For music lovers everywhere summer means one thing: festival season. But just because the days grow shorter and the nights cooler doesn’t mean the fun, or the music has to stop. Across the US great music festivals are constantly taking place, here are some can’t miss fall and winter festivals:
The Growler’s Six
Previously known as Beach Goth, The Growler’s are back again this fall with the renamed Growler’s Six festival. Offering a more eccentric lineup than the typical festival, The Growler’s headline both nights with help from the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Dan Auerbach, Modest Mouse and Danny Brown. Grab your costume and head to the L.A. waterfront October 28-29 to catch these acts and more.
Day for Night
Taking place December 15-17 in Houston, Day for Night is described as “an art and music event that explores the deep connections between light, technology, sound and space”. This year’s rosters includes some of the most talented names across all genres such as James Blake, Tyler, the Creator, Jamie xx and Justice. In between sets you can catch several installations and talks from people such as Chelsea Manning and Nadya from Pussy Riot.
If there’s one city that knows how to party, it’s New Orleans and this years Buku lineup is sure to guarantee that. Young Thug, Travis Scott, DEADMAU5, 21 Savage and Run the Jewels top the bill with great supporting acts sure to keep the fun going all weekend long. Head down to the Big Easy, March 10-11 for what is sure to be a can’t miss experience.
South by Southwest
If you’re looking for a film, comedy and music festival offering great interactive experiences, look no farther than South by Southwest. In 2017 SXSW hosted over 2,000 official performers, covering all genres from all over the world. If you find yourself in Austin anytime between March 9-18 make sure to catch a set.
Image courtesy of Day for Night.
Far north past the allure of Coachella and the Governor’s Ball lies one of Canada’s hidden gems, WayHome Music and Arts festival. Held the past two summers at Burls Creek Event Grounds in Oro-Medonte, WayHome may not draw as much attention as other festivals, but year after year they still come wielding some of the biggest and most iconic names in music. It was no secret that ticket sales were down for WayHome this year, but as the weekend went on numbers rose as attendees poured in. With past lineups including headliners such as LCD Soundsystem, Neil Young and Kendrick Lamar this year was no disappointment.
Here are the best Performances of WayHome 2017:
From DJ to bonafide producer, Flume has certainly made a name for himself in the music industry. In 2016 we saw his sophomore studio album Skin take home a grammy for best dance/ electronic album and it’s only been up from there. In between producing for Lorde’s Melodrama, dropping Skin Companion EPs and a world tour, Flume has been hot on the festival circuit bringing us new favorites and old classics.
By far the most sultry performance of the weekend came from Banks. Clad in patent leather thigh-high boots and perfectly in sync with two costumed backup dancers, she didn’t miss a beat while belting out hits like Waiting Game and Brain.
Seemingly out of nowhere came Mura Masa and something tells me he’s here to stay. With only one self-titled album he’s already got features from big names like Charli XCX, Desiigner and A$AP Rocky. Mura Masa gave attendees an energetic, late night set on the WayAway stage featuring all his modern pop classics.
One of electronic music’s most iconic duos, Justice is back after what felt like forever with a new album release last year and a world tour alike. Fans who have waited for months or even years for the opportunity to see them were not disappointed when new tracks like Safe & Sound and timeless favorites like Civilization and We Are Your Friends filled the air. Justice gave an incredibly high-powered live set before jumping down from the stage to shake hands and take some selfies with a few lucky fans.
The most intimate set of the weekend, if not the most intimate set ever, was from no other than Frank Ocean. After cancelling several festival performances earlier in the summer due to production delays it was easy to see why it was worth the wait. With a cover of Steve Monite’s Only You and a tour debut of Forrest Gump the entire crowd seemed to relish in each moment. He also strayed from his typical festival setlist when he performed bonafide classics Thinkin’ Bout You and Pyramids. Frank along with his four piece band took to the mic in between songs to remind us that he’s “only human” and sometimes still gets nervous performing for such large crowds.
Lollapalooza releases four-day 2016 lineup including Radiohead, Red Hot Chili Peppers, LCD Soundsystem & J. Cole
With festival season fast approaching, Chicago-based behemoth Lollapalooza has revealed it’s 2016 festival line up, which includes top bills of Radiohead, Red Hot Chili Peppers, LCD Soundsystem, and J. Cole. The festival, which celebrates it’s 25th anniversary this year by adding a fourth day of music, will take place at Grant Park from July 28 – 31.
Other notable acts include Lana Del Rey, Future, Disclosure, Jane’s Addiction, Flume, G-Eazy, M83, Halsey, Grimes, Leon Bridges, Bryson Tiller, Miike Snow, ZHU, Years & Years, and Danny Brown, among others.
Four-day passes are already sold out, but single days are still available at lollapalooza.com.
San Francisco’s Outside Lands Festival announced their lineup today and it is absolutely phenomenal. Headliners vary from Elton John to Kendrick Lamar. Outside Lands is taking place August 7-9 in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park.
Top 10 artists I’m most excited to see (in no particular order):
Mumford & Sons
Update: Preview Outside Lands 2015 with this Spotify Playlist:
Lollapalooza is fast approaching this weekend with main-stage legends coming by way of Eminem, OutKast and Kings of Leon. The annual Chicago music festival held against the city’s skyline is hip-hop top heavy this year, and it make sense when you think about the town’s emerging rap scene. It’s hard to say who’s the bigger or more exciting bill between Em and OutKast, but I may have to give the nod to Slim Shady since Big Boi and Andre 3000 are hitting virtually every U.S. city this summer. So, who else do you have to catch that won’t be playing at the Bud Light or Samsung Galaxy stages?
If you find yourself in the Windy City this weekend, make sure to check out these other great non-headlining sets.
7. Iggy Azalea
Iggy’s breakout summer jam “Fancy” has dominated charts all season. Though she’s a rising name in hip-hop, you already know this crowd is going to be filled with chicks getting white girl wasted. Bring it on.
Haunting, bouncy, and beautiful all at the same time, Phantogram blends sample-based electronic music with lead singer Sarah Barthel’s tragically smooth vocals. Expect a super cool light show too.
5. Foster The People
You probably remember Foster The People destroying radio waves a few summers ago with “Pumped Up Kicks.” Well, their new song “Best Friends” is pretty addicting too. This will be sure to be an awesomely bouncy set.
This Queensbridge-native is a certified living legend, and he’s been performing his classic Illmatic in full all summer to celebrate its 20th anniversary. You don’t want to miss this kind of momentous show.
Flume breeds a kind of electronic music that is quite unlike anybody else. Both brooding and infectious, the Australian-born producer will be sure to deliver a rave for the ages.
Chromeo sets are guaranteed to be funky, fresh, and fun. Expect lots of high-flying guitar and super-soaked synths that sound like they’re blaring straight from the 80s.
1. Chance The Rapper
Hometown hero Chance The Rapper was grossly under-staged last year at Lolla, but this year he’ll be closing down Perry’s stage. With a flurry of syllabic rhymes and an addictive turn-down-for-what energy, don’t be surprised if this MC’s crowd rivals Skrillex or Kings of Leon playing nearby.
Lollapalooza’s Sunday (and final day) was the most comfortable I’ve ever been at a music festival. Honestly, like, there were times I wouldn’t have minded a fashionable cardigan to don with the brisk breeze from Lake Michigan blowing in. The atmosphere was the perfect cool down to a high energy weekend.
Something interesting that I noticed during Day Three’s activities was a slight difference in the crowd age. Lolla tends to be packed full of teens since it’s so accessible and relatively cheap, but Sunday saw a much more mature crowd showing. Of course, the festival organizers had planned this when they booked 80s English rock band The Cure. Smooth move Lolla. And in all honesty, it’s a refreshing thing when anybody from ages 16 to 40-something can enjoy and share the same music festival.
-Alt-J: This was the second time I got to catch the English indie rockers, who are often dubbed the new Radiohead, and one thing I can applaud them for is their consistency. Alt-J is a band with a very dynamic sound, and every high and low from their album was translated to a T on the stage. Of course, “Breezeblocks” and “Fitzpleasure” were crowd favorites, but the triangle lovers even debuted some unheard sounds which was a thrill.
-Dogblood: Say what you will about Perry’s Stage, but when you’re there, you’re having a fucking awesome time. Yeah, it’s a huge fist-pumping, brofest coupled with skimpy-dressed raverchicks, but it’s one of the better stages on the whole grounds. Flashing lights, jumbotrons in the middle of the crowd, and the sound is crisp and deafening. Perfect. Oh, and not to mention the peanut butter and chocolate combo of Skrillex and Boyz Noize that actually sound different in a world full of cookie cutter EDM artists.
-Phoenix: These guys are consummate pros. Sometimes, I really didn’t know whether or not I believed the sounds I was hearing. Like, was I just listening to Thomas Mars’ iTunes playlist or were they actually performing? They’re that good. Their set also brought one of the coolest moments of the weekend, with Mars dashing out to the center sound stage to rock out in the middle of the crowd with the band raging on in the background. Then, he crowd surfed all the way back to the stage in a a rioting climax of drums, riffs and lights. Bravo.
Peep the video highlights of Sunday below, and definitely listen to the five-song highlight playlist I put together to recap the third and final day of another great Lollapalooza.
Saturday always serves as a de facto climax of sorts for Lollapalooza. Friday is full of fashionably late goers with many working earlier in the day (myself included), and Sunday is significantly more relaxed with Monday looming around the corner. So, Day Two is always packed and popping with people ready to go balls to the wall (also myself included).
-Ellie Goulding played a fully stocked 5 o’clock set that could of easily been a headliner. Her wispy, seductive vocals carried through the crowd, but her talents seemed boundless as she picked up a guitar and even a pair of drumsticks during her hour-long set. A true musician, through and through and not to mention humble. Multiple times Ellie stopped herself, presumably taken aback by the crowd and dizzied in the moment.
-Just an hour after Ms. Goulding, Compton-native Kendrick Lamar took the same stage to a massive gathering gearing up for a Good Kid, M.A.A.D city medley. Kendrick is easily one of the most hype and polished performers in the rap realm right now. K-dot glided through each of his tracks with ease and CDQ bravado, from a raw “Backseat Freestyle” to a climatic “Bitch Don’t Kill My Vibe”. But, even Kendrick couldn’t ignore probably the most unique moment of the entire festival weekend: a man being crowd surfed, in a wheelchair, across the sea of fans to the front of the stage. The show legit stopped for what seemed like a full two minutes, with Kendrick applauding the spectacle (“this is gonna be on the Internet”).
-The most momentous main stage headliner had to be The Postal Service. TPS’ career was short and sweet, only really active for a few years in the early 2000s, but they always sort of served as an indiepop ambassador. They absolutely killed their set with fervor and a genuineness that made things seem very melancholy, with their tour acting simultaneously as a reunion and a goodbye.
Check out video highlights from Saturday below, and be sure to check out the five-song playlist featuring some of the day’s best sets.
You’d be hard pressed to find a better Chicago weekend than when Lollapalooza sets its sails in early August, nested between Lake Michigan and the city’s iconic skyline. In a lot of ways, Lolla marks the culmination of an entire summer of great fests, being the last in line of other big boys like Coachella and Bonnaroo turning out earlier in the summer.
This year was bigger than ever for the festival’s current 9-year run in the city’s Grant Park, with reportedly over 300,000 concertgoers bouncing around the Magnificent Mile to their favorite bands and artists. And compared to last year’s monsoon, the weather was the best I’ve ever experienced thanks to a relatively tame and cool Chicago summer.
It’s hard for me to pick my favorite moment on a day that ranged from Aaron Paul joining Steve Aoki on stage with roaring 90s jock jams to Imagine Dragons getting their sound cut off for about 15 minutes (and yes this was a good moment since they were fucking terrible live). But, I think I have to go with Chance The Rapper‘s set over at the vastly undersized BMI stage.
Watching Chance’s show felt like I was witnessing history in the making. Coming off of his hugely successful tape Acid Rap that placed him in national spotlight, coupled with a dizzyingly packed hometown crowd, you could feel that this was obviously the peak of Mr. Bennet’s burgeoning career. He could barely contain his fervor and it all spilled out as raw emotion on stage. Not to mention that he reunited Kids These Days to back him with Vic Mensa and Twista joining for a compete and thumping rendition of “Cocoa Butter Kisses”. With another album or two under his belt, I wouldn’t doubt that I see Chance back at Lolla, but headlining a much bigger stage next time.
Be sure to check out the five-song playlist below recapping day one of Lollapalooza, and come back for Saturday and Sunday highlights in the next few days.
The countdown is on for the inaugural Bottle Rock Music & Art Festival in Napa Valley, California. The festival begins tomorrow night, Wednesday May 8th, with a headlining performance by none other than Macklemore and Ryan Lewis. Between Wednesday and Sunday, the show will feature over 60 bands on three different stages, top wineries from the region, the best of the local food, a slew of microbrews, and today’s top comedians (including my personal favorite, Rob Delaney).
The festival has made quite a splash in the Northern California social sphere, as thousands of people flocked to the website on the day tickets first went on sale. Since then, the buzz has built and the nascent festival has amassed over 50,000 fans on Facebook.
So what’s all the fuss about? Well, aside from the local flavor of the greatest vineyard-filled land in the country, the lineup is rather impressive. Here are my top three picks for each day of the festival:
Wednesday 5/8: Macklemore and Ryan Lewis (there aren’t many other performers this day, so I stuck to one here)
Thursday 5/9: The Avett Brothers, Delta Spirit, Joan Jett and the Blackhearts
Friday 5/10: The Black Keys, The Shins, Blues Traveler
Saturday 5/11: Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros, Iron & Wine, Sharon Van Etten
Sunday 5/12: Grouplove, Mavis Staples, Rogue Wave
If you’re going out to the festival (see you there!) and are concerned about how to get around the area, fear not! One of my personal favorite transportation companies, Uber, will be set up in Napa with easy ways to get from place to place. They’ll have a bunch of cars set up ready to take you to and from your destination.
Lastly, continue reading for a playlist I put together with the Best of Bottle Rock musical performers.
As one of my favorite music festivals (if not my very favorite), ACL, rounds the corner, I sadly realized that this is the first year in three that I have not written for the festival. It’s a sad realization, but one that comes to no surprise of my own. Time is a precious thing these days, and sadly there isn’t much that I can devote to festivals. That said, I still it in me to find time to put together a suggested schedule for all my friends and readers who are lucky enough to go to Austin City Limits this year!
For me, festivals aren’t a time to get up super early and wait in line to get into the gates. I’d rather get my sleep and rest up for a full day of music and sun. Luckily, the best performers typically aren’t put on in the morning, with an exception this year. My new favorite band of the moment, Alt-J, is performing Sunday morning, and I would absolutely make the trek out early to see them perform. Other than that, here’s my suggested schedule with some sample MP3s for ACL 2012.
Friday October 12
Start your day off slow with Patrick Watson. You may need to ease into the ACL experience. You have a full weekend ahead. You wont have to pick up your pace too quickly with this schedule — Delta Spirit into Ben Howard and either a break or Tegan and Sara will ease you into the experience, but the energy will pick up with your arrival at Alabama Shakes. Then Florence + The Machine…if you haven’t seen her live yet, just wait. Your mind will be blown by the insanity of her vocal pipes. And you can’t really go wrong with M83 or The Black Keys. What a Friday.
- 1:30 – 2:30 Patrick Watson (MP3: “Great Escape” – Patrick Watson“)
- 2:15 – 3:15 Delta Spirit
- 3:15-4:15 Ben Howard
- 4:30-5:30 Break or check out Tegan and Sara
- 5:30 – 6:30 Alabama Shakes
- 6:30 – 7:30 Florence + The Machine (MP3: “Swimming” – Florence + The Machine)
- 7:30 – 8:30 M83
- 8:30 – 10:00 The Black Keys
- 1:15 – 2 Bombay Bicycle Club
- 2:00 – 2:45 Dry the River (MP3: “History Book” – Dry the River)
- 3:00 – 4:00 Oberhofer (close pick over K.R.I.T.) (MP3: “ooOOOOooo” – Oberhofer)
- 4:00 – 5:00 Andrew Bird
- Break, or go check out Big Gigantic if you’re ambitious
- 6:00 – 7:00 Kishi Bashi or The Shins…both are great. Take your pick. (MP3: “I Am The Antichrist To You” – Kishi Bashi)
- 7:00 – 8:00 Gotye
- 8:00 – 9:00 Jack White (Neil Young is a dead man walking. At this hour, you’ll fall asleep.)
Sunday, October 14
Sunday is the day I’d be most excited for if I could attend ACL this year. The lineup is incredible. It starts with one of my favorite bands of 2012, Alt-J, and before closing with Red Hot Chili Peppers, you get to see gems like The Lumineers, The Avett Brothers, and Childish Gambino. Sadly I’ve never gotten to see them live, but I have never heard anything but absolute praise for The Avett Brothers’ live show. It’s supposed to be one of the best of our time. All of these sets should be ones that stick with you forever, so if you must do anything over the course of the weekend, please do yourself a favor and stay for the whole day on Sunday. Then go ahead and thank me later.
- 11:30 – 12:15 Alt-J
- 12:15 – 1:15 The Boxer Rebellion (MP3: “Locked in the Basement” – The Boxer Rebellion)
- 1:15 – 2:15 Freelance Whales
- 2:15 – 3:15 Gary Clark Jr. (MP3: “The Life” – Gary Clark Jr.)
- 3:15 – 4:15 Tennis
- 4:15 – 5:15 Two Door Cinema Club (close call over The Civil Wars)
- 5:00 – 5:45 The Lumineers (sad to say it, but you have to skip The Weeknd to run to see The Avett Brothers) (MP3: “Classy Girls [B-Side Version] – The Lumineers)
- 6:15 – 7:30 The Avett Brothers (MP3: “Head Full of Doubt/Road Full Of Promise” – The Avett Brothers)
- 7:30 – 8:15 Childish Gambino
- 8:15 Red Hot Chili Peppers
Sunday at Lollapalooza marked one of the first times I felt old at a concert setting. I mean, sure, festivals like this are typically filled with the young and restless, but this time shit got generational on me.
I was a face in the crowd in the middle of the Macklemore & Ryan Lewis set, my first this day, when the Seattle emcee probed his fans with a question. “How many of you guys were born in the 70s?” A small murmur responded at best. Then he asked, “How many of you guys were born in the 80s?” A decent cheer followed, including myself (I’m 23, by the way.) Finally, Macklemore beckoned, “how many of you guys were born in the 90s?” And the whole crowd erupted.
Well, at least I can say I’m still hip, right?
Check out the sounds from a few of the performances I got the chance to see on Sunday below, as well as some visuals of Jack White absolutely killin’ it in front the Chicago skyline and a good chunk of its population.
Macklemore X Ryan Lewis – Wings
JUSTICE - Horsepower
Childish Gambino – Break (AOTL)
Jack White – Sixteen Saltines (Live)
FRANK OCEAN MAY HAVE STOLEN THE SHOW AT ALL OF LOLLAPALOOZA
Although it was the shortest, Saturday was hands down my favorite day of Lollapalooza weekend. We got news around 3:30 in the afternoon that the festival was being suspended indefinitely for dangerous weather conditions. Downtown Chicago was an absolutely mess as an upwards of 100,000 concertgoers were haplessly stranded onto the city streets, wondering if they’d ever get back into the festival grounds (it was actually hilarious to see all the drunk/high/rolling people get smacked in the face by “the real world” as they had to exit the alcohol and drug safe haven of Lolla.)
It rained, it poured and the Windy City lived up to its nickname as a monsoon washed right over Grant Park. But, the storm passed and the masses were finally let back into the soggy grounds by 6:00PM. The show must go on, right?
I got the chance to see a lot of ultra-cool, mega-EDM acts this day, including Calvin Harris and Avicii in all their LED-lit glory. But you know what? Even with all the sub-bass, flashing lights and dime pieces dancing around me, none of it even came close to the satisfaction I got from witnessing Frank Ocean perform.
Mr. Ocean was something totally rare in the overwhelmingly loud, busy and high-energy vibe you typically get from music festivals like Lollapalooza. When I was standing there with my eyes closed tight at Frank, it didn’t matter how loud Avicii was bumping house just next door. It felt like it was just me and him. That’s how intimate a Frank Ocean show is. And if you think his voice was stunning on the album, it miraculously gets better live. It’s truly passion in its rawest form, and Frank may have stolen the show at all of Lollapalooza for me.
Check out the sounds from the rest of Satuday below, and enjoy visuals from the always-great Red Hot Chili Peppers performing, “Under The Bridge.”