Last updated: 01:00 PM ET, Thu June 02 2016

5 US Summer Music Festivals You Need To See

Features & Advice | Rich Thomaselli | June 02, 2016

5 US Summer Music Festivals You Need To See

PHOTO: The Bonnaroo Music Festival (Photo courtesy Bonnaroo)

The era of the summer music festival was truly ushered in almost 50 years ago with Woodstock, being birthed almost immediately after the last bars of feedback from Jimi Hendrix's National Anthem echoed across upstate New York.

The festival, of course, was never held in Woodstock, although that tiny hippie enclave certainly has ridden that fame into quite the tourist draw. No, town organizers said ‘No thanks’ and the music and the peace and love were moved south to Bethel, N.Y., home to the huge piece of property once known as Max Yasgur’s farm.

Today, summer music festivals across the country are nothing short of spectacular, and here are five you really need to see.

(In calendar order)


When: June 9-12

Where: Manchester, Tenn.

Who: Pearl Jam, Ellie Goulding, LCD Soundsystem, J. Cole, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, among others.

Why: This is as pure as it gets, with a kaleidoscope of varying music. Though this year’s headliners might not be as star-studded as previous years, such as when Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band played, it still draws star power nonetheless. And attending Bonnaroo is a trip unto itself.


When: June 24-Aug. 13

Where: 40+ cities throughout the U.S.

Who: Sum 41, Good Charlotte, Waka Flocka Flame, Less Than Jake, New Found Glory, The Summer Set, Yellowcard, various surprises

Why: A punk rocker’s dream, although it does mix in some other types of music. The Warped Tour is a unique summer festival in that it moves around the country playing various outdoor venues for the better part of two months.

READ MORE: Where to Stay During This Summer's Top Music Festivals


When: June 5

Where: Fishkill, NY

Who: Fat Joe, Mike Posner, Hailee Steinfeld, Magic!, Nathan Sykes, Rob Base, Bebe Rexha, more

Why: Held in a minor league baseball stadium little more than an hour north of New York City, this one-day event is a pleasant diversion from the multi-day festivals and has prided itself as a good place to see the hottest young artists. And a few well-established ones as well – last year, Flo-Rida and Robin Thicke rocked the house, both separately and together.


When: June 16-19

Where: Dover, Del.

Who: Kings of Leon, deadmau5, Mumford & Sons, Florence + The Machine, Blink-182, more.

Why: This year marks the fifth anniversary for this festival already well known for its outstanding lineups. For those of you not in the know, deadmau5 is pronounced ‘Dead Mouse’ and he is one of the world’s best DJ’s.

READ MORE: Sixthman Brings New Music to the Open Seas


When: Sept. 30-Oct. 2; Oct. 7-Oct. 9

Where: Austin, Tx.

Who: LL Cool J, Willie Nelson, Kendrick Lamar, Radiohead, Mumford & Sons, LCD Soundsystem, Kygo, Chris Stapleton

Why: One last festival to say goodbye to summer and hello to family. And, besides, where will you find a more cool, more eclectic lineup than LL Cool J and Willie Nelson headlining?

For more information on Texas, Delaware, New York, Tennessee

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