While right now you likely have either Fresh Prince’s “Summertime” or Europe’s “The Final Countdown” on repeat, chances are you’ll be wanting a little more variety after you’ve handed in that last final. That’s what we’re here for. ArtsEtc. has searched high and low to bring you the best that this summer has to offer musically. Whether you’re sticking around Madison or feeling a bit more adventurous, our “ABC’s of Summer Music” has got you covered, from Atmosphere to Zed’s Dead.
A: Atmosphere at North Coast Music Festival with Steve Aoki, Pretty Lights, and Big Boi, August 31-Sep 2, Union Park, Chicago (www.northcoastfestival.com)
B: Best Coast at the Majestic, July 25 (www.majesticmadison.com)
C: Concerts on the Square, six consecutive Wednesdays starting on June 27, King Street corner of the Capital Square
D: Deer Tick at the Majestic on June 8 (www.majesticmadison.com)
E: Electric Forest, June 28 - July 1, Double JJ Ranch, Rothbury, MI
Nothing says summer like a camping trip in the woods. Except maybe a camping trip in the woods with 15,000 other people and your favorite DJs. Electric Forest will once again be turning Rothbury, Michigan’s Sherwood Forest into an electronic fantasy venue, with Technicolor trees, a hammock village, massive art installations, and the bass of Steve Aoki, Dada Life, and Bassnectar (to name a few) blasting under the starry sky. This year promises a glow-in-the-dark disc golf course, a hula-hoop troupe, and surprise performances. Those who are wary of sleeping bags can still enjoy the forest from the luxury of their own log cabin, suite, or pre-outfitted tents, all available through the festival organizers. ArtsEtc. will be braving the bugs to bring you the action live.
F: Feist at the Orpheum, June 3
G: Ghostface Killah & Raekwon at Soundset Festival with Lupe Fiasco, Big K.R.I.T, and Aesop Rock, May 27, Canterbury Park, Shakopee, MN (www.soundsetfestival.com)
H: Hurt at Band Camp with Korn, Taproot, and Slaves on Dope, July 28 at The Alliant Energy Center’s Willow Island (www.jjobandcamp.com)
I: Isthmus Jazz Fest at the Terrace, June 1 and 2 (www.thedailypage.com/isthmusJazzFestival)
J: Jane’s Addiction at Sound Town Music Festival with Florence + the Machine, Weezer, and Girl Talk, July 27 and 28 at The Somerset Amphitheater, Somerset, WI (www.soundtownfest.com)
K: Kill The Noise at Spring Awakening with Skrillex, Afrojack, and Laidback Luke, June 16 and 17 at Soldier Field, Chicago (www.springawakeningfestival.com)
L: Lollapolooza, August 3-5, Grant Park, Chicago
Take one part electronic Beat Port kings. Add one dash rock legends. Mix in a premium Indie blend, and sprinkle in some rap for good measure. Stir, and call it Lollapalooza. Chicago’s famed festival is back this year and the lineup is more killer than ever, with enough variety to please any festival-goer. While some like the Black Keys, Justice, and Florence + the Machine will be there making yet another stop on their festival routes, others like Jack White and Black Sabbath make Lolla a must-attend. Other bigger stage highlights include the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Kaskade, and The WEEKND, with The Gaslight Anthem, Sharon Van Etten, Bombay Bicycle Club and M83 sure to fill up the side stages. If you didn’t snag a 3-day pass, single day tickets are still available, and ArtsEtc. will be there, rain or shine, bringing you the action live.
M: Motley Crue at Rock USA with Kid Rock, Shinedown and Hinder, July 12-14, Oshkosh, WI (www.rockusaoshkosh.com)
N: Natty Nation at the Terrace, June 23
O: O.A.R. at The Basilica Block Party with Cake and The Head and the Heart, July 6 and 7, Minneapolis, MN (www.basilicablockparty.org)
P: Pitchfork, July 13-15, Union Park, Chicago
If you like beer, plaid shirts, or pretending not to like free things, Pitchfork is the festival for you. Smaller than Lolla, less rowdy than Bonaroo, Pitchfork will take over Chicago’s Union Park for three days, bringing its own blend of independent artists to the indie hipster mini-masses. Headliners include Fiest and Vampire Weekend, with AraabMuzik, Flying Lotus, Cults and Willis Earl Beal performing as well. Single day tickets are still available, and ArtsEtc. will be on hand to capture the experience only a Whole Foods-sponsored festival can bring. If SXSW is any indication, it will be a fest to curse PBR when trying to remember. (www.pitchfork.com)
Q: Quietdrive at River’s Edge Music Festival with The Flaming Lips, Dave Matthew’s Band, and Motion City Soundtrack, June 23-24, Minneapolis, MN (www.riversedgemusicfestival.com)
R: Rhythm and Booms, June 30, Warner Park, Madison (www.rhythmandbooms.com)
S: Summerfest, June 27-July 1, July 3-8, Summerfest Grounds, Milwaukee
This summer, Milwaukee again proves there’s more to its legacy than PBR. The country’s largest music festival will be back on the shores of Lake Michigan with 11 days and nights of music, and everyone from the Zac Brown Band to Tiesto will be in on the action. While the full lineup hasn’t been released, festival organizers seem to be covering all their bases – Lady Antebellum, The Beach Boys, Iron Maiden, OAR, Death Cab for Cutie, Aerosmith, Paul Oakenfold and Hollywood Undead have already been confirmed. Those who brave the shuttle buses to the Summerfest grounds and throw themselves in the mixed bag of attendees can wander from stage to stage, hearing teenage crowd screams, bluegrass guitar twangs, machine gun drum pedals, electro bass drops, and a whole lot of drunken yelling. Only in Milwaukee, eh. Count on ArtsEtc reviews of the action.
T: Tech N9NE at the Orpheum, May 31
U: Upon a Burning Body at Mayhem Festival with Slayer, Slipknot, and Anthrax, July 21, First Bank Amphitheater, Tinley Park, IL (www.rockstarmayhemfest.com)
V: Vanna at Warped Tour with Mayday Parade, New Found Glory, and Rise Against, August 1, Marcus Amphitheater, Milwaukee, (www.vanswarpedtour.com)
W: WORT Block Party on W. Doty Street, May 20 (www.wort-fm.org)
X: Xiu Xiu at the Terrace, May 18
Y: Yelawolf at Bonaroo with Red Hot Chili Peppers, Foster the People, June 7-10, Manchester, TN (www.bonnaroo.com)
Z: Zed’s Dead at Summer Camp with Umphree’s McGee, Jane’s Addiction, and 12th Planet, May 25-27, Three Sister’s Park, Chillicothe, IL (www.summercampfestival.com)