It was the summer of ‘69 when more than 450,00 people flooded into Bethel, N.Y. for a four day musical extravaganza that ultimately became a defining moment in the counterculture movement: Woodstock Music and Art Fair. Forty years later, multiple music festivals around the U.S. have attempted to continue this tradition of summer days full of “peace and music” with a modern twist. There is one thing we urge every young music enthusiast to do this summer, and that is to attend one of the major music festivals taking place. Whether you’re a metal head or bohemian bum, we’ve found something for everyone.
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Going to Chicago-based music festival, Lollapalooza, is like seeing a concert at the Terrace, only it’s amplified in scope and scale. Perry Farrell, frontman for Jane’s Addiction, conceived the idea in 1991. What began as a band’s farewell tour has slowly developed into one of America’s largest musical festivals. Since 2004, Lollapalooza has found its successful home, Grant Park in Chicago, and is signed to remain there until 2011.
This year, Lollapalooza is scheduled for Aug. 7-9. The festival this year consists of 84 bands and 21 DJs, on what has been in the past approximately eight stages. Unfortunately, “early bird” rate prices have already sold out, but the current price of $190 for a three-day pass is not much inflated.
If the likes of artists such as The Killers, Ben Harper and Relentless7 and Ben Folds are of interest to you, purchase your tickets fast because the price will increase one more time before the festival begins. In recent years, the festival has taken on more hip-hop artists; however, this year it returned to its rock and roll roots. Predominant indie artists including Andrew Bird, Arctic Monkeys and Cold War Kids are among dozens of incredible others that will grace the stages this summer.
If watching hours upon hours of music as you bask in glorious lakeside Chicago weather with an overpriced drink in your hand sounds like your thing, Lollapalooza is the perfect way to conclude your (hopefully not too stressful) summer.
— Lauren Schroeder
After the overwhelming amount of success it had its inaugural year, Rothbury music festival is back for its second year and promises to be better than ever.
Scheduled from July 2-5 in Rothbury, Mich., Rothbury music festival is giving festival goers The Dead’s only summer performance, String Cheese Incident’s only 2009 performance and Bob Dylan and His Band for four crazy nights of psychedelic lights, glow stick wars and heavy dancing in the middle of the forest for a price of $249.50. But with the recession affecting everyone, Rothbury is offering music fans tickets for July 4 and July 5 for a smaller price of $149.50.
Yet, if these headliners do not intrigue you, do not be discouraged. Other scheduled performers include the Disco Biscuits, Sound Tribe Sector 9 and Les Claypool ready to play until 4 a.m. for your pleasure.
As Rothbury 2008 was my first overnight music festival, the days were filled with basking in the sun and watching Snoop Dogg ride his low-rider bicycle on stage, while the nights consisted of raving in the Triplee Domes to Lotus and EOTO with endless roaming in the enchanted Sherwood Forest searching for the rumored hidden stage.
Although Rothbury is offering attendees more than music, it is also providing music lovers a Think Tank which leading scholars, scientists and innovators discuss new ways to solve the world’s energy crisis. But to officially understand the greatness of Rothbury, you will just have to experience it for yourselves.
- — Andy Groher
For the true Wisconsinite, the warming temperatures and blue skies mean one thing: Summerfest.
The world’s largest music festival — situated right on Lake Michigan — boasts 11 days bursting with music, food and about seemingly millions of timewasters to keep patrons busy while waiting for the next big show.
But of course, people go for the headliners. Among the highlights this year are Bob Dylan with Willie Nelson (July 1), Bon Jovi (June 25), Chicago with Earth, Wind & Fire (June 30) and the Fray with Jack’s Mannequin (July 4).
Aside from headliners, the other 10 stages annually offer a plethora of bands catering to each musical flavor. And seeing them for free makes it all the sweeter.
Even for the days without a favorite headliner, the trip to Summerfest is always worthwhile. Especially the simple things, like riding the cross-grounds sky glider or sitting on those great big rocks that line Lake Michigan while listening to the waves make instant memories.
Sentimentality aside, the overall charm of Summerfest lies in its unpredictability. Although life on the outside of the gated grounds may stick to the same routine, on the inside, the smell of food is constantly wafting through the air and the sound of music pervades the city as a whole. It’s an escape at its finest.
And you may, like I did last year, find yourself attending a Polyphonic Spree concert, high-fiving about half of the innumerable group decked out in their optimistically cult-like white robes before performing “Light and Day.” Maybe.
— Cailley Hammel
For those of you staying in Madison this summer who want a little metal in your lives, there’s only one place to be: radio station WJJO’s Band Camp 2009. Band Camp is an all-day music festival that originated in 2004 and has come back every year to give Madison a solid dose of loud, passionate music and drunken debauchery.
In the past, Band Camp has rocked the Alliant Energy Center’s Willow Island with two stages, a beer tent that rivals that of the Dane County Fair, local food and more head banging than you used to get even before MTV went soft on us. This year’s sponsors, the U.S. Army, Budweiser and Charter, promise to continue Band Camp’s beautiful tradition of outdoor mud fights and musical brutality with some very special headliners. So far, JJO has promised us Band Camp alumni Hurt and Red, as well as newcomers Powerman 5000, Pop Evil and Mudvayne.
As if that wasn’t enough big-name bands for any metal fan, Black Label Society is also signed up to make an appearance. With Zakk Wylde leading the show with his powerful, overdriven guitar virtuosity, everyone is guaranteed to have a good time and leave with ears ringing.
More bands will fill the roster as Aug. 9 quickly approaches, so keep your eyes peeled and devil horns in the air. When Band Camp finally arrives, leave your Dave Matthews-loving roommate at home and come prepared to rock.
— Paul Mader Schramm
Named by Rolling Stone as one of the 50 moments that changed the history of rock and roll, Bonnaroo is one epic festival that all who make the journey to Manchester, Tenn. never forget. Bonnaroo has become somewhat of a modern Woodstock, notorious for its diverse line-up and eclectic attendees. Located on a 700-acre farm, the four-day event will take place from June 11-14 this year. A four-day pass, which includes camping and parking, begins at $224.50 plus applicable fees. After these are sold out, tickets go up $10.
Bonnaroo encompasses all realms of the music world, hosting musicians from the indie, jazz, jamband, hip-hop and electronic music scene.
Although big name headliners Bruce Springsteen. Phish, Wilco and Nine Inch Nails are reason enough to splurge on this year’s festival, reading the lineup of talented musicians leaves one wondering, “How will I choose?” For those looking to dance with glow sticks in hand, MGMT, Santigold, Passion Pit and Girl Talk are sure to inspire raving masses while Bon Iver, The Decemberists and Animal Collective will provide an excellent opportunity to meditate after an overwhelming day.
If for some reason you aren’t feeling the music, get your hair done at the Bonnaroo salon (because you probably won’t be showering), try out your turntable skills at the Scratch DJ Academy or play in the 20-foot lighted fountain.
What makes Bonnaroo truly unbelievable, though, besides the sick music and activities, is the process of getting there, camping out, meeting ridiculous characters and together enjoying one hell of a weekend. It’s the total package that makes this festival an unforgettable experience.
— Jessica Gressa