The winter months usually offer bitter cold and little sunlight, with not much to look forward to other than daylight savings and the announcement of the upcoming summer’s festival lineups. This winter is no different and concert goers are already clearing their weekend schedules from May through August to travel up and down the east coast for some of the best offerings of live music this year. There is occasional overlap with some festivals playing against each other, so some difficult decisions will have to be made if you can’t choose between Wilco and the Red Hot Chili Peppers. These are the biggest single and multi-day festivals taking place in the northeast this summer in chronological order.
Sweetlife Music & Food Festival, May 11, 2013 (Merriweather Post Pavilion- Columbia, MD): This festival is one day only, but it packs in some of the best current live acts with Phoenix, Passion Pit, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, and Gary Clark Jr. as well as one of hip hop’s biggest new artists, Kendrick Lamar. General admission tickets start at $75 for the festival and are on sale now on Sweetlife’s official website.
6th Annual Roots Picnic, June 1, 2013 (Penns Landing- Philadelphia, PA): This is another one day festival featuring guitar virtuoso Gary Clark Jr., hosted by the best house band in late night television, The Roots. This is the group’s 6th year hosting their eponymous hometown festival, and in addition to their own headlining spot, The Roots will be backing New Jersey’s own hip hop legends, Naughty By Nature, for their set at the fest. Tickets for the one day festival are $45 and available via Ticketmaster.
Mountain Jam, June 6-9, 2013 (Hunter Mountain, NY): The annual jam band destination weekend features past resident acts such as Phil Lesh & Friends, Widespread Panic, and Gov’t Mule as well as Primus and folk revivalists The Avett Brothers and The Lumineers. Road warrior Gary Clark Jr. will be at Mountain Jam also, in addition to Dispatch, New Jersey’s own Gaslight Anthem, Michael Franti & Spearhead, Deer Tick, ALO, and the late Levon Helm’s daughter Amy Helm. 3 Day passes are currently $180 and 4 day passes are $205 and available on Mountain Jam’s website, but as lower tiered priced tickets sell out, prices are increased as it gets closer to the festival.
The Governor’s Ball, June 7-9, 2013 (Randall’s Island- New York, NY): There is some overlap in this lineup and Mountain Jam, but this year the Governor’s Ball packs in one of the summer’s biggest festival lineups. Over 3 nights, Kanye West, Kings of Leon, and Guns N’ Roses will headline New York’s answer to the nation’s premier festivals Bonnaroo and Coachella. Packing additional punch to a lineup as diverse as the city it’s in are acts such as: Nas, The Avett Brothers, Grizzly Bear, The XX, Feist, Kendrick Lamar, Beach House, The Lumineers, Thievery Corporation, Animal Collective, Erykah Badu, Cut Copy, Pretty Lights, Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros, Gary Clark Jr., Japandroids, Young the Giant, Bloc Party, Of Monsters And Men, Azealia Banks, Best Coast, Dirty Projectors, Miguel, Dinosaur Jr., Divine Fits, and The Vaccines among many others. With a lineup packing this much of a wallop, early bird tickets predictably sold out fast, but regular $220 3 day passes are still available on the festival website as well as transportation and parking add-ons for the weekend.
Firefly Music Festival, June 21-23, 2013 (Dover, DE): Next to the Governor’s Ball, this newer festival is the biggest festival the northeast will see this summer, boasting fellow Rock & Roll Hall of Famers the Red Hot Chili Peppers and Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers at the top of the bill along with Vampire Weekend. Other festival mainstays are included in this lineup that also features: Foster the People, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, The Avett Brothers, Passion Pit, MGMT, Dispatch, Alabama Shakes, The Lumineers, Calvin Harris, Kendrick Lamar, Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros, Grizzly Bear, Jim James (of My Morning Jacket), Public Enemy, Matt & Kim, The Joy Formidable, Japandroids, The Walkmen, Atlas Genius, Django Django, St. Lucia, and Apache Relay. All lower tiered pricing for Firefly have sold out and only 3 day passes for $258 remain available on the festival’s website.
Solid Sound, June 21-23, 2013 (North Adams, MA): The only festival goers that will be skipping over Firefly for Solid Sound are likely to be diehard Wilco fans, as this is Jeff Tweedy and Co’s personally curated annual music and arts fest for which they’ll headline 2 nights. In addition to Wilco, their contemporaries Yo La Tengo, White Denim, Neko Case, Mark Mulcahy, Wilco guitarist Nels Cline & Julian Lage, and comedian Reggie Watts round out the lineup. This festival doesn’t pack as much as Firefly or the Governor’s Ball, but with early bird 3 day passes still at $124 on Solid Sound’s website, and later 3 day passes at $149, this is a good summer bargain. You’ll get 2 nights of what should be Wilco’s typically stellar live sets in addition to the other musicians on the bill like Hoboken natives Yo La Tengo.
Camp Bisco, July 11-13, 2013 (Mariaville Lake, NY): This electronic/rock festival in upstate New York always boasts a diverse lineup and this year is no different. The bill this year includes: The Disco Biscuits, Passion Pit, Bassnectar, Umphrey’s McGee, Flux Pavillion, and more over the 3 days of art and music. Compared to some of the other bigger festivals, the current price tag of $185 3 day passes, which jump to $199 for last minute tickets, doesn’t seem like much of a bargain unless this is your only chance to see The Disco Biscuits and Passion Pit this summer. Tickets are available on Camp Bisco’s website.
Newport Folk Festival, July 26-28, 2013 (Newport, RI): This is the only festival on the list that is already sold out, with only Friday single day tickets available for $49. By keeping their attendance numbers down, and garnering a reputation as a more intimate festival experience, the Newport fest is always quick to sell out every year. This year, the Lumineers are their most popular act, in addition to Jim James of My Morning Jacket, The Mountain Goats, Rayland Baxter, Michael Kiwanuka, and Andrew Bird, but more artists are set to be announced. One day passes for Friday are still available on Newport Folk Festival’s site.
The Peach Music Festival, August 15-18, 2013 (Scranton, PA): Before the Allman Brothers Band started their own festival in Scranton, Pennsylvania last year, they usually showed up on the bill at Mountain Jam. Instead, they’re headlining their festival again this year, with 2 nights of performances, as well as 2 nights of Bob Weir & Rat Dog, with the newly reunited Black Crowes headlining the last day of the fest. Only phase one of the artists have been announced so far, but it already includes: Grace Potter & The Nocturnals, Rusted Root, Dirty Dozen Brass Band, and a solo acoustic set by Bob Weir in addition to his headlining sets with Rat Dog. 4 day early bird passes are still available for $129, and then go up to $150.
Made In America Festival TBD (Philadelphia, PA): Last year Jay Z curated one of the summer’s great music surprises putting together a 2 day lineup over Labor Day weekend that included Pearl Jam, Passion Pit, Drake, Miike Snow, Gary Clark Jr., Dirty Projectors, Run DMC, and Odd Future among others in Philadelphia. This summer, Jay Z is co-headlining a stadium tour with Justin Timberlake that wraps up in Miami in mid August, which would give him plenty of time to rest up before another Labor Day weekend fest with another strong lineup of new and legendary hip hop and rock stars. No announcements have been made yet regarding this year.