Music festivals. The time when you cut lose. The time to take in as much music (and a responsible amount of booze...) as possible. It can be glorious, but with all that choice it's good to have a guiding hand to pick out the best of what's out there and the best bands on the bill that maybe you'd miss because they aren't Taylor Swift or The Coldplays yet. Let me guide you...with this guide!
Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival - June 9-12 - Great Stage Park, TNOne of the most popular festivals in the country. A melting pot of jam bands, indie rock, legendary acts, comedy, water slides and surprise appearances. There's no other festival where you'll see Jon Hamm and Zach Galifianakis sing We Are The World before Chance The Rapper comes out to perform a DJ Jazzy Jeff + Fresh Prince medley alongside a consistently strong line up of the best music from around the world. If that is you thing get to Bonnaroo.
HeadlinersPearl Jam. Dead & Company. LCD Soundsystem. Death Cab For Cutie. Tame Impala.
Don't MissWeen. Jason Isbell. Waxahatchee. The Internet. Twin Peaks. Steve Gunn. Found Footage Festival. Bully.
UNiDAYS® TipLizzo - The rapper, singer, producer, all rounder. The true heir to Missy Elliot's throne with the added bonus of being way more fun. (Mad props to Missy tho, please don't hurt me)
Pitchfork Music Festival - July 15-17 - Union Park, Chicago, IL.The arbiters of all that is good and true with music, P4K's annual music festival is as diverse and hip as the content on their website. They have some newbie called Brian Wilson performing Pet Sounds, which is a clunker of a band name. Shorten it bro or you won't get anywhere.
HeadlinersBeach House. Brian Wilson. Sufjan Stevens. FKA Twigs.
Don't MissThundercat. Oneohtrix Point Never. Carly Rae Jepsen. The Hotelier. Twin Peaks. Woods. Sun Ra Orchestra. Shamir. Martin Courtney.
UNiDAYS® TipRoyal Headache - This band! Like drinking all the coffee then running up a mountain then when you get to the top of a mountain there's a bunch of animals who've formed the best band ever and then you fly home on the back of an eagle. Or... real good garage punk rock from Australia!
Lollapalooza - July 28-31 - Grant Park, Chicago, IL.We all have Lollapalooza to thank for music festivals in the first place. Leading the charge in the 90s with mixed bill, all day line ups. It went away for a bit then returned and dominates as one of the biggest and best in the country.
HeadlinersRadiohead. RHCP. Jane's Addiction. LCD.
Don't MissThe Arcs. Kurt Vile and The Violators. Danny Brown. Vince Staples. Silversun Pickups. Modern Baseball. The Front Bottoms. Die Antwoord. Chris Stapleton. The only festival on this list to have guest starred on The Simpsons!
UNiDAYS® TipNothing - Swells of guitars, impassioned and distant vocals. Plenty of reverb. Let's not call it shoegaze cause these guys definitely have more energy to them than that.
Pickathon - August 5-7 - Happy Valley, OR.
HeadlinersJeff Tweedy. Beach House. yo la Tengo. Wolf Parade. Mac DeMarco.
Don't Missbadbadnotgood . Hurray for the riff raff. Ultimate Painting. Thee Oh Sees. Moon Duo.
UNiDAYS® TipOpen Mike Eagle - Rapper Open Mike Eagle crafts verses so dense with references, wordplay and jokes it takes a few listens to take it all in. Luckily he's so engaging you'll be hooked after just the one.
Outside Lands Music and Arts Festival - August 5-7 - Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, CA.Maybe the only festival on the list that includes an "experience" called Wine Lands. Sign me up. Let's "experience" some Shiraz and get wavy to Lionel Richie.
HeadlinersRadiohead. LCD Soundsystem. Lionel Richie. Lana Del Rey.
Don't MissPeaches. Kamasi Washington. Poliça. Sufjan Stevens. Nathaniel Ratliff & The Night Sweats. Diiv.
UNiDAYS® TipThe Muppet's Dr. Teeth and The Electric Mayhem. There's going to be a live performance from The Muppets' band. What this will actually be is uncertain as SPOILER they are actually puppets and it's probably close to impossible for their felt hands to grip instruments well enough for them to actually play them. But they are super famous puppets (Animal is probably more well known for playing drums than most of the bands on the line up) and have no doubt made you laugh at least once in your miserable life so go pay respects.
FYF Fest - August 27-28 - Exposition Park, Los Angles, CA.This line up makes my head actually throb and hurt. As Larry David loved to say it's "really really good". Remember when Larry would say that, like all the time, then he'd totally say the wrong thing to a nun or something when he had a pube stuck in his throat then Sheryl would ask how his day was and he'd say "good, really, really good" but in the way he said it, not typed out like I've done it.
HeadlinersKendrick Lamar. LCD Soundsystem. Grace Jones. Tame Impala.
Don't MissAir. Anohni. Oneohtrix Point Never. Shellac. To Segall. Floating Points. Black Lips. Hop Along. Charles Bradley.
UNiDAYS® TipSheer Mag SM are what happens when a bunch of DIY punks stop playing hardcore and start playing a mix of Thin Lizzy and classic Motown with the same basement house show energy. Tina Halladay's vocals are traffic stoppingly powerful and near enough every song has a ripping dual guitar solo that you wish your band could get away with.
Riot Fest - Sep 2-4 National Western Complex, Denver, CO & Sep 16-18 - Douglas Park, Chicago, IL.The actual Misfits? WTF. First time in something like 30 years that the iconic band have performed together. How will it go? Probably OK unless Danzig hurls bags of cat litter at Jerry Only mid-set, it could happen. Such a strong mix of quality hip hop and punk that this is equivalent to a Tony Hawk's Pro Skater soundtrack from 10 years ago or the music coming from your brother's bedroom when he had mates over.
HeadlinersThe Misfits. Morrissey. Ween. Deftones. Jane's Addiction. Death Cab For Cutie.
Don't MissNas. Dan Deacon. Bob Mould. Joey Badass. Fucked Up. Nots. Big Ups. Laura Stevenson. Smoking Popes. Bad Religion. GWAR. The Falcon. Method Man & Redman. Diet Cig.
UNiDAYS® TipDiarrhea Planet - That name right? I know. They know. Everyone knows. But talk about a band working real hard to rise above a name that should totally derail any kind of serious career (see also: Fucked Up). Diarrhea Planet play some of the most blistering, beach ball smashing, arms around your buddies as the bar closes at 3am, punk rock. Perfect vocal harmonies and four way, count them, FOUR WAY guitar solos. Good times. OK, go out there and have fun. Don't be afraid to go and watch a band you've never heard before. Remember kids. BE SAFE.
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