Top 10 Northeast Music Festivals to Check Out This Summer
Boston Calling Music Festival
Where: Harvard Athletic Complex; Allston, Mass.
When: May 25-27
Who: Jack White, Eminem, The Killers, Queens of the Stone Age, The National, Portugal. The Man, Tyler, The Creator, Khalid, Julien Baker, Pussy Riot
Why: Earning my coveted title of “lineup of the year” goes to a festival that is not only down the street from house but also the festival I have been attending the longest. This year, Boston Calling has trumped every lineup they have previously released with a healthy mix of every genre imaginable along with a film festival with Academy Award winner Natalie Portman, and a comedy experience with “Arrested Development’s” David Cross.
Governors Ball Music Festival
Where: Randall’s Island; New York, N.Y.
When: June 1-3
Who: Travis Scott, Eminem, Jack White, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, N.E.R.D, Post Malone, The Gaslight Anthem, Lil Uzi Vert, James Blake, D.R.A.M.
Why: There’s a reason why Gov Ball has become the music festival capital of the East Coast, and this year’s lineup is credence to why it has earned that privileged distinction. Focusing heavily on rap and hip-hop giants and trend-setters, Gov Ball is any hipster’s paradise and deserves to be on your radar during this summer’s festival circuit.
Where: Brooklyn, N.Y.
When: June 6-10
Who: Liz Phair, GYMSHORTS, Standing on the Corner, Weaves, Deerhoof, Protomartyr, Snail Mail, Soccer Mommy, Chynna, Empath
Why: SXSW meets NYC as Northside Festival brings the party to the streets of Brooklyn for a five day musical sampler of epic proportions. Known for its eclectic lineup of some of the best up-and-coming artists, Northside Festival will have you running from venue-to-venue scouting the next best thing. Former discovered artists that have graced the Northside stage include Run The Jewels, The War on Drugs, Mac DeMarco and many more.
Where: Hunter Mountain Ski Resort; Hunter Mountain, N.Y.
When: June 14-17
Who: Jack Johnson, Alt-J, Sturgill Simpson, The War on Drugs, Father John Misty, Kurt Vile & The Violators, Chicano Batman, Anderson East, Mondo Cozmo, Woods
Why: While many may be disappointed with the shift from its jam bands origins, Mountain Jam has given fans a lineup to gawk over that highlights the best in indie rock and folk. Late nights are especially notable at Mountain Jam, and, with the beautiful scenery of Hunter Mountain, you’ll never want to leave.
Firefly Music Festival
Where: Dover International Speedway; Dover, Del.
When: June 14-17
Who: Arctic Monkeys, Kendrick Lamar, Eminem, The Killers, Odesza, Logic, Lil Wayne, Foster The People, SZA, MGMT
Why: For anyone who has been to the woodlands of Dover, they know that the area if filled with an unmistakable aura that breeds only good times and good vibes. This year’s lineup is top-heavy with some of the biggest names in the music business yet, the genre-bending identity of the festival continues to live on with an undercard that’s equally as diverse.
Levitate Music and Arts Festival
Where: Marshfield Fairgrounds; Marshfield, Mass.
When: July 7-9
Who: Trey Anastasio Band, The Head and The Heart, Slightly Stoopid, Rebelution, Lake Street Dive, Greensky Bluegrass, Twiddle, Ripe, Xavier Rudd, The Suffers
Why: Every year, Levitate offers fans an experience that veers off the beaten path and into a wildly blissful landscape of music. That statement couldn’t be true enough this year as the festival boasts its largest headliners yet along with the best undercard its seen it years. Do yourself a favor and buy tickets soon because this festival is guaranteed to sell out.
Great South Bay Music Festival
Where: Shorefront Park; Patchogue, N.Y.
When: July 12-15
Who: The Front Bottoms, Sublime with Rome, Umphrey’s McGee, The Dickey Betts Band, Dirty Heads, Pigeons Playing Ping Pong, Thrice, Electric Hot Tuna, Less Than Jake, Little Feat
Why: This hidden gem of a music festival has something for everyone, whether that be ska or southern rock. The headliners are as eclectic as ever and, at this pace, Great South Bay is poised for some greatness in the not-so-distant future. The billing is also filled with some great local talent, earning this festival a spot on this list.
The Peach Music Festival
Where: Montage Mountain Ski Resort; Scranton, Penn.
When: July 19-22
Who: Phil Lesh & The Terrapin Family Band, Gov’t Mule, Joe Russo’s Almost Dead, The Revivalists, moe., Oteil & Friends, Chris Robinson Brotherhood, The Marcus King Band, Anders Osborne & Jackie Greene, Ghost Light
Why: Calling all jam band fans. Peach has done it again and dropped a lineup of the ages, highlighting both old school stalwarts (Phil Lesh, Warren Haynes) and some of the best young guns (Ghost Light, Pigeons Playing Ping Pong). Bring a friend and be prepared to have one of the most fulfilling weekends of your life.
Panorama Music Festival
Where: Randall’s Island; New York, N.Y.
When: July 27-29
Who: The Weeknd, The Killers, Janet Jackson, Migos, SZA, The XX, Cardi B, David Byrne, Greta Van Fleet, PVRIS
Why: “Coachella East” enters its third year with yet another stellar lineup that mixes both new stars and old favorites. While not this reviewer’s favorite, it should be noted that this is Cardi B’s only East coast festival date and, with her increasing popularity, I predict she will soon headline this festival. Additionally, Panorama’s other headliners are something of a marvel in themselves and are definitely worth checking out.
Where: Watkins Glen International; Watkins Glen, N.Y.
When: August 17-19
Why: Being the only festival on this list with a single performer, it might confuse many as to why Curveball is on this list. Phish has become a sort of mythic juggernaut in the music scene and with their eleventh festival, they will usher in a spectacle unlike anything you’ve ever seen from a live performance. So what better way to usher in those hippie vibes than to chill for three days with the boys from Vermont.
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