Last updated: 08:41 AM ET, Fri May 22 2015

Travel Guide to 2015's Top Summer Music Festivals

Features & Advice | Patrick Clarke | May 22, 2015

Travel Guide to 2015's Top Summer Music Festivals

Memorial Day signals the unofficial start of summer and thus the kickoff of the outdoor concert season.

While many of the world's top artists will be touring the U.S. over the next few months, there are only a handful of festivals where fans will be able to see them all in one place. 

This is your travel guide to 2015's top summer music festivals. 

*Note: Top Accommodations represent's highest guest rated 3-star hotels with at least 50 reviews.


Sweetlife Festival 

When: Saturday, May 30 and Sunday, May 31

Where: Columbia, Maryland

Headlining Acts: Calvin Harris, Kendrick Lamar, The Weeknd, Charlie XCX, Bleachers

The Sweetlife Festival will take place just outside of the nation's capital on the last weekend of May. Hip-hop talent Kendrick Lamar (Saturday) and superstar DJ Calvin Harris (Sunday) will headline the two-day event featuring more than two dozen artists. 

Top Accommodations: Hampton Inn & Suites Columbia/South, SpringHill Suites by Marriott Columbia

Nearby Bars/Restaurants/Nightlife: Pub Dog, Stanford Grill, Union Jack's

Nearby Attractions: The Mall in Columbia, Robinson Nature Center, Toby's Dinner Theatre

Governors Ball

When: Friday June 5 through Sunday, June 7

Where: New York, New York

Headlining Acts: Drake, The Black Keys, Lana Del Rey, Florence and the Machine

New York City's Randall's Island Park is where you'll want to be during the first weekend in June. Drake will headline The Governors Ball's opening day, while Deadmau5 and The Black Keys will take to the stage over the weekend.

Top Accommodations: Henry Norman Hotel, Distrikt Hotel NYC

Nearby Bars/Restaurants/Nightlife: The Bronx Brewery, Good Room, Dirty French

Nearby Attractions: Central Park, Broadway, The Metropolitan Museum of Art

CMA Music Festival

When: Thursday, June 11 through Sunday, June 14

Where: Nashville, Tennessee

Headlining Acts: Brad Paisley, Lady Antebellum, Eric Church, Luke Bryan, Florida Georgia Line

A must-attend festival for anyone who calls themselves a country music fan, June's CMA Music Festival is poised to take over Downtown Nashville for four days as the genre's top acts take to more than half of a dozen stages throughout the Music City. 

If you can't get a ticket, you can always head 60 miles southeast to Manchester, Tennessee, for Bonnaroo, which will be held the same weekend. 

Top Accommodations: Courtyard Nashville Green Hills, Homewood Suites by Hilton Nashville Vanderbilt

Nearby Bars/Restaurants/Nightlife: Biscuit Love Brunch, Whiskey Bent Saloon, Robert's Western World

Nearby Attractions: Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum, RCA Studio B, Ryman Auditorium


When: Thursday June 18 through Sunday, June 21

Where: The Woodlands, Dover, Delaware

Headlining Acts: Paul McCartney, Snoop Dogg, The Killers, Kings of Leon

Another four-day weekend festival, Firefly boasts a star-studded lineup year after year, and 2015 will be no different. If you like good music and camping, this is your festival. 

Top Accommodations: Dover Garden Suites, Residence Inn Marriott Dover 

Nearby Bars/Restaurants/Nightlife: Restaurant 55, McGlynn's Pub, Golden Fleece Tavern 

Nearby Attractions: Air Mobility Command Museum, Dover International Speedway, Dover Downs Casino


When: Wednesday, June 24 through Sunday, June 28 and Tuesday, June 30 through Sunday, July 5

Where: Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Headlining Acts: Linkin Park, Florida Georgia Line, Keith Urban, Kendrick Lamar, Ed Sheeran

"The World's Largest Music Festival," Summerfest features hundreds of music acts performing over the course of 11 days in June and July. With 900,000-plus fans set to attend, you'll want to arrive early and stay late. 

Fortunately, there's plenty to do in Milwaukee. 

Top Accommodations: Hilton Garden Inn Milwaukee Airport, Residence Inn Milwaukee Downtown 

Nearby Bars/Restaurants/Nightlife: Lakefront Brewery, Glorioso's Italian Market, Splash Studio

Nearby Attractions: Harley-Davidson Museum, Milwaukee County Zoo, Milwaukee Art Museum


When: Friday, July 31 through Sunday, August 2

Where: Chicago, Illinois

Headlining Acts: Paul McCartney, Metallica, Sam Smith, Florence and the Machine

Lollapalooza is returning to Chicago's Grant Park in 2015 and will feature such big name acts as Paul McCartney, Metallica, Sam Smith and Florence and the Machine. If last year's festival looked like fun, just wait. 

Top Accommodations: Residence Inn Marriott Chicago Midway, Hampton Inn Majestic Chicago Theatre District

Nearby Bars/Restaurants/Nightlife: Gibsons Bar & Steakhouse, Grandview Tavern and Beer Garden, Second City

Nearby Attractions: Art Institute of Chicago, Millennium Park, 360 Chicago

Outside Lands

When: Friday, August 7 through Sunday, August 9

Where: San Francisco, California 

Headlining Acts: Elton John, Mumford and Sons, The Black Keys, Kendrick Lamar

In addition to world-class music, you'll find stellar food, wine, beer, art and comedy acts at the upcoming Outside Lands Festival this August. The three-day event will take place at Golden Gate Park in the Bay Area. 

Top Accommodations: Inn at Union Square, Orchard Garden Hotel 

Nearby Bars/Restaurants/Nightlife: Anchor Brewing Company, The Bimini TwistSmuggler's Cove

Nearby Attractions: Alcatraz, Walt Disney Family Museum, Golden Gate Bridge 

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