Summer is fast approaching as music festivals galore are just around the corner, from L.A.’s very own UCLA’s Jazz Reggae Festival on Memorial Weekend, to the esteemed (and much larger) Bonnaroo and Lollapalooza Festivals, all the way through to the San Francisco’s mid-August Outside Lands Festival (whose line-up will be announced June 1st) and the young, but hip, Sunset Strip Music Festival at the end of August.
SUPERGOODMUSIC is already gearing up for the festive summer with planned stops at Wakarusa, Bonnaroo, and potentially Electric Daisy Carnival, Reggae on The River, Outside Lands, Sunset Strip Music Festival and more. That said, there are a few new or recently minted festivals that we don’t think you should let fall below your radar, so we wanted to give you a full rundown on festivals we think might be worthy of your attendance. Over the next week or so we will be giving you month by month breakdowns of where the hottest, most action packed festivals are. This installment brings you our take on the May events that really kickoff festival season.
As previously mentioned, May is when UCLA’s Jazz Reggae Festival takes place and this year they are really bringing the heat with a line-up that includes headliners Nas & Damian Marley, as well as Raphael Saadiq, Q-Tip, Bilal, The Foreign Exchange, Zion-I, Declaime, Nneka, Barrington Levy, The Lions and more. Tickets are not too expensive, just $26 for a single day and $45 for a two day pass, but if you are on the super strict budget, apply to be a volunteer by filling out the application at http://jazzreggaefest.com/ and sending it to email@example.com .
Up the coast, but still in the same state at Angel’s Camp, CA is Furthur Festival taking place May 28th to May 30th headlined by the Grateful Dead reincarnation Furthur featuring Bob Weir and Phil Lesh, as well as the former lead from Dead cover band Darkstar Orchestra and Joe Russo on drums from the always amazing Benevento-Russo Duo. The band will be joined by Galactic, The Mother Hips, Carney, Jackie Greene, Electric Hot Tuna, Common Rotation with Dan Bern and more. Tickets can be purchased at http://www.furthurfestival.com and camping is included in the cost of the ticket.
Further north, all the way in Quincy, WA at The Gorge is Sasquatch Festival! The 3 Day Event with an uber eclectic line-up kicks off on Saturday with performances by My Morning Jacket, Vampire Weekend, Deadmau5, Ok Go, The Hold Steady, Miike Snow, The National, Brother Ali, Z-Trip, Fool’s Gold, Mumford & Sons, Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros, Nada Surf, Dam-Funk, Dawes and more. Sunday is just as good if not better with my festy faves LCD Soundsystem, as well as Kid Cudi, Massive Attack, Pavement, The xx, Dirty Projectors, They Might Be Giants, YACHT, Simian Mobile Disco, Girls, Public Enemy, Tegan and Sara, A-Trak, tune-yArDs, Los Angeles’ own Local Natives and Avi Buffalo, Cymbals Eat Guitars, Fruit Bat and more. Monday is good too – although the least exciting day in my opinion – with performances by the still disappointing in concert MGMT and Passion Pit, but also the always enjoyable Band of Horses, Mayer Hawthorne & The County, Ween, Dr. Dog, The New Pornographers, She & Him, as well as newcomers like Neon Indian and Yes Giantess. Check out more at http://sasquatchfestival.com/
Over in the Midwest, there is a festival for all hip hop lovers that my high school only wishes he could attend. The line-up includes Atmosphere, Method Man & Redman, Heiroglyphics featuring Del The Funky Homosapien, Murs, Freeway & Jake One, People Under The Stairs, Yelawolf, Casual and Pep Love, Eyedea & Abilities, Souls of Mischief, Busdriver, DJ Revolution, BK One, Wiz Khalifa, P.O.S. and many many more. Tickets can be copped at http://www.soundsetfestival.com
Also on Memorial Day Weekend is Summer Camp, now in its 10th year. The line-up includes over 60 bands on 5 stages, with three days of performances from both Umphrey’s McGee and moe. Adding to the jamband vibe are other jam veterans – STS9, Gov’t Mule, Yonder Mountain String Band, Keller Williams, Victor Wooten, Dumpstaphunk, Railroad Earth, Cornmeal, ALO, The New Mastersounds, Zach Deputy, Hot Buttered Rum, Kyle Hollingsworth Band, Backyard Tire Fire, Dweezil Zappa Plays Zappa and other jambands you just haven’t heard of yet. On top of jambanders, there are reggae sensations Steel Pulse and Rebelution, and hard to define, but nonetheless stellar acts like G Love & Special Sauce and Slightly Stoopid. The festival is also cutting a bit more in the electronic generations direction, with performances by Pretty Lights, Bassnectar, EOTO, Future Rock, Boombox, The Hood Internet, That 1 Guy, Groovatron and more. Having attended this festival in the past, we can’t recommend it enough – the vibe and the people are fantastic and, since it is in Illinois in late May, you know it won’t be too hot. You can get tickets and learn more about the festival here – http://www.summercampfestival.com/2010/
However, those Memorial Weekend festivals are not the first festivals we think are worthy of your attendance.
This weekend, what really looks like the kickoff for festival season to us is the very first Hangout Beach, Music and Arts Festival in Alabama. Not only is the line-up absolutely stellar for a festival in its inaugural season, including performances by The Roots, Ben Harper & Relentless7, Trey Anastasio and TAB, John Legend, Zac Brown Band, Rodrigo y Gabriela, Funky Meters, Matisyahu, Girl Talk, Grace Potter & The Nocturnals, OK Go, Orianthi, Robert Randolph & The Family Band, Gov’t Mule, Ray LaMontagne and more, the festival also set-up special late night performances where the proceeds go to designated non profit organizations. Friday the 14th, Alex B, Gift of Gab and Big Gigantic are performing and donating all profits to Mobile Baykeeper; Saturday Keller Williams Electronica performs a very special and cheap show (only $5, but tickets must be purchased in advance) where profits are being directed toward The Rex Foundation and Mobile Baykeeper.
The following weekend, on May 22nd and 23rd, in Dana Point, CA at Doheny State Beach – a host of musicians break it down over 2 days on 3 stages for a slightly older set – including Crosby, Stills & Nash, The Black Crowes, Taj Mahal & The Phantom Blues Band, Booker T. Jones, Eric Lindell, Jackie Greene, Black Joe Lewis & The Honeybears, Big Sam’s Funky Nation and more to be announced soon. You can snag tickets to that event at http://www.omegaevents.com/dohenyblues/
For our international readers, in late May (27th – 29th), Barcelona plays host to the amazing Primavera Sound Festival. Although no SUPERGOODMUSIC representatives have ever attended, the line-up to this international event is too good to ignore. It feels like everyone under the sun is playing from Wilco, Spoon, Florence and the Machine, Grizzly Bear, The Pixies, The xx, The New Pornographers, Yeasayer, Beach House, Pet Shop Boys and Pavement to Diplo, Major Lazer, The Bloody Beetroots, Delorean, Orbital Sleigh Bells, Matt & Kim, Boy 8-Bit, Big Pink, The Antlers, Les Savy Fav, Fuck Buttons and more. If SUPERGOODMUSIC was in the E.U., we would be sure not to miss this event.
June brings arguably the heaviest month to our festival calendar, so heavy, you’ll have to wait a few days for our June Festival recommendations….