If you’re planning to attend a music festival in the US, you have a lot of choices. Here’s a guide to only some of the big venues with style of music, places, dates, and links to the festival site.
The Guinness Book of World Records names Summerfest as the world’s biggest music festival. Quoting from the festival website: 11 days, 11 stages and over 800 bands.
Where: Milwaukee, WI
When: End of June into July
Map & Tickets Info: http://www.summerfest.com
New Music: South by Southwest
South by Southwest started in 1987 as a showcase for new artists who perform on stages and at local clubs. Acts currently number over one thousand.
Where: Austin, TX
Map & Tickets Info: http://sxsw.com/
Bruce Springsteen is only one of many headliners who have appeared at Bonnaroo, a Woodstock-style outdoor festival not far from Nashville.
Where: Manchester, TN
When: Early June
Map & Tickets Info: http://www.bonnaroo.com/
Lollapalooza acts range from rock to rap and perform on outdoor stages in the Windy City’s Grant Park.
Where: Chicago, IL
Map & Tickets Info: http://www.lollapalooza.com/
If you like mostly rock or alt, you can join the crowds to see a mixed bag of the upcoming and the famous at Coachella. Among the previous big names: McCartney and the Cure.
Where: Indio, CA
Map & Tickets Info: http://www.coachella.com/
Rock: Mile High Music Fest
The Mile High Music Fest, launched in 2008, sets up stages on soccer fields around a stadium 9 miles out of Denver. Previous acts: Tool and The Fray.
Where: Commerce City, CO
When: Mid July
Map & Tickets Info: http://www.milehighmusicfestival.com/
Country: CMA Music Festival
Formerly known as Fan Fair, the CMA Music Festival is a 4 day-and-night event with the biggest and newest country acts performing in multiple venues from the stadium to the Riverfront.
Where: Nashville, TN
Map & Tickets Info: http://cmafest.com/2009/2010_landingpage.aspx
Jazz: Monterey Jazz Festival
You can find a complete listing of U.S. jazz festivals by state at http://www.jazzinternet.com/jazzfestusa.htm. The Monterey Jazz Festival is a nonprofit organization and the longest running jazz festival in the world, dating back to 1958.
Where: Monterey, CA
When: Mid September
Map & Tickets Info: http://www.montereyjazzfestival.org/2009/index.php
Blues: Chicago Blues Festival
The Chicago Blues Festival bills the event as the largest free blues festival in the world that again takes place in Grant Park. Past performers have included the late Bo Diddley and Koko Taylor. If you’re on the West Coast, the San Francisco Blues Festival at http://www.sfblues.com/ bills that city’s event as the oldest ongoing blues festival.
Where: Chicago, IL
When: Mid June
Map & Tickets Info: http://www.chicagobluesfestival.org
Folk: Newport Folk Festival
Set on the oceanfront in Fort Adams State Park, the Newport Folk Festival goes back over half a century. It’s where Bob Dylan added electric guitar to his band and earned boos from the audience.
Where: Newport, RI
Map & Tickets Info: http://www.folkfestival50.com/