The best of the summer music fests
Buy a bus ticket with your concert ticket. If you only go to one concert this summer, you’re probably going to want to see as many acts as you can — which is why it’s worth it to get a little muddy.
The Great GoogaMooga
May 17-19, Brooklyn
The second annual Great GoogaMooga takes over the Nethermead Meadow in Brooklyn’s Prospect Park, uniting passions for food and music. The Flaming Lips headline, Chairlift will do a DJ set or two, and locals the Yeah Yeah Yeahs and Matt and Kim are also on the bill.
May 25-26, Boston
Amid the brutalist architecture of Boston’s once-maligned Government Center, this inner city festival marks its first year with performances from fun., The Shins, The National and The Walkmen, as well as locals Caspian and Bad Rabbits. The festival is co-curated by The National’s Aaron Dessner.
June 1, Festival Pier, Philadelphia
In the sixth annual installment of this festival, The Roots have really hit their stride. Headliners include Gary Clark Jr., Grimes, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis and, oh yeah, The Roots!
June 7-9, Randall’s Island
How can so many big name superstars squeeze oversized egos onto one little island? The third annual Governor’s Ball Music Festival on Randall’s Island includes Kings of Leon, Guns N’ Roses and Kanye West. In addition to three days of music onsite, various satellite afterparties around town will feature bands (Haim, Dinosaur Jr., Japandroids).
June 13-16, Manchester, Tenn.
You never who you’ll meet at Bonnaroo: According to legend, Kings of Leon drummer Nathan met his wife Jesse in the potty line. Needless to say, it’s huge and romantic, and this year’s three-and-a-half-day lineup includes desert drifters Calexico, Paul McCartney and Wu-Tang Clan’s Friday night spot is high on many to-do lists.
June 21-23, Las Vegas
America’s other city that never sleeps hosts this dance music-oriented event at a nearby speedway. (You can almost feel the sunburn from here.) This year’s 17th annual Electric Daisy Carnival includes latter-day sainted dance celebs like Diplo’s Major Lazer and Dillon Francis, as well as veteran DJ/producers Calvin Harris and Carl Cox.
Newport Folk Fest
July 27-28 , Newport, R.I.
This onetime purist folk fest in Fort Adams State Park features Beck, Feist, Will Oldham and Dawn McCarthy, who recently released an album, “What the Brothers Sang,” inspired by the Everly Brothers, and much folk music inbetween.
Aug. 2-4, Chicago
The granddaddy of the modern festival once again draws the biggest names to the Windy City. Goth originators The Cure, stoner rockers Queens of the Stone Age and Manchester ravers New Order are joined by soulman Charles Bradley and new folkies The Lumineers.
Aug. 9–11, San Francisco
Golden Gate Park will once again host this food and music festival, which features onetime rap rock rebels the Red Hot Chili Peppers, pop-soul singer D’Angelo, Willie Nelson and Family, and Daryl Hall and John Oates. That’s some variety show, but don’t miss the brilliant Thao and the Get Down Stay Down.
Rock the Bells
Aug. 17–18, Aug. 24–25 and Aug. 31–Sept. 1(Projected)
San Bernardino, Calif., Mountain View, Calif. and Holmdel, N.J.
This semi-transitory hip-hop fest celebrates its 10th year and, oddly or not, the lineup is not on the website – yet. There’s a launch party at the House of Blues in Los Angeles on Tuesday, where participating artists will be announced.
Made in America
Aug. 31-Sept. 1, Benjamin Franklin Parkway, Philadelphia
This festival, commonly known as Jay-Z’s festival due to his input and headlining status in its inaugural year, finds Mr. Carter once again curating the line-up, which includes Beyonce, Deadmau5 and Phoenix mixing it with hip-hop, both young and veteran, including Wiz Khalifa and Public Enemy.
Aug. 31 – Sept. 2, Seattle
The onetime small city arts festival is now an international Labor Day Weekend institution at the Seattle Center, ‘neath the Space Needle. Along with big name headliners in all genres, there’s buzzworthy and breaking artists playing smaller stages. This year, the three-day weekend includes local rockers Heart and Death Cab for Cutie. There’s also a great film program as part of the festival. Previous year’s premieres have included “Trainspotting” and “LA Confidential.”