If you high-tail it right now you might make it to the last few days of Bonnaroo (June 11 – 14) in Manchester, Tennessee, to catch Mumford & Sons and Billy Joel. But if you can’t, do not fret — there are still many big music festivals left for summer 2015.
Check out our quick guide to the best of the rest across the country for a sonic getaway.
Not too far from civilization in Dover, Delaware, is the 3-years running Firefly Music Festival, considered by some to be the Bonnaroo of the East. Do real camping on the 105 acres at The Woodlands of Dover International Speedway, go to a rave in a secret wooded area – or just go for a day using one of their many different ticket possibilities.
2015 headliners: Snoop Dogg, Paul McCartney, Morrissey, Modest Mouse, Charlie XCX, the Killers, Sturgill Simpson
The annual Tulluride Bluegrass festival is one of America’s longest running camp-out and jam festivals, now celebrating 42 years, and is credited for the revival of American Bluegrass as well as popularizing the outdoor-music festival into something of an American tradition. Plenty of R&B and indie acts turn up in the mix of genres that echo off the San Juan Mountains.
2015 headliners: Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings, ZZ Top, Gregg Allman, John Hiatt & The Combo, Taj Mahal and Anders Osborne
For a magical music experience enter the tree-filled campgrounds at Double JJ Ranch where the colorful lighting creates a fantasy-like psychedelic atmosphere for rock and jam bands.
2015 headliners: The String Cheese Incident (3 Shows) BASSNECTAR, Skrillex, Kaskade FlumeBig Gigantic, Phantogram and Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeroes
Also known as the Big Gig, family-friendly Summerfest Milwaukee at the 75-acre Henry Maier Festival Park is the biggest, and longest, music festival in the world — running for 11 days and taking up 11 stages. The reasonable ticket prices, $19 for a day pass and only $80 for an 11-day Power Pass, make Summerfest the perfect opportunity to see major acts such as this year’s top-billed Lady Gaga and Stevie Wonder. Get there a day early to see the Rolling Stones on their Zip Code tour.
2015 headliners: Ed Sheeran, Lady Gaga, Kinds of Leon, Keith Urban, Brandi Carlile, Stevie Wonder, Carrie Underwood, Neil Young and the Promise of the Real, The Avett Brothers, Kendrick Lamar and unofficially The Rolling Stones
New York City
Hold on to your hat, or latte, because country music is taking over Manhattan. For the first time New York will host a fully-countrified roster of acts on Randall’s Island that will share territory with a giant inflatable slide and sponsored attractions such as the Budweiser Bud & Burgers grill-off and a RAM truck showcase.
2015 headliners: Brad Paisley, Dierks Bentley, Dwight Yokam, Sturgill Simpson and Brandy Clark
New Orleans, Louisiana
The tight acts at the 19-year-running Essence Festival include more than rap, hip-hop, soul and jazz sets that will make you vibrate; this year’s event will include the free-of-charge “Empower U” conference with over 60 speakers, including Al Sharpton, Deepak Chopra, Iyanla Vanzant – and a career fair. Even for a city saturated with outdoor parties and music festivals, New Orleans considers Essence one of its best events of the year.
2015 headliners: Mary J. Blige, Kendrick Lamar, Missy Elliott, Usher, Common, Erykah Badu, Kelly Price and Floetry
Newport, Rhode Island
One of the few festivals older than Tulluride, the Newport Folk Festival is an East Coast tradition that began in 1959 and is said to be one of the few places where Bob Dylan was booed during a performance — for abandoning folk-rock orthodoxy (accused some purist fans) in 1965. Since then the genre parameters have loosened up but the lineup retains its folk loyalty.
2015 headliners: Roger Waters, The Decemberists, Brandi Carlile, Hozier, Sufjan Stevens, Jose Gonzalez, First Aid Kit and Jason Isbell
The headline-making Lollapalooza, which means “an extraordinary or unusual thing,” was started in 1991 by Jane’s Addiction frontman Perry Farrell and ran until 1997 as a touring summer festival. The primarily rock, metal and alternative festival had toured around the world but has now stationed permanently in Chicago’s Grant Park where a ’90s grunge ethos sets the tone.
2015 headliners: Paul McCartney, Metallica, Florence + The Machine, Sam Smith, Bassnectar, Kid Cudi
Vibes celebrates its 20th anniversary this summer as a quintessential festival that began as an homage to the Grateful Dead. The laid-back atmosphere celebrates funk, bluegrass, reggae, R&B and jazz, and is where tie-dye never dies. Although unusual for a music festival to have shopping – you might be able to go home with something better than a hangover if you take a gander at the handmade crafts at Shakedown Street (or Craft Vendor Row).
2015 headliners: Wilco, Weezer, The String Cheese Incident, Ben Harper & The Innocent Criminals, Gregg Allman, Warren Haynes
San Francisco, California
Taste the fun at Outside Lands where artisanal foods, craft beers and the best that wine country can bottle have their own theme parks within the concert grounds at Golden Gate Park. The comestibles are just one of the attractions to add to the list of art, comedy and household names in pop and rock music.
2015 headliners: Elton John, Sam Smith, Mumford & Sons, Wilco, The Black Keys, Kendrick Lamar and Billy Idol
ALSO ON THE AGENDA:
June 11 – 14: CMA Music Festival, Nashville, Tennessee
June 19 – 21: Electric Daisy Carnival, Las Vegas
June 26 – 28: Loudwire Music Festival, Grand Junction, Colorado
June 26 – August 2: Rockstar Mayhem Festival, multiple cities
July 11 – 12: Green River Festival, Greenfield, Massachusettes
July 17 – 19: Forcastle, Louisville, Kentucky
July 17 – 19: Pitchfork Music Festival, Chicago, Illinois
July 22 – 26: Gathering of the Juggalos, Thornville, Ohio
July 31 – August 2: Picakthon, Happy Valley, Oregon
July 31 – August 2: Newport Jazz Fest, Newport, Rhode Island
August 1 – 2: Hard Summer, Pamona, California
September 3 – 5: Hopscotch Music Festival, Raleigh, North Carolina
September 4 – 6: Bumbershoot, Seattle, Washington
September 4 – 6: Electric Zoo: Transformed, New York City
September 5 – 6: Made In America, Philadephia, Pennsylvania
September 18 – 20: Kaaboo Del Mar, San Diego, California