Summer Music Festivals 2016: Your guide to the season’s best – Metro US

Summer Music Festivals 2016: Your guide to the season’s best

Summer Music Festivals 2016: Your guide to the season’s best
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With summer around the corner, so is music festival season. From the star-studded festivals in your backyard to the rock, folk and EDM celebrations across the country, there’s certainly something for everyone.

Boston Calling

May 27 to 29, Boston, MA


Begin the summer season with a bang at Boston’s answer to Lollapalooza. From Sia’s soaring vocals and Disclosure’s sultry dance beats to Sufjan Steven’s heart-on-your-sleeve folk and Charles Bradley and the Extraordinaires’ masterful soul tunes, the festival co-curated by Aaron Dessner (of The National) certainly has diversity. Also be sure to catch Aussie rocker Courtney Barnett’s deadpan ramblings and quirky New Jersey punk rockers The Front Bottoms.

Newport Folk Festval

July 22 to 24, Newport, RI


Take in folk, country and blues from the best at the legendary festival at the picturesque Fort Adams State Park. Elvis Costello, Norah Jones and Ray Montagne are among the headliners but the fest’s highly curated selection of up-and-comers is just as important. Be sure to check out the vintage soul of Nathaniel Rateliff and the Night Sweats, the calming, fingerpicking folk of The Oh Hellos and the desert rock of Mali-based Songhoy Blues.

Governor’s Ball

June 3 to 5, New York, NY


In just five years, #GovBall has risen to become one of the premiere American music festivals. The sixth edition, featuring big-ticket headliners like Kanye West, The Strokes, Beck and Robyn, certainly solidifies their reputation. We’re particularly excited to jam to Jamie XX’s electro, rock with the bluesy Gary Clark Jr. and dance to Robyn’s silvery pop. Long Island alt hip hop legends De La Soul also make one of the group’s only U.S. appearances at the fest.

Panorama Festival

July 22 to 24, New York, NY


This festival newcomer pushes New York’s hip factor to the max. Catch a set from the revival of dance punk legends LCD Soundsystem, rap mastermind Kendrick Lamar and anthemic indie rockers Arcade Fire. Other highlights include electro R&B riser FKA Twigs, slack rockers Kurt Vile & the Violators and the Brittany Howard-fronted blues rock of Alabama Shakes. It’ll even feature the Future Lab, an “experiential installation that explores the possibilities of music and technology.”

Roots Picnic

June 4, Festival Pier at Penn’s Landing, Philadelphia, PA


The Roots’ annual extravaganza stars none other than Usher backed up with Black Thought and Questlove’s jazz-inspired hip hop group. The eclectic lineup also features retro-soul riser Leon Bridges, electrofunk artist Blood Orange, Atlanta hip hop stalwart Future and silky R&B from Kehlani. It’ll be a day all about getting down.

Outside Lands

August 5 to 7, San Francisco, CA


Set at Golden Gate Park, it’s hard to beat the vibes from this mid-summer celebration. Experimental rock king Radiohead headlines the bash that seamlessly meshes contemporary talent (Lana Del Rey, Ryan Adams) with veteran stars (Lionel Richie, Duran Duran).


July 28 to 31, Grant Park, Chicago, Illinois


Relive the ‘90s with alt rockers Red Hot Chili Peppers and Jane’s Addiction. That said, the king of rock festivals has had to diversify its lineup with the changing times: headliners this year also include electropop singer Ellie Goulding, hardcore rapper J. Cole and EDM bigwig Major Lazer.


June 9 to 12, Manchester, TN


Spend four days on a 700-acre farm with Pearl Jam, Grateful Dead spin-off Dead & Company and LCD Soundsystem at the closest modern equivalent to Woodstock. While this isn’t a festival for the faint-hearted — camping, and all of the difficulties that come with it, are necessary — it’s definitely a full-fledged festival experience. Embrace it all with psychedelia from Tame Impala, grizzled Americana from Jason Isbell and the annual late night super jam, featuring jazz mastermind Kamasi Washington, Miguel and many unannounced guests.

Northside Festival

June 6-12, Brooklyn, NY


This eight-day showcase of “music, film, food, ideas and entrepreneurship” spans the hippest cultural agenda in Brooklyn. Conor Oberst (or as you might remember him, Bright Eye), 420-friendly country star Kasey Musgraves and Brian Wilson performing “Pet Sounds” will headline alongside panels and workships on innovation, entreprenuership and start-up culture.


June 29 to July 10, Milwaukee, WI


This budget-friendly megafest probably features more familiar artists than any other on the list. From Paul McCartney and Selena Gomez to Sting with Peter Gabriel, Luke Bryan and Ray LaMontagne, the 11-day extravaganza across 11 stages is bound to be worth the trip to Milwaukee. And it’s literally just $13 to attend on a weekday, though notably, stars like McCartney and Bryan perform at separate ticketed events.


June 10 to 13, Bethel Woods, NY


This electro and EDM festival features big names like Skrillex, Bassnectar and Hudson Mohawke, hippie vibes — and, ahem, potentially — mind-expanding experiences. Set near the original Woodstock Festival, it’s the U.S. offshoot of a Netherlands-based electronic music celebration begun in the mid-‘90s.