StudyBlue’s Guide to Summer Music Fests

With enough time and money at your disposal, you could hypothetically spend every weekend this summer at a different music festival. So many fests have popped up in the last few years alone that no matter what corner of the country you’re in, you won’t be too far from a festival. StudyBlue has picked some of the best offerings from each region and given you the lowdown on each. After you’re done reading, check out our Facebook page for a chance to win a $15 iTunes gift card. 

East Coast:

Governors Ball: New York City, June 6-8
Some of the big names: Jack White, Vampire Weekend, Outkast, the Strokes, Phoenix, Foster the People, Disclosure, J. Cole
Governors Ball is relatively new to the festival scene but has quickly cemented its status as New York’s signature music festival. One advantage of this festival is that it takes place on Randall’s Island along the East River so transportation isn’t an issue. If you’re into hip-hop, Gov Ball is one of your best bets: J. Cole, Childish Gambino, Chance the Rapper, Tyler, the Creator, Earl Sweatshirt and, of course, the recently-reunited Outkast are all on the roster.

Source: governorsballmusicfestival.com

Firefly: Dover, Delaware, June 19-22
Outkast, Jack Johnson, Foo Fighters, Imagine Dragons, Childish Gambino, Tegan and Sara, Arctic Monkeys, Pretty Lights, Grouplove
Though Firefly is newer than most festivals and operates on a smaller scale, its lineup for this year is pretty impressive – it boasts Foo Fighters, recent radio mainstays Imagine Dragons, Outkast, and the Arctic Monkeys. Perks for Firefly include its gorgeous natural setting in the Woodlands of Delaware and the fact that you can camp on-site, which is sure to be an experience in itself.

Made in America: Philadelphia and Los Angeles, August 30-31
Los Angeles: Imagine Dragons, John Mayer, Steve Aoki, Kendrick Lamar, Afrojack
Philadelphia: Kanye West, Kings of Leon, Tiesto, the National, Pharell, Steve Aoki
Jay Z and Budweiser’s collaboration festival adopts a “divide and conquer” approach this year and takes on a whole new coast. Both the Philly and LA versions of the festival will take place concurrently on Labor Day weekend. Just because the festival is twice as big now, though, doesn’t mean that the lineups for either city are any less stacked. Our one complaint? We wish Jay Z himself would appear on one of these stages.


Bonnaroo: Manchester, Tennessee, June 12-15
Elton John, Kanye West, Jack White, Vampire Weekend, the Avett Brothers, Skrillex, Kaskade…we could go on.
For an idea of how diverse and extensive the lineup at Bonnaroo is, try scrolling through the lineup page on their website – it practically doesn’t end. Part of the fun of this festival is that it’s more than just a three-day concert; since you’ll probably be camping on the grounds with everyone else, you’re entering into a whole experience. Four days in Tennessee in June means that you are gonna get sweaty, so it’s probably worth spending the few extra bucks for shower access.

Image source: Spin.com


Lollapalooza: Chicago, August 1-3
Eminem, Outkast, Kings of Leon, Arctic Monkeys, Calvin Harris, Avett Brothers, Foster the People, Lorde, Skrillex
Out of all of these festivals, Lolla has been around the longest, and is known for being exceptionally well-organized. Each year it draws some of the biggest names in music, including those in current radio rotation or more established classic acts. Lolla is like Bonnaroo for the less outdoors-inclined – an equally stacked lineup, but being in a city, you can stay in a hotel instead of a tent. Good deal.

Image source: Lollapalooza Flickr

Electric Forest: Rothbury, Michigan, June 26-29
The String Cheese Incident, Steve Angello, Ms. Lauryn Hill, Zedd, Zeds Dead
Electric Forest corners a specific angle in the music festival market by focusing mostly on electronic acts and jam bands. It really does live up to its name – with its elaborate light production it truly seems like you’re in an electrically enhanced forest. You can camp there, and the festival’s unique features (such as daily yoga, art installations, and a water park) aim to transport you to an alternate world for the weekend.

Image source: electricforestfestival.com 

West Coast:

Outside Lands: San Francisco, August 8-10
Kanye West, Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, The Killers, Tiësto, Arctic Monkeys, Grouplove, Disclosure
Outside Lands calls itself a “Music and Arts Festival,” because its attractions aren’t limited to just the musical acts (of which there are plenty). Keeping with the culture of San Francisco, the festival promotes environmental initiatives and features displays of works by local artists. In addition to the plethora of offerings from local restaurants, there’s a wine tent showcasing some of Napa’s finest and a beer tent with locally-crafted brews. We won’t blame you if you spend more time perusing the food and beverage options than at the stages.

Image Source: Spin.com

Capitol Hill Block Party: Seattle, July 25-27
A$AP Rocky, Spoon, Matt and Kim, Chromeo
Something about the name “Block Party” makes this festival sound like it’s just a casual gathering of you, some neighbors and your close friends A$AP Rocky, Spoon, and Chromeo. Who wouldn’t wanna be part of that? The Capitol Hill Block Party lineup isn’t huge compared to some of the other big fests, but the acts that have been picked are guaranteed to put on a good show.


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