Hello Music Court readers. I am happy to re-introduce Beth Kelly to the Music Court pages who has a special feature on some excellent summer festivals. With that, take it away Beth.
Ah, sweet summertime. While most of the Midwest is still de-thawing, it might be hard to remember a time when the air didn’t hurt your face. But with hotter days ahead and warm evenings on the horizon, soon it will be time to pack up the car, grab some friends, and hit the road for one of the summer’s best music festivals. From the small and the scrappy to the big and (let’s be honest) overblown, let us help you find the fest that fits best. Read on for a few I’m excited about myself!
Movement Electronic Music Festival – Detroit, MI / May 23-25th
After the first Detroit Electronic Music Festival brought together hundreds of international Techno lovers from all over the globe in 2000, Hart Plaza has become home to the enormous, electronic-themed event. This year sees a diverse mix of house, techno, and hip hop among performers who include Wu Tang Clan’s Method Man, house music icon Kerri Chandler, dance-punk rockers !!!, Disclosure, and even Snoop Dogg, who, after revealing a love for “Euro tekno” last year, has been performing under the moniker “DJ Snoopadelic.” Make a trip to the Motor City on Memorial Day and witness some of techno’s pioneers in action, all set against a beautiful backdrop of the Detroit River and Ambassador Bridge. If you thought Eminem was the only musical export to come from the city in recent years, consider this an education.
Sasquatch! – George, WA / May 22-25th
An internationally-acclaimed music festival/mythical being that emerges from basalt cliffs carved high above the Columbia River Gorge each Memorial Day weekend, Sasquatch! never disappoints. This year’s Sasquatch! lineup remains as impressive as ever, with highlights that include Modest Mouse, James Blake, Hot Chip, Tame Impala, and a dizzying list of other talented performers. Camping is your only option here, so bring enough supplies to last you and your friends all four days. A significantly smaller-scale event when compared to jumbo-fests such like Lollapalooza, with attendees numbering at about 20,000 you can expect a communal PNW vibe and maybe even this guy.
Pitchfork Music Festival – Chicago, IL / July 17th – 19th
Chicago’s annual celebration of all things left of mainstream Pop, this 3-day party finds its home in the cozy Union Park. Coming into its tenth year (I feel old) the event is known for featuring a range of popular and critically-acclaimed performers. Summer 2015’s lineup runs the gamut from local rap act Chance the Rapper to Norwegian DJ Todd Terje. In addition to the music, Pitchfork hosts a vendor sale which includes art, gig posters, and a record sale managed and organized by Chicago’s independent community station. The shows tend to end promptly at 10pm, so do your best to fit in all the food, drinks, and fun your body can handle before sunset—but don’t forget to leave room for the after-party.
Made In America Fest – Los Angeles, CA and Philedelphia, PA / September 7-9th
After starting the first festival small in 2012, Jay Z got together with Budweiser in 2013 to put on the first big two-day “Made in America” festival in Philadelphia. Last year, the event expanded to Los Angeles, occurring in both cities simultaneously over Labor Day weekend. Performers included Kanye West, Kendrick Lamar, Pharrell, and the controversial Iggy Azalea. While Jay-Z is off on his own tour with Beyonce this year (you can click here for live-streaming info), if you’re looking for a hip-hop focused fest, this is surely one of the best.
Hopscotch Music Festival – Raleigh, VA – September 10-12
One of Raleigh’s biggest annual events, this festival was established by local newspaper Independent Weekly in an effort to bring both local and national acts to the stages of Virginia. In a “SXSW” style the bands play at various venues across town, touching on genres spanning from classical to dance and “alt-country.” Under new leadership this year, it’s safe to say we can expect a lineup even better than last year’s. Though after Spoon, De La Soul, St, Vincent, and a host of other talented musicians captured crowds in 2014, it’s going to be a tough act to follow.