Long lines, loud noises, rubbing up against sweaty strangers — and that’s just the experience standing in line for the port-a-potties. That’s right, folks — summer music festival season is here. Instead of being exposed to one or two bands every other week or so like an entry level fan, festivals like the annual favorite Bonnaroo give you a chance to squeeze in all of the bands you ever wanted to see (and plenty that you didn’t) in one musical cram-session. Not all summer music festival are created equal, however, so here are a few that we think are worth schlepping all the way across the country for.
May 31-June 3, Ozark, Ark.
Supersized festivals like this one are usually just as much for die-hard music fans as they are for tent and dirt enthusiasts, which has made this long-running music and camping festival in Arkan-sas such a hit. That and the eclectic lineups — this year the slate runs the gamut from heady electronic bro Pretty Lights, to neo-mod soul act Fitz and the Tant-rums, to indie beardos Blitzen Trapper, who were probably going to be hanging around nearby in the woods already anyway.
Electric Daisy Carnival
June 8-10, Las Vegas
For almost 15 years this has been one of the biggest electronic music festivals in the country. Now that EDC is bigger than ever, it makes sense that the festival would expand exponentially too. Big names like Avicii, Tiesto, Afrojack and David Guetta headline.
All Good Festival
July 19-22, Thornville, Ohio
Old people like music too, and while they may not do as many drugs as they used to, sometimes it’s nice to go back and relive the glory days, if only for a weekend. Phil Lesh & Friends, The Flaming Lips, Bob Weir and Bruce Hornsby with Branford Marsalis, The Allman Brothers Band and your dad will all be there.
Pitchfork Music Festival
July 13-15, Chicago
Aug. 3-5, Chicago
The old marketing brand returns with a lineup that reads like the ghosts of Lollapalooza past (Red Hot Chili Peppers, At the Drive-In), present (Black Keys, Florence + the Machine) and future (Twin Shadow, SBTRKT). The stacked bill almost seems more Pitchforkian than the actual Pitchfork fest going on a couple weeks earlier featuring Grimes, Clams Casino, Sleigh Bells and Beach House.
In the past decade, Bonnaroo has become the ideal by which all other fests are judged, and a great example of what happens when you realize, whoops, you’ve become superpopular and need to book more than just jam bands. This year the likes of Skrillex, Radiohead, Mogwai, Das Racist, GZA, Santi-gold, The Roots and Foster the People give the nation’s hipsters a really confusing idea of what Tennessee is actually like. Luke O’Neil