10 Best Summer Music Festivals of 2015

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Hang up your parka and put away your Bean boots, because it’s finally time for tanks, shorts and some of the best music festivals in the world. It’s no longer just Bonnaroo: No matter where you are or what genre of music you love, there’s a summer music festival for you. What’s better than road-tripping with a couple good friends, seeing your favorite bands and maybe discovering a few new artists along the way? Take a couple days off from your boring internship and get there this summer.

1. Summerfest – Milwaukee, WI, June 24-28, June 30-July 5

There’s no better way to kick off your summer than with a trip to the world’s largest music festival. Summerfest has over 800 acts and 900,000 people moving in and out of the audience during its nine day runtime. If you don’t like spending the hundreds of dollars that it costs to get to some of the other festivals, tickets for Summerfest start at just $19. There’s no doubt that even a weekday ticket is worth giving up a couple trips to Chipotle.

Notables: The Rolling Stones, Stevie Wonder, Carrie Underwood, Ed Sheeran, Kendrick Lamar

2. Electric Forest – Rothbury, MI, June 25-28

If you haven’t seen pictures of the Electric Forest all over social media, then you’ve probably been living under a rock. The shows are held inside of a real forest with real trees, creating an incredible light show in the wilderness. The number of fans of EDM is growing by the minute, so don’t miss out on this wonder of the festival world.

Notables: Bassnectar, Skrillex, Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeroes, Kaskade, Phantogram

3. Farmborough Country Music Festival – New York, NY, June 26-28

New York City has never really been the city to host premiere country music festivals, but with Farmborough coming to town, it’s finally pulling its weight. Like the Newport Festival, Farmborough offers north easterners a way to slip away from the hustle and bustle of big city life and just relax for a bit. Oh, and the biggest names in country will be there, too.

Notables: Dierks Bentley, Brad Paisley, Luke Bryan, Kip Moore, Randy Houser

4. Forecastle – Louisville, KY, July 17-19

If you’ve never been to Louisville, then you’re missing out on one incredible city. The city is within driving distance of all of the East Coast and Midwest, and even the south, making it the perfect location for a huge music festival. The festival also benefits the Forecastle Foundation and other activist groups working to save and preserve the earth.

Notables: Sam Smith, Modest Mouse, RL Grime, My Morning Jacket, The War on Drugs

5. Eaux Claires Festival – Eau Claire, WI, July 17-18

Created by Bon Iver front man Justin Vernon as a way to recognize his hometown, the first Eaux Claires festival is sure to be a hit. Vernon put together an amazing first lineup with the goal of breaking down barriers between genres and celebrating all music and art together.

Notables: Bon Iver, The National, Sufjan Stevens, Marijuana Deathsquads, Tallest Man on Earth

6. Newport Folk Festival – Newport, RI, July 24-26

Do you feel like putting on a flannel and jeans in the middle of summer and just spending some time listening to good ole’ music? Well, then the Newport Folk Festival is the place for you. In the heart of the preppy Northeast, the Newport Festival brings a refreshingly homey tone to the local music scene.

Notables: Roger Waters, Sufjan Stevens, The Decemberists, Lord Huron, Shakey Graves

7. Osheaga – Parc Jean-Drapeau, Montreal, July 31 – August 2

If you thought Chicago was bad in the winter, then you should see Montreal. There aren’t many places in the world where people cherish the warmth of the summer more than  in Montreal, Canada. Osheaga takes place during one of the only times when you can visit Canada with no risk of being snowed into your hotel. Well, we can’t guarantee there’s no chance; it’s still Canada.

Notables: Kendrick Lamar, The Black Keys, Weezer, Nas, Young the Giant

8. Lollapalooza – Chicago, IL, July 31 – August 2

This is the big one, kids. Lolla consistently features not just some of the biggest names in music, but just about all of them. This time of the year is probably the only time when you won’t get blown over by wind and the entire city isn’t covered in snow, so take the opportunity to visit while you can, and hit up one of the largest music festivals in the world while you’re at it.

Notables: Paul McCartney, Metallica, Kid Cudi, Sam Smith, Of Monsters and Men

9. OVO Fest – Toronto, ON, August 1-3

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9HI8bevr9ME

OVO Fest is one of the newest music festivals to burst onto the scene, but it’s no surprise with Drake promoting and hosting the show. OVO Fest is quickly becoming one of the premier hip-hop festivals in music, but it also goes beyond music—Kevin Hart is the opening act on the first night. And Drake always has an unexpected guest up his sleeve, so be ready for a great surprise.

Notables: Drake, J. Cole, Big Sean, YG, Jeremih

10. Outside Lands Music and Arts Festival – San Francisco, CA, August 7-9

Don’t worry, everyone out on the West Coast; there’s one out there for you, too. Before you start packing up all of your books and clothes to go back to school, get out to San Fran for one last summer hurrah. Outside Lands is the most diverse festival this summer, featuring attractions with music, food, wine, beer, art and comedy. But what else would you expect from one of the most diverse and progressive cities in the country?

Notables: Elton John, Kendrick Lamar, The Black Keys, Mumford & Sons, Sam Smith

For more on music festivals, check out:

Top 10 University Festivals to Crash

The 22 Personalities You’ll Meet at Every Music Festival

Top 10 Music Festival Essentials

I am a freshman at the University of Notre Dame majoring in American studies. I love Ohio, coffee, music and everything ND.

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