Summer Music Festival Preview 2015

It’s time to think about warm weather, cold beer, and great music.

 

 

Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival (April 10-12, 17-19) | It kind of seems like the bigger festivals this year are only bringing disappointment. When you’re paying three to five times as much as some of the very solid smaller fests, it’s hard to amplify that cost to being worth your summer dollars. Seeing AC/DC, Jack White, and Drake in big letters doesn’t help very much, either. White should be nearing the end of his touring cycle, AC/DC are starting theirs…but it seems unlikely anyone would venture to the desert to see them. Florence & the Machine, Flying Lotus, Father John Misty, and Alabama Shakes fill out the acts playing every other festival category. Tickets are sold out, but are going between $570 and $680 on Stubhub.

Wakarusa (June 4-7) | With only two-thirds of its lineup released so far, Wakarusa has my attention. Ben Harper & the Innocent Criminals return, The Roots finally return to the road, Chance the Rapper and Young the Giant appear to please a younger spectrum, while the older crowd chills at STS9 and Matisyahu. Tickets are $179 post-fees and available here.

Shaky Knees Music Festival (May 8-10) | This quickly rising festival may have the most unique and impressive collection of bands so far. The Strokes, Ryan Adams, The Pixies, The Avett Brothers, Wilco and Social Distortion top a deep lineup. Tickets are $207 and located here via Ticketmaster.

Hangout Music Festival (May 15-17) | I certainly don’t prefer Zac Brown…but Zac Brown on a beach? Sign me up. The hottest touring rock band of the year, Foo Fighters, tops the list, with Beck, Foster the People, My Morning Jacket, Spoon, and TV on the Radio in tow. Let’s face it, though: Being on the beach is always going to be the largest draw of this festival and that’s just fine. Tickets are $280 after fees and are available here.

Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival (June 11-14) | There is so much more to Bonnaroo than music, but with the initial artists announced, it still suffers (like Coachella) to live up to previous lineups. Billy Joel is not Paul McCartney; he probably isn’t even as big of a draw at Bonnaroo as My Morning Jacket (also on the lineup). Deadmau5 will put on a killer show as the festival’s first EDM headliner, but it still feels off. The thing Bonnaroo has that appears lacking at Coachella is seemingly impulse bookings. Some oddities this year include Slayer, as well as David Byrne making his return in a tribute to William Onyeabor as Atom Bomb!; Kendrick Lamar headlining his first major festival should prove impressive, Tears for Fears, and the unnamed Superjam (which could be just about anything). Tickets will be $300 before fees and available here. Payment plans are available.

Rock in Rio (May 8-9, 15-16) | The world’s biggest festival comes to Las Vegas and features both a rock and pop weekend. Officially confirmed so far are Metallica, Taylor Swift, No Doubt, Linkin Park, Sam Smith, John Legend, and Hollywood Undead. So you probably either think that sounds hellish, or you want to drink some Bud Light and hit the casinos. Tickets run $298 for each seperate weekend and are available here beginning January 20.

Governors Ball Music Festival (June 5-7) | Trying to make it into the upper echelon of fests, Governors Ball has come up with unique lineups the last several years; this one does feature some acts that aren’t everywhere this summer. The Black Keys never stop touring, but aren’t playing many festivals so far this summer. Lana Del Ray, Florence & the Machine, and Bjork bring some diversity to a very male heavy list of summer big names. One ticket will run you $300 after fees (here), but there are payment plans available. | Bruce Matlock

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