By Joshua Burton
Spring is upon us, so you know what that means: it’s time to start getting ready for the big summer music festivals! Artists, bands, and DJ’s are going to start releasing songs soon that will be the early contenders for the big summer megajams of 2014. The major acts are already signed up and scheduled for many of the tentpole music fests and the set lists are currently being made, so here’s a list of some of the major players in the live music festival scene for the coming months.
In the wastelands of the desert outside of Los Angeles you will find the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival. It is one of the more influential music festivals you’ll find. This music fest spans genres and grabs huge acts along with up-and-comers who are about to blow up in the public eye. Coachella is also a notorious reformation ground for long-disbanded music acts. Groups like Pixies, The Postal Service, At The Drive-In and Outkast have all kicked off newfound surges in popularity by taking to the stage under the brutal sun of dusty Indio.
This year Coachella will host acts like Arcade Fire, Outkast, Beck, Neutral Milk Hotel (big reformation for you indie rockers) and St. Vincent. Don’t forget to bring your sunscreen.
Oh, hey, you may also want to keep a lookout for our upcoming Coachella room.
For a bit of an edgier crowd, there is the option of the Vans Warped Tour. Host to punk and hardcore bands, DJs, rappers, and a wide variety of other sounds, the Warped tour is a roving festival – a gigantic onslaught of music and festivities that travels around the United States. Beyond music, this festival is also home to a variety of extreme sports shows and is pretty much an overwhelming array of visual entertainment. You need to go to at least one Warped Tour. Consistent headliners are NOFX and Bad Religion, but you can find other big acts like Yellowcard, Less Than Jake and I Fight Dragons gracing the stages this year. Get out and have fun!
This is a relatively new festival that takes place in San Francisco inside the sprawling Golden Gate Park. If you’re turned off by all of these sunny, dusty outdoor festivals this may be for you. The park is known for being notably cooler than the rest of the city and is one of the few festivals you’ll find actually taking place inside of a huge city proper. Outside Lands Music and Arts Festival leans more toward the indie side, but has also had gigantic acts like U2 and Muse. It’s always a toss-up with this fest. Everyone from the Yeah Yeah Yeahs to Paul McCartney has played here. This is also the home city of myWebRoom.com, so it holds a special place in our hearts.
From the Beastie Boys to Lorde, Lollapalooza has been in and out of the front lines of rock festival preeminence over the years. It’s recently found a home in Chicago’s Grant Park, where Eminem, Outkast and Kings of Leon will be headlining this year. With its roots in alternative rock, Lollapalooza has branched out (as many of these festivals needed to) to include a wide array of musical tastes.
Carving its own exception to the rule of diverse music festivals, Ultra stands as one of the great dance music festivals in the world. While the acts represent a wide array of styles within the electronic dance music genre, this is strictly a GET OFF YOUR FEET AND FREAK OUT event. Held in Miami, Fla., Ultra gets a head start on the Summer by capitalizing on Miami’s year-round heat and tropical feel. This is the perfect place for a dance party and all of the biggest DJs descend on the Sunshine State to take their turn on the main tables to prove it. Big acts this year include Diplo, Avicii (provided he’s not still hospitalized), Tiesto and Kaskade. If you’re a big enough fan of EDM, you’re probably reading this from Florida right now.
Far to the end of the weird spectrum is Bonnaroo. Held in land-locked Manchester, Tenn., this festival has its roots in funkier jam bands and straight rock artists, but has branched out to grab hip-hop, dance and pop fans. Big names attached to this year’s Bonnaroo is Kanye West, Jack White, Phoenix and Vampire Weekend. Peppered in there is also a good amount of bluegrass, folk, and blues bands.
Sasquatch! Music Festival
Speaking of way out there, the Sasquatch! Music Festival is good for those of you who love to camp. This one isn’t held near any big cities, and concertgoers are used to packing a sleeping bag or piling blankets in their cars for this particular festival. This is a festival that seems to value a certain level of serious acts. Lots of singer/songwriters, lots of mature rock. That said, this is one of the few festivals that also combine this with live comedy and and EDM stage. So there’s a lot here. Outkast, De La Soul, Demitri Martin, M.I.A., Major Lazer and The National are all going to be in attendance. Check this one out. It’s a truly special North American music fest.
Pitchfork Music Festival
Building on the independent music scene empire, Pitchfork branches out of the festival scene with its own unique music lineup that mirrors its own vision. Headliners like Beck, Neutral Milk Hotel and Kendrick Lamar give the Pitchfork festival the indie cred it has always been known for. Other acts taking the stage include St. Vincent, The Death Grips, Twin Peaks, Grimes and Giorgio Morodor (fresh off of his Daft Punk-fueled resurgence). I know this makes two festivals in Chicago on the list, but it’s one of the big ones and deserves its time in the limelight as a festival for off-the-beaten-path artists.
There are a lot of options out there this Spring and Summer for live music. Plan to pay lots of money for tickets, lots of money for food and – you guessed it – lots of money for travel expenses. The experience is what you’re paying for, and if you love being stuck in one place with hundreds and hundreds of other people sweating on you then you’re in for a treat.
If, however, you feel like staying at home for all of these, there are still ways to find new music. Check out the bands on these festival lineups and head over to your WebRoom’s music player to plug them into services like Spotify, Pandora and Last.FM. Your music player is a great place to find sites to help you sift through the large bodies of music you’ll find out there in the world of the internet. Don’t forget to hit up other music sites like Rolling Stone, Pitchfork, and Gorilla Vs. Bear. Once you find some good bands, don’t forget to bookmark them to the items in your WebRoom. Keep your room tidy and your passions organized. Oh, and never – EVER – forget to rock out.