Although festivals happen all throughout the school year, the end of the year with the nice weather, more free time, and perfect conditions for outdoor music provides an amazing opportunity for those who want to take advantage of the many summer festivals.
Gulf Shores, Ala.
Top Acts: The Weeknd, Calvin Harris, Florence + The Machine, Alabama ShakesActs You Should See: Run the Jewels, Lizzo, Courtney Barnett, Bully
Hangout Festival occurs right around the end of the school year and is perfect if you want a chance to escape quickly to the beach and enjoy good music. Not only that, but the lineup boasts award-winning acts from many different genres and there is sure to be at least a handful that will satisfy your needs. Make sure to go with a few friends and book a condo and a shuttle pass before they sell out.
Top Acts: Disclosure, Major Lazer, A$AP Rocky, Grimes, Sufjan Stevens
Acts You Should See: Childbirth, Thunderpussy, Ibeyi, Wet
Although Sasquatch boasts an impressive lineup, it also is one of the few festivals where you can enjoy music with a beautiful view of the striking landscape before you. It offers many high profile acts, but if you’re looking to discover some femme-tastic new bands check out Childbirth, Thunderpussy and Ibeyi.
Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival
Top Acts: Pearl Jams, Dead & Company, LCD Soundsystem, Ellie Goulding, Tame Impala
Other Acts You Should See: St. Vincent, Lolawolf, Twin Peaks, Papadosio
Bonnaroo, one of the more popular summer festivals, will be celebrating its 15th year. They recently partnered with Reverbnation and will be offering free artist submissions for bands who want to play at the festival, which is a great opportunity for new lesser-known bands to play at a festival that attracts over 85,000 people each summer.
Vans Warped Tour
June 22 – August 13
All Over the USA
Top Acts: 3OH!3, Falling in Reverse, Good Charlotte, Less than Jake, Mayday Parade
Acts You Should See: Yellowcard, The Summer Set, Sum 41
Vans Warped Tour has always been dear to my heart because it features many of my middle school favorites. Although I never got to go to this festival when it was at the peak of my music taste, I always look at the lineup and wonder how cool it would be to go back to my scene/emo ideas. After looking at this lineup compared to previous years when they tried to incorporate hip-hop artists, I can tell they are attempting to be a bit stricter with their genre choices but have still included heavier bands as well.
Top Acts: ANDERSON, Paak & the Free Nationals, Beach House, Blood Orange, FKA twigs
Acts You Should See: Shamir, NAO, Kamasi Washington, Digable Planets, Thundercat
Personally, I am extremely attracted to the Pitchfork lineup this year as it has a great mix of hip-hop, r&b, funk, and other genres. I have been listening to NAO and Thundercat on repeat these past months. Not to mention, Digable Planets is performing which features Ishmael Butler from Shabazz Palaces who made an appearance on campus last fall. The only big downside of this festival is that you have to find housing, but if you’re from the city, have a friend from Chicago, or the Airbnb prices are cheap then it is most definitely worth it especially for just $165.
Grant Park Chicago
Top Acts: Radiohead, Red Hot Chili Peppers, LCD Soundsystem, Future, Major Lazer
Other Acts You Should See: Cashmere Cat, MØ, Vince Staples, Haim
Because this was one of the festivals that I did not know too much about, I decided to ask my friend Jay Hartman what he thought about the festival and if he would recommend it: Unlike the other popular music festivals in the US (Coachella and Bonnaroo come to mind), Lollapalooza is distinctly urban. The Chicago skyline acts as a backdrop for the entire festival, which is one of the best parts. The festival usually draws a wide range of artists with headliners like Alt-J, The Weeknd, and Major Lazer in recent years. The crowds and heat can be paralyzing at times, but there are enough places to relax in the shade. One of my favorite aspects of Lolla is the after shows that happen when the music festival ends at 10 p.m. in smaller venues around the city. If you’re looking to spend a long weekend in downtown Chicago going to a variety of concerts, I would highly recommend Lolla!
Overall, these festivals will offer many opportunities to see some favorite acts and discover some new ones. With spring upon us and summer not too far away, this is the perfect time to plan a summer trip and invest in tickets before it’s too late. Grab your festival clothes, start listening to new bands on the schedule, and grab your friends to take part in an unforgettable experience.