"By Jack Shepler
The Midwest knows how to have a good time. When the sun stays out, we’re ready with good vibes to party with some of the hottest new musicians. NUVO has outlined several of the best outdoor festivals going on this summer below. Most of them feature a weekend of camping and multiple stages of live music.
Wilco, Tool, The Police, Wolfmother, The Flaming Lips and more
June 14-17, $184.50-$214.50, all-ages
Bonnaroo has only existed for five years, but it has evolved into the biggest, greatest music festival in the United States. Originally more of a jam band festival, the lineup now features more eclectic artists, highlighting the best indie rock bands and the best from other musical genres, even hip-hop and trance.
The most exciting part of the lineup is without a doubt the return of the Police. With so many other highlights, it’s impossible to name them all in one breath: Tool, the White Stripes, Wilco, the Flaming Lips, Franz Ferdinand, Damien Rice, the Roots, Wolfmother, Regina Spektor, DJ Shadow, STS9, Feist, Hot Chip, Aesop Rock, Pete Yorn, Cold War Kids, Girl Talk, Martha Wainwright, the National, Mute Math and … OK, we’re out of breath. You’ll have to check out www.bonnaroo.com for a full lineup, or go to the festival to find out for yourself what all the fuss is about.
23rd Annual Chicago Blues Festival
Bettye LaVette, Bobby Blue Bland, Daddy Mack, Eddie Bo, Larry McCray, Saffire: The Uppity Blues Woman
Grant Park, Chicago, Ill.
June 7-10, free, all-ages
The Chicago Blues Festival is about more than just live music. It’s a celebration of culture, a lesson in history and a look to the future. In its 23rd year, the festival will commemorate the centennials of Roosevelt Sykes and Eurreal “Little Brother” Montgomery, and celebrate Chicago’s massive footprint in the blues and jazz scene. What could be better than the opportunity to see living legends? Seeing them for free, of course!
Detroit Electronic Music Festival
Moodymann, Juan Atkins, Jeff Mills and more
Hart Plaza, Detroit, Mich.
May 26-28, $20 per day/$40 for the weekend
Put your hands up for Detroit. American techno, in the true sense of the genre, originated there. The city recognizes this every year through the Detroit Electronic Music Festival. This year’s lineup includes Juan Atkins, hailed as the godfather of techno, and Jeff Mills, known as “the Wizard” in the Detroit scene. German duo Hardfloor will make its first-ever appearance in Detroit. The festival will feature more than just Detroit techno. Festival-goers will be presented with other electronic genres as well, such as drum ’n’ bass, ambient and the more hard-core genres, as well as house music in the likes of Chicago’s Bad Boy Bill. Indianapolis’ own Adam Jay and Ben Wu will spin at after-parties.
The Forecastle Festival
De La Soul, Girl Talk, Particle and more
Melwood Art Center, Louisville, Ky.
July 28-29, $10/$12, all-ages
In late July, just 114 miles south of Indy, Forecastle will turn Louisville into a big meeting ground for music, art and activism. This year’s musical talent includes Long Island Jazz Rap trio De La Soul, the “I’m not a DJ and I’m not a mashup artist, so what am I?” performer Girl Talk and electro-jazz jam band Particle. Overall, the weekend will feature 36 bands, 25 artists and 47 environmental organizations. You can pick up advanced weekend tickets at Indy CD & Vinyl for $20, or you can just show up and pay $15 per day.
Rusted Root, The Wailers, Hot Buttered Rum, Oakhurst, Rev. Peyton’s Big Damn Band
May 25-26, $80, all-ages
Ohio is “jam packed” with jam festivals, but one in particular has always shone through. Hookahville’s 27th bi-annual festival will take place in late May, and features Rusted Root, the Wailers, Hot Buttered Rum, Oakhurst, Indy’s own Rev. Peyton’s Big Damn Band and the band that hosts it all: Ekoostik Hookah.
Indianapolis Music + Art Festival
State, Liz Janes, Mudkids, Wolfy, Everthus the Deadbeats, Otis Gibbs, More Animals of the Arctic and Stereo Deluxe
Harrison Center for the Arts, Indianapolis, Ind.
June 9, 11 a.m.-10 p.m., free, all-ages
Now that the Midwest Music Summit is on hold until 2008, your only chance of seeing Indy’s finest musicians in one place this summer is IMAF, the Indianapolis Music + Art Festival. Featured on the lineup are State, Liz Janes, Indy hip-hop sensations the Mudkids, piano-pop trio Wolfy, the daft powerpop sounds of Muncie-gone-Indy Everthus the Deadbeats, country/folk luminary Otis Gibbs, Indy’s minimal psychedelic band More Animals of the Arctic and local faves Stereo Deluxe. You won’t find a stronger lineup of Indy’s independent music scene. P.S: There’s art too!
Pearl Jam, Daft Punk, Muse, Modest Mouse, Interpol, My Morning Jacket, the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Snow Patrol, Kings of Leon, TV on the Radio, Cold War Kids, Yo La Tengo and more
Aug. 3-5, $195 for three-day pass, all-ages
The great touring festival known as Lollapalooza started in 1991, had many successes and failures and ended up parking at Grant Park in Chicago in 2005. The festival has certainly revived, becoming the biggest festival in the Midwest.
This year’s lineup is stellar, with performances from Pearl Jam, Daft Punk, Ben Harper & the Innocent Criminals, Muse, Modest Mouse, Interpol, My Morning Jacket, the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Snow Patrol, Spoon, Regina Spektor, Kings of Leon, TV on the Radio, LCD Soundsystem, Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, Yo La Tengo, Cansei De Ser Sexy (CSS), the Rapture, Tapes ’n’ Tapes, Cold War Kids and I’m From Barcelona. The most intriguing artist appearance will be M.I.A., who was denied a Visa last year to enter the U.S.
Just for fun: If you’re an Internet nerd, check out www.paloozahead.com, where you can make your own personal caricature appear on stage dancing, playing an instrument or spinning glowsticks. Then post the image on your MySpace or personal Web site.
Red Rocks Amphitheater, Morrison, Colo.
Sept. 14-15, all-ages
Two great American music festivals are on hold this year, and Indianapolis natives direct both. Josh Baker announced earlier this year that the Midwest Music Summit won’t be happening until 2008. Matt Fetcher made a similar announcement regarding his Southpark Music Festival. In the meantime, they’ve created a new festival together at Red Rocks in Colorado. The festival promises to be the largest festival ever to grace the “Best Live Music Venue in North America” (Pollstar). That’s pretty sweet, although I think I speak for Indianapolis as a whole when I say we’ll be missing MMS this year. The lineup has not yet been announced.
Pitchfork Music Festival
Sonic Youth, The New Pornographers and more
Union Park, Chicago, Ill.
July 13-15, $15-$50, all-ages
Chicago’s most famously elitist music Web site, Pitchfork Media, will host its third festival in Union Park. The first night of the festival features only three artists, each performing an album that originally got them noticed. Sonic Youth will perform its 1988 album, Daydream Nation, Wu-Tang lyricist GZA (the Genius) will perform his 1995 release, Liquid Swords and Slint will perform its 1994 hit, Spiderland.
The lineup over the next two days includes Yoko Ono, Cat Power, Girl Talk, Iron and Wine, Grizzly Bear, Battles, the New Pornographers, Stephen Malkmus, Of Montreal, De La Soul, Klaxons, Deerhunter and more. Tickets for all three days cost $50, with single-day tickets at $15-$25 and a Saturday-Sunday pass for only $35.
Umphrey’s McGee, Keller Williams, Les Claypool and Medeski Martin & Wood
Three Sisters Park, Chillicothe, Ill.
May 25-27, $120, all-ages
For fans of jam bands, Summer Camp is your best bet for a weekend of friends, fun, camping and music. moe., an Indy favorite, will play all three nights at the festival, and South Bend’s Umphrey’s McGee will play two nights. Now in its seventh year, the festival will feature 45 bands on three stages and onsite camping with lots of food and beer vendors.
Def Leppard, The Fray, OK Go, John Mayer and Ben Folds
June 28-July 8, $8-$15, all-ages
Eleven full days of music highlights the Guinness World Records’ “biggest music festival,” now celebrating its 40th year. So far the lineup is shaping up to look a lot like the Verizon Wireless Music Center’s summer concert schedule, with Def Leppard, Styx, Foreigner, the Fray, OK Go, Mae, Roger Waters, John Mayer, Ben Folds, Brett Dennen, Tool, the Black Crowes and Bon Jovi. Expect many more artists to be announced