Lists / Music

Summer Festival Guide

by Evan Miller

summer-festival

The temperatures are rising, tank tops are popping up in droves, flower crowns and smoke clouds are abundant in the air; it must be festival season. As great times at fests (and bad times for your wallet) come ever closer, here’s a handy guide to some of my personal favorite events/lineups going on around North America.

Bonnaroo / Manchester, TN / June 12-14
Highlights: Kanye West, Disclosure, Frank Ocean, James Blake, Neutral Milk Hotel, Deafheaven, Janelle Monáe, Danny Brown, Ty Segall

Bonnaroo is the closest thing we have going to Woodstock right now. Situated on a huge piece of farmland in Tennessee, the annual festival has evolved beyond its hippie roots into something much greater. The lineup this year is somewhat underwhelming, however, which leads me to…

NXNE / Toronto, ON / June 13-22
Highlights: St. Vincent, Danny Brown, Spiritualized, Swans, tUnE-yArDs, Oneohtrix Point Never, Perfect Pussy, Future Islands, Evian Christ, Mac DeMarco

…the festival that stole from Bonnaroo’s lineup. Some of the noticeably missing big names from Bonnaroo (such as St. Vincent, Swans, OPN, Mac DeMarco) are present here, in this Canadian festival that is similar in set-up to Austin’s SXSW fest. The list of artists is large, and the names included (especially the ones above) creates for a very tempting urge to cross the border.

Forecastle / July 18-20 / Louisville, KY
Highlights: Outkast, Local Natives, Action Bronson, Slint, tUnE-yArDs, Waxahatchee, Avey Tare’s Slasher Flicks, Against Me!

Just a few hours drive down south will take you to Forecastle festival. This one would almost be worth it just to see the recently reunited Slint alone, especially back in their hometown. The reunited Outkast is also present, which only calls more attention to the current trend of old acts getting the band back together.

Pitchfork Music Festival / July 18-20 / Chicago, IL
Highlights: Kendrick Lamar, Neutral Milk Hotel, Grimes, St. Vincent, Danny Brown, Earl Sweatshirt, Slowdive, Death Grips, DIIV, Perfect Pussy, Speedy Ortiz

My personal favorite on this list (and the one I will most likely attend), Pitchfork’s annual festival in Chicago’s Union Park is holding some of the best acts in underground music today, and is also hosting the reunited Slowdive for one of their first shows in 20 years.

FYF Fest / August 23-24 / Los Angeles, CA
Highlights: Slowdive, Flying Lotus, The Blood Brothers, Grimes, Earl Sweatshirt, Four Tet, Mac DeMarco, Slint, Death Grips, Joyce Manor

Another stellar lineup, FYF Fest in Los Angeles’ Echo Park is another small festival turned big event. This fest is not only hosting the reunited Slint and Slowdive, but also The Blood Brothers. I sense a theme with reuniting bands here…

Nonesuch Records at BAM / September 9-28 / Brooklyn, NY
Highlights: Steve Reich, Philip Glass, Devendra Banhart, Laurie Anderson, Alarm Will Sound, Iron and Wine, Kronos Quartet, Nico Muhly

While not quite a festival like the ones mentioned already, this event marks the 50th anniversary of Nonesuch Records. A series of shows have been planned at the Brooklyn Academy of Music, including, most importantly, the first time Steve Reich and Philip Glass have shared a stage in over 30 years. That alone makes this festival something to see.

MidPoint Music Festival / September 25-27 / Cincinnati, OH
Highlights: Panda Bear, Real Estate, Deafheaven, Speedy Ortiz, Sun Kil Moon, Mutual Benefit

Cincinnati’s own little SXSW-style festival, recruiting larger and smaller acts alike, is just in the beginning stages of announcing its lineup for the year. The initial acts announced however make this a promising local festival.

Fest 13 / October 31-November 2 / Gainesville, FL
Highlights: Descendents, Touché Amoré, The World Is a Beautiful Place & I Am No Longer Afraid to Die, You Blew It!, All Dogs, Dads, Sidekicks, Mineral, Glocca Morra

Gainesville’s annual punk festival is like what the original idea for Warped Tour was, but so much better. This festival is a huge deal for DIY bands across the US, and is hosting some great Columbus acts like All Dogs and Sidekicks, as well as the recently reunited 90’s-emo mainstay Mineral.

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