BMS Guide to Summer Destination Music Festivals

, Staff

If you’re anything like us, you love to combine a love for travel with your love for music. In Europe, music fans define their summers by attending one of the many giant outdoor summer music festivals. England’s Glastonbury, Scotland’s T in the Park, Denmark’s Roskilde and Ireland’s Oxygen are just a handful that quickly come to mind. Over the past decade, the trend has crossed over the pond and now the festival market is booming in North America. From Chicago to San Francisco and Tennessee to Montreal, there’s something for everyone. And what’s better than a summer vacation with music?

With that in mind, we once again bring you our comprehensive guide on how to plan your summer vacation to one of these destination music festivals. Here you’ll find all the necessary info: who’s playing, where it is, and how much it costs. Are you the camping type or will you need a hotel? We’ve also got that covered, but we recommend either taking loads of deodorant for camping or checking TripAdvisor for your hotel stay. And because none of the festivals are based in New England, we even went as far as to add that best airfares to date for each destination.

This summer’s top destination music festivals in chronological order:

Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival: June 10-13
Manchester, Tennessee (about 1 hour from Nashville)
Headliners: Dave Matthews Band, Kings of Leon, Jay-Z, Stevie Wonder
Supporting Cast: Phoenix, Weezer, The Flaming Lips, The Dead Weather, Damian Marley & Nas, Norah Jones, John Fogerty, The Avett Brothers, Against Me!, Zac Brown Band, Jeff Beck, LCD Soundsystem, Steve Martin & the Steep Canyon Rangers, Tori Amos, Miranda Lambert
New England Bands: Dropkick Murphys, Martin Sexton, Isis,
Ticket Prices: $234.50
Lodging: On-site camping is included in ticket price. A limited number of pre-parked RV trailers available for rent, as well as RV passes for attendees bringing their own RV’s.
Airfare: $450 Boston to Nashville on multiple airlines
Why you should go: The premiere American music festival, everyone music fan has to do it at least once and with a lineup that boasts such great depth, your days will be filled with great tunes for sure. Oh and did we mention they have comedy acts too – Brookline’s Conan O’Brien headlines this year.

CMA Music Festival: June 10-13
LP Field – Nashville, Tennessee
Headliners: June 10: Carrie Underwood, Tim McGraw, Reba McEntire, Keith Urban, Rascal Flatts, Zac Brown Band, Brad Paisley, Trace Adkins
Supporting Cast: Alan Jackson, Jason Aldean, Lady Antebellum, Billy Currington, Miranda Lamvert, Darius Rucker, Josh Turner, Martina McBriden, Kellie Pickler, Blake Shelton
New England Bands: None
Ticket Prices: 4-day pass starts at $110 and goes up to $300, Single day ticket is $30
Lodging: Hotels
Airfare: $450 Boston to Nashville on multiple airlines
Why you should go: All the big names in country music packed into 4-days and even though she’s not performing, where else can you find Taylor Swift holding a thirteen hour meet and greet session with fans.

Telluride Bluegrass Festival: June 17-20
Telluride, Colorado (about 6 hours from Denver)
Headliners: Lyle Lovett, Alison Krauss & Union Station, Sam Bush Band, Telluride House Band
Supporting Cast: Court Yard Hounds, Yonder Mountain String Band, Tim O’Brien Band, Leftover Salmon, Del McCoury Band, Béla Fleck, Zakir Hussain & Edgar Meyer, Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros, Carolina Chocolate Drops, Mumford & Sons
New England Bands: Josh Ritter & The Royal City Band
Ticket Prices: 4-day pass is $185, Single day ticket is $60.
Lodging: There are several campgrounds within 7 miles of the festival. Single-day or 4-day passes are required for each and are charged per person, not per site. A free shuttle bus runs between the campgrounds and festival site. There is also several hotels available in the area
Airfare: $361 Boston to Denver on Air Tran
Why you should go: Nestled in the isolated mountainous open-air landscapes of Colorado lies an unforgettable bluegrass and folk experience. If you can make the long drive after the long flight, the reward is great.

Crossroads Guitar Festival: June 26
Toyota Park – Chicago, Illinois
Headliner: Eric Clapton
Supporting Cast: Allman Brothers Band, BB King, Jeff Beck, John Mayer, ZZ Top, Buddy Guy, Steve Windwood, Vince Gill, Keb’ Mo’, Sheryl Crow
New England Bands:
Ticket Prices: $100
Lodging: Hotel
Airfare: $351 Boston to Chicago on American Airlines
Why you should go: Unfortunately, Clapton is not coming to Boston this summer. Why not hit the awesome city of Chicago to catch Slow Hand team up with a handful of other guitar virtuoso for a day that will be filled with jaw-dropping solos.

Essence Music Festival: July 2-4
Superdome – New Orleans, Louisiana
Headliners: Janet Jackson, Alicia Keys, Mary J. Blige
Supporting Cast: Gladys Knight, Keri Hilson, Monica, Raphael Saadiq, LL Cool J, Earth, Wind & Fire, Jill Scott, Trey Songz, DJ Soul Sister, Charlie Wilson
New England Bands: None
Ticket Prices: 3-day passes start at $185, Single-day tickets are not available
Lodging: Hotel
Airfare: $566 Boston to New Orleans on Delta Airlines, $566 Providence, RI to New Orleans on Delta Airlines,
Why you should go: Celebrate 4th of July weekend with three of the best women in R&B plus a hosts of other great acts in the Big Easy.

All Good Music Festival: July 8-11
Marvin’s Mountaintop – Masontown, West Virginia
Headliners: Furthur, Widespread Panic, Umphrey’s McGee, Yonder Mountain String Band,
Supporting Cast: Keller Williams & The Added Bonus, SOJA, George Clinton & Parliament Funkadelic, Perpetual Groove, Dr. Dog, Railroad Earth, Old Crow Medicine Show, Lotus, Bassnectar, The New Deal
New England Bands: Grace Potter & The Nocturnals, Derek Trucks & Susan Tedeschi Band, Rubblebucket, The Brew
Ticket Prices: 4 day pass is $179. 3 day pass is$159.
Lodging: On-site camping is available. RV spaces are also available for $50 in advance or $75 at gate.
Airfare: $308 Boston to Charlestown, WV on Delta Airlines
Why you should go: Jam on!….Oh, and remember to bring the hacky sack.

Pitchfork Music Festival: July 16-18
Union Park – Chicago, Illinois
Headliners: Modest Mouse, LCD Soundsystem, Pavement
Supporting Cast: Broken Social Scene, Robyn, Liars, Panda Bear, Wolf Parade, The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion, Big Boi, Major Lazer. St. Vincent, Raekwon
New England Bands: Lightning Bolt
Ticket Prices: 3-day passes are $90, Single-day tickets are $
Lodging: Hotel
Airfare: $271 Boston to Chicago on Jet Blue
Why you should go: Sure, the folks at Pitchfork might seemingly hate all music but they did put together a solid festival – especially with the reunited Pavement headlining. We also recommend taking a few extra days before or after to check out the great sites, museums, and restaurants throughout the city.

HullabaLOU Music Festival: July 23-25
Churchill Downs – Louisville, Kentucky
Headliners: Bon Jovi, Kenny Chesney, Dave Matthews Band
Supporting Cast: Steve Miller Band, Zac Brown Band, Jason Aldean, Ben Folds, Sara Evans, Dierks Bentley, The Doobie Brothers, Dwight Yoakam, Gladys Knight, Huey Lewis & The News
New England Bands: None
Ticket Prices: 3-day general admission passes are $200 in advance/$220 at gate; Single-day tickets are $95 in advance/$105 at gate for reserved seating and $75 in advance/$85 at gate for general admission
Lodging: Hotel or off-site campgrounds are nearby
Airfare: $356 Boston to Memphis on Delta Airlines; $305 Manchester, NH to Memphis on Continental Airlines
Why you should go: In it’s first year, HullabaLOU boats a nifty lineup of classic rock, country and 80’s favorites at Churchill Downs. We say, why not give it a shot.

Osheaga: July 31 & August 1
Parc Jean-Drapeau – Montreal, Canada
Headliners: Arcade Fire, Pavement
Supporting Cast: Weezer, Sonic Youth, Metric, The National, Deadmau5, Devo, K’naan, Keane, The Black Keys, The Gaslight Anthem
New England Bands: None
Ticket Prices: 2-day advance passes are $120 for general admission and $190 for reserved seating; Single-day tickets are $65 for general admission and $100 for reserved seating
Lodging: Hotels
Airfare: Better off Driving; $394 Boston to Montreal on Porter Airlines
Why you should go: Go international by just driving north for six hours! Plus for indie rock fans, is there a better combo than Arcade Fire and Pavement?

Lollapalooza: August 6-8
Grant Park – Chicago, Illinois
Headliners: Soundgarden, Green Day, Lady Gaga, Arcade Fire, The Strokes, Phoenix
Supporting Cast: MGMT, Social Distortion, Hot Chip, The Black Keys, Spoon, Erykah Badu, Wolfmother, The New Pornographers, Gogol Bordello, Metric, Frightened Rabbit, Drive-By Truckers, Switchfoot, AFI, Mavis Staples
New England Bands: Deer Tick
Ticket Prices: 3-day pass is $215, Single-day tickets are not available
Lodging: Hotels
Airfare: $280 Boston to Chicago on American Airlines
Why you should go: One of the country’s best festivals in the heart of one the country’s best cities! Like Bonnaroo, Lollapalooza boasts a very deep and unique field of artists. And as we said before, we love Chicago!

Mile High Music Festival: August 14 & 15
Dick’s Sporting Goods Park – Commerce City, Colorado
Headliners: Dave Matthews Band, Jack Johnson
Supporting Cast: Weezer, My Morning Jacket, Phoenix, Steve Miller Band, Slightly Stoopid, Atmosphere, Keane, Jimmy Cliff, Cypress Hill, Amos Lee
New England Bands: Derek Trucks & Susan Tedeschi Band
Ticket Prices: Advance 2-day passes are $175 (full price is $200), Single-day ticket is $97.30
Lodging: Hotels (several are offering free shuttle service to the festival)
Airfare: $330 Boston to Denver on Air Tran
Why you should go: More of the pop-rock acts with some classic offerings on the side, the Mile High fest is just a great excuse to hit Denver for the Weekend.

Outside Lands Music and Arts Festival: August 14 & 15
Golden Gate Park – San Fransisco, California
Headliners: Further, Kings of Leon
Supporting Cast: The Strokes, My Morning Jacket, Phoenix, Social Distortion, Gogol Bordello, Levon Helm Band, Al Green, Nas & Damian Marley, Chromeo, Cat Power
New England Bands: None
Ticket Prices: Advance 2-Day passes are $125 (full price is $140), Single-day ticket is $75.00
Lodging: Hotels
Airfare: $380 Boston to San Francisco on Air Tran
Why you should go: Another city we love, if you have yet to make it to San Fran – make it happen this year and why not with some great music alongside the Golden Gate bridge.

One Comment

  1. 2nd Annual Nantasket Beach Battle of Bands!

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