This summer has music fans salivating, with more festivals than ever before and every lineup is better than the last. May is already looking crazy but the event calendar really fills up in June, and fans will have to make hard choices about how they spend their time and money. We have the scoop on the best of what’s around and you can rest assured that it will be a memorable summer. There is a festival out there for everyone, regardless of musical taste or total budget.
Wakarusa Music Festival- Ozark, Arkansas June 5th-8th
For those of you in the midwest (or if you’re looking for a solid road trip) Wakarusa Music Fest offers a diverse array of the best talent around right now, and the jam band/DJ combination will have you dancing all weekend long. Fans of live improvisation will get their fill from EOTO, String Cheese Incident, Umphrey’s McGee, STS9, Lettuce, Boombox, Twiddle, and Kung Fu. If you haven’t seen a jam band perform live, you are missing out on what makes these groups legendary. Wordlessly shifting between songs, keys, and time signatures, jam bands throw down a live show unlike anything else. Their command of the stage and their respective instruments is quite impressive! EDM fans, bass heads, and everyone in between will love catching Rusko, Bassnectar, Infected Mushroom, Break Science, ill.gates, and much more. This looks like an awesome time and the prices are cheaper than most!
Four day passes are $210 after fees, but camping must be purchased separately regardless of ticket option.
Mountain Jam Music Festival- Hunter Mountain, NY June 5th-8th
What was once a small grass-roots festival has quickly grown into one of the premier summer events in the Northeast. This years festival runs a comfortable four days with an unprecedented lineup featuring Pretty Lights, the Allman Brothers Band, Tedeschi Trucks Band, Darkstar Orchestra, the Avett Brothers, Beats Antique, Trampled by Turtules, two sets by Umphrey’s McGee, and more. Hunter Mountain is the perfect setting to dance through a long weekend and the cool climate is better than most summer venues. Ticket prices have increased to reflect the size and scope of the festival, but there is an array of activities available for anyone desiring a break from the music. Yoga, creative art activities, massage therapy, and much more are available to attendees for little to no cost (http://mountainjam.com/activities/), and there will be plenty of delicious food and drink that is sourced from local vendors.
Four day passes with camping go for around $280 after fees, and four day passes without camping are going for $250. Don’t miss out!
Governor’s Ball- Randall’s Island, NYC June 6th-8th
NYC’s beloved Gov Ball returns this year despite the muddy mess that went down last year, and the lineup has something awesome for fans of all genres. Old and new names fill the bill this year with headliners ranging from Outkast to Disclosure, and EDM fans are thrilled to see Sebastian Ingrosso and Axwell (2/3 of Swedish House Mafia) join forces once again. Jack White always brings his A-game and Skrillex is riding high on the acclaimed success of Recess, so there is no doubt that you will catch some incredibly special performances this year. Randall’s Island is truly a great venue with tons of space, lush grass, and free water refill stations. The event organizers have taken even greater precautions this year to ensure the event will run smoothly and fans will have a great experience, regardless of the weather.
There are a wide variety of ticket options: Single day general admission passes are available (Saturday is sold out) for $115, and a GA 3-day pass runs for $250. If you’re looking for a truly wild experience there are numerous VIP options to maximize your fun at Governor’s Ball. Attendees always have great things to say about this event, so if you’re considering it get your tickets now before prices increase!
Sonar Music Festival- Barcelona, Spain June 12-14th
If you have a flexible schedule and some money to spend, Sonar Music Fest is the one event that will leave ALL of your friends in envy. This is Sonar’s 20th anniversary, and the lineup reads like an encyclopedia with a stunning array of 140 internationally-acclaimed DJs. That’s not a typo…Flux Pavillion, Richie Hawtin, Plastikman, Rudimental, Boys Noize, Bonobo, Trentemoller, Gesaffelstein, I am Legion, Brodinski, Camo & Krooked, Royskopp & Robyn, James Murphy, Pretty Lights, Loco Dice, and much more. If getting to this festival is even the slightest possibility, you have to make it happen!
Three day passes are $270 dollars, and there are also a variety of single day passes. http://sonar.es/en/pg/tickets
Bonnaroo- Manchester, Tennessee June 12th-15th
Ahh Bonnaroo-one of America’s largest and best-known festivals. I drove down to Bonnaroo in 2012 and had the time of my life. The scope is something to behold-if you take a ride on the ferris wheel you can get some great photos of the entire festival ground to truly understand how massive of a project this is. The lineup was diverse and included the best of every genre when I went, and the management team works hard to make each Bonnaroo bigger, better, and more enjoyable for the fans. This year’s lineup is like that of other established festivals like Coachella, Electric Forest, or Governor’s Ball- the lineup is just PACKED with talent, spanning both musical genres and generations. Jack White, Kanye West, Elton John, Neutral Milk Hotel, Lionel Richie, Arctic Monkeys, Frank Ocean, Kaskade, the Avett Brothers, Vampire Weekend, the Flaming Lips, Disclosure, Zedd, the Head and the Heart, Chromeo, Slightly Stoopid, Tedeschi Trucks Band, and much more. Bonnaroo has the setup down to a science, and there are going to be even more creative art installations, food vendors, and amenities for campers of any age or budget.
General admission camping passes are going for about $310 right now, but there is also a payment plan for those who are strapped for cash!
Spring Awakening- Chicago, Illinois June 13th-15th
Spring Awakening has emerged to become a premier electronic music festival in the U.S., as React Presents is doing everything they can to ensure the name and reputation continue to grow. Featuring two main stages and six featured headliners, the event returns to Soldier Field and although camping is not an option there is a wide array of hotels near the venue. The lineup this year rivals any major EDM festival, as it includes Pretty Lights, Big Gigantic, Kaskade, Knife Party, Diplo, Tiesto, Dillon Francis, Eric Prydz, Flux Pavillion, Bingo Players, Benny Benassi, Steve Aoki, A-Trak, Claude Vonstroke, Datsik, Kill the Noise, Feed Me, Ferry Corsten, Borgore, Arty, Blasterjaxx, Nervo, Kill Paris, Oliver, Tommy Trash, Markus Schulz, and much more.
Three day passes run for $235 after fees, and for the 21+ crowd VIP three day passes run for $363 after fees. If you’re looking for something new this summer you need to check out Spring Awakening!
Electric Forest- Rothbury, Michigan June 26th-29th
This festival is trying harder than anyone to make each year better than the last, and I can confidently say that last year’s EF was the best event I have ever attended. Hands down. Insomniac knows what they are doing, and in addition to art installations that will blow your mind the lineup is also another amazing one. Four full days of festival fun, with performance from the Glitch Mob, Excision, Flying Lotus, Steve Angello, the String Cheese Incident (3 shows), STS9 (2 shows), Moby, Schoolboy Q, EOTO, Tycho, Cherub, GTA, I am Legion, Kung Fu, MK, Pegboard Nerds, Seven Lions, Soul Clap, What So Not, and much, much more. The setup alone is worth the ticket price- I guarantee you’ve never seen anything like Sherwood Forest. The lasers and lights intersect in the forest, projecting across the neatly manicured pine trees to create a skyline that looks otherworldly. I may have a bias, but this is definitely one of the BEST events this summer and if you have the money it’s absolutely worth it.