Rooster's very official summer music festival guide
Responsibilities can wait. It's festival season.
By Lucca DelPiccolo, Brian Frederick and Dina Hood
Date: May 23-25
Price: $325 weekend pass, $60 camping
Location: Gorge Amphitheater, George, Wash.
Driving Time: 18 hours
Headliners: Outkast, The National, Queens of the Stone Age, M.I.A., Kid Cudi
Who We’re Excited For: Cut Copy, Violent Femmes, The Naked and Famous, Major Lazer, Tyler, The Creator
Random Band: Die Antwoord
Festival Style: If there’s an outdoor amphitheater that can give Red Rocks a run for its money, it’s The Gorge. Looking down on the main stage you can see some of the biggest indie-rock acts of the day playing music into the rolling hills of the Columbia River. Although there are a lot of festival attendees, you can still get relatively close to the music no matter the stage.
If The Festival Were a Celebrity: Chloe Sevigny. Cool with just a touch of hipster.
Date: June 5-8
Price: $194 weekend pass, price options for camping
Location: Mulberry Mountain, Ozark, Ark.
Driving Time: 12.5 hours
Headliners: String Cheese Incident, Bassnectar, Flaming Lips, STS9, Umphrey’s McGee
Who We’re Excited For: Infected Mushroom, Lettuce, Boombox, Moon Taxi, Dirtfoot
Random Band: The Hood Internet
Festival Style: If Wakarusa had a slogan, it would be “The festival that never sleeps.” The site is beautiful, at the foot of a mountain and privately owned so police aren’t welcome inside. Stages are within a five-minute walk of the main campground, and you can easily find any party favors you want by walking around and getting to know your friendly neighborhood wooks.
If The Festival Were a Celebrity: Charlie Sheen. It’s a go-hard or go-home kind of fest.
Date: June 12-15
Location: Manchester, Tenn.
Driving Time: 17.5 hours
Headliners: Elton John, Kanye West, Jack White, Lionel Richie, Skrillex
Who We’re Excited For: Vampire Weekend, Arctic Monkeys, Ms. Lauryn Hill, Wiz Khalifa, Chromeo
Random Band: Mastodon
Festival Style: Festival lovers actually go to Bonaroo for the music. The lineup is always massive and packed with the biggest touring acts of the day. Be prepared for large crowds. Since it’s one of the biggest festivals in the nation, it’s very likely there’ll be 10,000 people between you and Skrillex.
If The Festival Were a Celebrity: Kim Kardashian. The festival is so big it could fill its own area code.
Date: July 3-6
Price: $207.50 Four-Day Pass, $110 Parking Pass
Location: Quincy, Calif.
Driving Time: 16 hours
Headliners: Widespread Panic, STS9, Beats Antique, Trampled By Turtles, The Del McCoury Band
Who We’re Excited For: The Chris Robinson Brotherhood, Punch Brothers, Greensky Bluegrass, Darkwave, Carolina Chocolate Drops
Random Band: The Polish Ambassador
Festival Style: Set in the town of Quincy in the hills of Lake Tahoe, High Sierra showcases all of the best things about small mountain festivals. The people are neighborly but get weird, and a lot of the crowd has been coming to the festival for years. Although the festival attracts some big names, you’ll have no trouble seeing the headliners close-up.
If The Festival Were a Celebrity: Robert Downey Jr. A festival goer that could educate you about quantum mechanics and then pass you a joint.
Date: Aug. 8-10
Location: Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, Calif.
Driving Time: 18.5 hours
Headliners: Kanye West, Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers, The Killers, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, Tiesto
Who We’re Excited For: The Flaming Lips, Atmosphere, Arctic Monkeys, Tycho, Local Natives
Random Band: Death Cab For Cutie
Festival Style: Outside Lands is truly a San Francisco festival at heart: It reflects the culture of the city while attracting big names. The food vendors are great, and the beer flows freely, but if that’s not your style there’s organic wine and art at the Wine Lands tent. Although it’s in San Francisco’s biggest park, it’s still a city festival with no campgrounds, so book ahead or plan to stay with friends.
If The Festival Were a Celebrity: Vanessa Hudgens. Young, hippie and in-the-know about mainstream music.
Hangout Music Festival
Date: May 16-18
Price: $229 three-day GA ($999 VIP)
Location: Gulf Shores, Ala.
Driving Time: 21.5 hours
Headliners: The Black Keys, The Killers, Outkast, Queens of the Stone Age
Who We’re Excited For: Bastille, Portugal. The Man, The Flaming Lips, Childish Gambino
Random Band: Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue
Festival Style: Beachside partying isn’t something normally attributed to Alabama, but we’re here to tell you that it’s totally a thing. Attendance is currently capped at 35,000 people a day due to safety concerns though, so getting tickets pronto is mandatory.
If the Festival Were a Celebrity: Mathew McConaughey. We can hear David Wooderson saying something to the effect of “Hangout Music Festival beachside, alright alright alright.”
Summer Camp Music Festival
Date: May 23-35
Price: $194.50 three-day pass (price raises as levels sell out)
Location: Chillicothe, Ill.
Drive Time: 13.5 hours
Headliners: moe., Umphrey’s McGee, Bassnectar, Slightly Stoopid
Who We’re Excited For: Girl Talk, Lotus, MiMOSA, Zac Brown Band
Random Band: Primus
Festival Style: Summer camp isn’t always about building plastic key chains, catching a strange rash or sticking instruments up your vagina, it’s also about jam bands, electronic music and making mother nature your live-in mistress. The eclectic lineup of the event gives no excuses for purists to complain and is totally worth writing home about.
If the Festival Were a Celebrity: Zooey Deschanel. It’s quirky, positive and no matter how much you try and hate it, there’s just no acceptable logic to support any sordid attempts to the contrary.
Pitchfork Music Festival
Date: July 18-20
Price: $130 three-day pass
Drive Time: 14.5 hours
Headliners: Beck, Kendrick Lamar, St. Vincent, Grimes
Who We’re Excited For: Schoolboy Q, Earl Sweatshirt, Perfect Pussy, Death Grips
Random Band: Giorgio Moroder
Festival Style: The Pitchfork brand has become the bane of existence for any independent artist not featured on the Pitchfork website. Its reputation pushed both the success and the downfall of itself in its pretentious and pandering format. The festival carries the reputable load but delivers overall quality to shush up critics.
If the Festival Were a Celebrity: James Franco. Towering sense of self-worth, easy to hate and continually tries to tell young women what’s best for them.
Gathering of the Juggalos
Date: July 23-26
Price: $180, or a case of Faygo
Location: Thornville, Ohio
Drive Time: 18.5 hours
Headliners: Tech N9ne, Insane Clown Posse, Kottonmouth Kings, Hopsin
Who We’re Excited For: (Hed) P.E., Dizzy Wright, Da Mafia 6ix
Random Band: Mick Foley
Festival Style: Juggalos just don’t give a fuck. Often described as the bullied class of social stratification, the outcasts of the music community hold tight in their loyalty to the brand. There isn’t anything else like it in the industry; and the fact that it’s still going strong 15 years later is a testament to the DGAF cause.
If the Festival Were a Celebrity: Dr. Kevorkian. It just wants to help its followers find peace in this mad, cruel world, and for everyone else to leave it the hell alone.
Spring Awakening Music Festival
Date: June 13-15
Price: $225 three-day pass
Location: Soldier Field, Chicago
Driving Time: 14.5 hours
Headliners: Tiesto, Knife Party, Pretty Lights, Diplo.
Who We're Excited For: 3LAU, Borgore, Eric Prydz, Dillon Francis
Random Band: Laidback Luke
Festival Style: Spring Awakening is a time to dance yourself into a serious health condition. Three days of deafening electronic dance music on Chicago’s iconic Soldier Field should not be taken lightly. This is not the place to kick back and contemplate theunknown; this is a place to rage your face off.
If the Festival Were a Celebrity: Lindsay Lohan. Lots of drugs; lots of bad decisions.
Lollapolooza Dance Festival
Price: $100 one-day pass, $250 three-day pass
Location: Grant Park, Chicago
Driving Time: 14.5 hours
Headliners: Eminem, Outkast, Lorde, Kings Of Leon, Skrillex
Who We're Excited For: Eminem, Calvin Harris, Nas, Chance The Rapper, Arctic Monkeys
Random Band: Gesaffelstein
Festival Style: Lollapolooza believes in choices. You can drink all day and front-row dance, or walk around enjoying great food and music. Either way, legendary headliners perform with the Chicago city lights sparkling behind them.
If the Festival Were a Celebrity: Justin Timberlake. The festival comes with tons of talent but at the steep price of crowds, tweenies and pop-culture mavens.
Date: Aug. 8-10
Price: $155-$205 three-day pass
Location: Loveland, Colo.
Headliners: Galactic feat. Chali 2na & Lyrics Born, Grateful Grass feat. Keller Williams, Nahko and Medicine for the People
Who We’re Excited For: Groundation, Quixotic, GKEN-E
Random Band: Kan’Nal
Festival Style: There isn’t any other festival this side of the equinox that’s as positive and spiritual as Arise. Along with great vibe bands, the festival features yoga, presenters, workshops, films, art, basically everything a creative mind wants in one beautiful, Loveland setting.
If the Festival Were a Celebrity: Richard Simmons. He never frowns. Take that positive energy, NutriBullet the piss out of it, and translate it into festival format.
Campout For The Cause
Date: May 23-15
Location: Rancho Del Rio, Bond, Colo.
Driving Time: 3 hours
Headliners: Elephant Revival, Head For The Hills, Paper Bird, Mark Farina, Fruition
Who We’re Excited For: Grant Farm, Mother Hips, The Congress, Gipsy Moon, Scott Law
Random Band: DJ Weezle
Festival Style: If you’re looking for a relaxed Colorado festival this summer, Campout For The Cause is it. The festival grounds at Rancho Del Rio are beautiful, and it’s easy to beat the heat and jump into the Colorado River, which runs through the grounds. Don’t be surprised if you run into people you know all weekend heading to the numerous yoga workshops, stand-up paddle boarding sessions or just floating the river.
If The Festival Were a Celebrity: Kate Hudson. It’s a down-to-earth, free-spirited, fun festival.
Date: June 19-22
Price: Sold Out
Location: Telluride, Colo.
Driving Time: 6.5 hours
Headliners: Leftover Salmon, Yonder Mountain String Band, Del McCoury Band, Sam Bush Band, Bela Fleck and the Colorado Symphony
Who We’re Excited For: Keller Williams with The Travelin McCourys, Greensky Bluegrass, Punch Brothers, Brandi Carlile, Telluride House Band
Random Band: The Lone Bellow
Festival Style: A festival with a rich, 40-year history, Telluride Bluegrass remains an institution among the grassy crowd. The festivarians (attendees of the festival) are an older, more mature crowd that’s there to see music, but if you’re looking to party you’ll find plenty of that as well. There is only one main stage all day, creating a sense of community around the music itself.
If The Festival Were a Celebrity: Steve Martin. Mature, smart, yet retains a goofy side.
Date: June 19-22
Price: $195 (prices raise as levels sell out)
Location: South Park, Colo.
Headliners: MIchael Menert, Break Science, Tipper, Eoto, The Polish Ambassador
Who We’re Excited For: Quixotic, Yamn, Vibesquad
Random Band: Random Rab
Festival Style: Sonic Bloom is on a mission to spark the creative energy right out of and back into its lovers. The four-day camping festival stands as a unique and amazing example of Colorado culture at its finest, making it a favorite for years. Expect morethan just music when South Park transforms.
If the Festival Were a Celebrity: Martha Stewart. It’ll shuck those prison slippers for festival flats just in time to smoke a J, roll a little face and create the next big thing.
Date: July 25-27
Price: $145 three-day pass, $60 daily pass
Location: Lyons, Colo.
Headliners: Béla Fleck & Abigail Washburn, Alison Krauss & Union Station, Sam Bush Bluegrass Band
Who We’re Excited For: Hot Rize, Uncle Earl, Della Mae
Random Band: The Watergirls
Festival Style: In case you didn’t know, torrential rain decimated this small community last year and many people speculated if it would ever come back. It’s back, and the festival is continuing its long tradition of happy hippies, gospel grass and the chillest festing in Colorado.
If the Festival Were a Celebrity: Chumbawamba. It got knocked down, but it got up again. That flood’s never gonna get it down.
Global Dance Festival
Date: July 18-21
Price: $99-$180 three-day passes, $250-$300 VIP
Location: Red Rocks Amphitheater, Morrison, Colo.
Headliners: Zedd, Adventure Club, Destroid, Excision
Who We're Excited For: Zedd, Carnage, Adventure Club, Wolfgang Gartner … because that’s all they’re telling us about so far.
Random Band: Bro Safari
Festival Style: Global is the perfect place for teenagers looking to let loose for a couple of days. It doesn’t really matter who’s playing; these kids haven’t cultivated real music taste. They don’t even know what real festivals are about. This one’s full of energy, electro and high-schoolers disappointing their parents.
If the Festival Were a Celebrity: Miley Cyrus. It’s just a teenager waiting for opportunities to make bad decisions in the name of pop culture.