances kept getting pushed back. There was no telling when anything would happen and having just arrived to the country overnight from LAX to PAP, I was beat. As badly as I wanted to check every little detail of the festival out I found myself retreating for some rest.

Day two was much better and as it turned out the people that stayed long enough on day one really enjoyed the performances. I wish I had been one of them.

When we finally arrived for the second installment the music was in full-swing and the beach looked at least 7,000 people deep. It had been raining on and off the entire day, but even the wet weather couldn’t keep people from seeing such performers as Emeline Michel, Tabou Combo & Black Alex, RAM and especially Stephen / Damian “Jr. Gong” Marley. I was fortunate enough to score some standing room in VIP and made my way up to see portions of most of the performances. It being my first time hearing of many of he Haitian artists, my ears were busier than ever trying to focus in on it all. I listened like a student in a Haitian Music and Kompa 101 class.

RAM was one of the artists that really caught my attention. The music seemed very trippy and can be described as “Vodou rock n’ roots.” Following RAM was Emeline Michel, whose music I had heard before on a few compilation CD’s. The masses really enjoyed her music as well as all the major Haitian bands that went on and it wasn’t until the Marley brothers finally came on stage did I notice a slight difference in crowd participation. I went ablaze inside myself. I was so hyped on seeing them and the setting was perfect. Naturally, everyone moved and sang along to the Bob Marley covers as performed by son Stephen Marley, but there were times when I thought the people could be moving more. It was partly the language and the awe of having the Marley brothers in Haiti that had the crowd standing still at certain moments noted my travel buds.

Even with the language barrier I could still sense the music working. It managed to bring a massive number of Haitians, tourists, and sponsors to Congo beach for two nights in a row thus far and the Marley’s reinforced the theory with their messaging, “We are all one people.”

When the show was over that night I headed back to the Hotel Cyvadier to rest my eyes and sing Festival Mizik Jakmel lullabies.

Day three was all washed up from what I gather. The rain wasn’t letting up and performances were cancelled. I departed Jacmel earlier than planned for Port-au-Prince. I could be wrong about day three and I would love to be corrected if I am. Overall I thought it was a success for a free event and with everything that did and didn’t happen it gives everyone that showed up and those who couldn’t make it something to look forward to next year.

It’s faint right now, but I think I hear 10,000 sets of drumming hands on Congo plage. To view more pictures from the festival check out the Festival Mizik Jakmel Flickr photostream.

Yesterday: Art & Souvenirs
Tomorrow: A Few Last Words