Guide to Summer Music Festivals

Dat Funky Music: A Column by Anne Nickoloff

For many people, summer means partying, getting together with friends, and music. What better encompasses all three than a music festival?

However, a lot of people end up unsatisfied with festival performances, whether it’s because of less-than-decent live music or getting mauled by an angry mosh pit. If you’re going to be spending big bucks, you’d better know which ones are worth it and which ones to avoid.

Bonnaroo: Worth it
Cost: $269.50
Location: Manchester, TN
Highlights: Paul McCartney, Mumford & Sons, Bob Saget, Daniel Tosh

It has been a goal… nay; a dream of mine, to go to Bonnaroo since the moment I learned of its epicness. Musicians and comedians perform on stage, sweaty people jump up against you whilst “dancing” to the music, free yoga classes are constantly offered as a way to relax and at the end of the exhausting day, you crawl into your own tent for a few hours’ rest before doing it all again.

… seriously, this is much more than just a concert. This is a cornerstone of music, a God among festivals.

Warped Tour: Worth every penny
Cost: $50
Location: all over the USA
Highlights: The Used, Reel Big Fish, 3OH!3, Chiodos

Warped Tour is the bargain of all music fests. Fifty bucks is a good deal even for a concert, but for an entire day of music? It’s almost blasphemy. Almost… Warped Tour is the only music festival my friends and siblings went to while I was growing up because well, it’s cheap.

With a good mix of ska, rock, and punk music in this year’s lineup, I can only imagine what the mosh pit’s going to look like: Plentiful skanking, flailing, fists and violence for everyone!… it’ll be glorious.

Lollapalooza: Worth it (if you can snag a ticket)
Cost: Right now, way too much
Location: Grant Park, Chicago
Highlights: The Cure, Mumford & Sons, The Killers, Nine Inch Nails

Despite the reputation Lollapalooza has had in the past for creating not-so-great lineups, this year’s three-day festival includes a variety that can please almost any ear. Unfortunately, for anyone who didn’t wake up at 10 am to purchase their passes on the opening day of sales, almost every ticket sold out within fifteen minutes, leaving only the travel packages (which are estimated at around $3400) on sale. I’m sorry, but not even The Cure is enough for me to empty my life savings.

Luckily, my quick-clicking skills have earned me a prize in the 10-minute-ticket-sale race. I’ll be there, and if you can come across a cheap ticket, you should be too.

Mayhem Festival: … maybe worth it (Depending on seating)
Cost: $40-$90
Location: all over the USA
Highlights: Mastodon, Five Finger Death Punch, Rob Zombie

Mayhem Festival… a title like that says a lot. And so do the headliners: Five Finger Death Punch? Yes, that’s a band, but at a concert like this, it could very easily transform into a very painful dance move.

I feel like people who go to concerts like this are just asking to be hospitalized. However, for those who are just there to enjoy the music, there’s some actual seating behind the mosh pit. Pit tickets are still available, but I would advise against that. Sitting in an uncomfortable amphitheater seat may not be the best way to enjoy metal, but at least it keeps you out of harm’s way.

Newport Folk Festival: Not worth it
Cost: $49 (for the Friday concert, since all others are sold out; also, this price does not include parking)
Location: Fort Adams State Park, RI
Highlights: Feist, Beck, Andrew Bird, The Avett Brothers

Newport Folk Festival is hosting a great lineup of the best folk artists this year, but since two of the three days sold out, you would only catch a glimpse of the folk scene.

I will admit that it’s hard to say no to this one: This festival sells a smaller number of tickets than other big festivals so that it never becomes too crowded (explaining the lack of tickets on sale now) and it also features a scenic view of the ocean. Though the water nearby introduces a threat of drowning to dance-crazed concertgoers, it also brings in the exotic fun of water taxis.

Like Lollapalooza, getting tickets for this show requires quick clicking. It’s something to watch out for when they go on sale, but this year is just too late.

Always keep an eye out for new festivals and good ticket deals. In my opinion, very few things can compare to losing one’s shit at a concert. Make your summer memorable by doing it the right way.

Annie is a rising Sophomore English/Psychology major at Case. She typically spends her days watching Netflix and trying to learn how to dance.

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