Festivals for the rest of us

Summer is approaching with alarming speed, and jubilation is filling the campus as most people look forward to a few glorious months free of scholarly pursuits. However, their excitement will fade as they realize that there’s going to be nothing for them to do without class to occupy them every day. The precious premium on free time that makes one enjoy every moment to the fullest will disappear, to be replaced by lassitude, torpor and skull-crushing boredom. Well, readers, never fear, for as always we are here to help you in your time of need. Summer is the time of the giant music festival, and although Coachella and Sasquatch have already passed by, there are plenty of other heavyweights coming up. So read on, be informed and relax. There’s plenty for you to do.

Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival, Manchester, Tenn.
June 10-12

Headliners: Dave Matthews Band, The Black Crowes, The Allman Brothers, Modest Mouse, The Mars Volta, Jurassic 5, My Morning Jacket, Toots and the Maytals, Iron and Wine, Drive By Truckers, Secret Machines, Mouse on Mars, the Frames, Kings of Leon, Joss Stone, and Les Claypool, plus a bunch of other mainly rootsy music.

This earth-friendly festival, located in the heart of the South (sort of) promises a good time for all, if you enjoy standing behind someone who pushes their stinking dreadlocks in your face for three days as they rock out to whatever jam-friendly project Trey Anastasio is dragging around these days. Also, there’s going to be the insufferable Dave Matthews screeching for your attention, so make sure you bring your heavy-duty earplugs. That aside, there’s enough pretty good acts to keep your attention, and if you can suffer the Mars Volta prog jams then you might be rewarded by something like Iron and Wine. All in all, not a bad lot, but nothing really stellar, either.

Intonation Festival, Chicago
July 16-17
$10 each day
Headliners: The Decemberists, Tortoise, Les Savy Fav, Death From Above 1979, The Go! Team, Deerhoof, Broken Social Scene, Xiu Xiu, Four Tet, and more hep, happenin’ acts. More are on the way, too.

This one’s really cheap. And for you hep cats out there, it also features all the newest and hippest bands of the year, or a good slice of them. At least I think they’re the newest and hippest. I’m kind of out of touch and every record I buy was made before 1995, so don’t trust me about it. In any case, 10 bucks per day is pretty cheap to catch some of these acts. The downside is that it’s curated by Pitchfork, so you’ll have to put up with a bunch of horn-rimmed assholes getting on your case if you try and heckle whatever other horn-rimmed assholes are on stage. Other than that, though, if you’re poor, this one might be the biggest stateside hit of the season, featuring awesome bands like Deerhoof and Xiu Xiu. If you have the time and capital you might want to check it out.

Lollapalooza, Chicago
July 23-24
Headliners: Pixies, Dinosaur Jr, Weezer, The Dandy Warhols, Brian Jonestown Massacre, Cake, The Killers, Arcade Fire, Billy Idol, Death Cab for Cutie, Liz Phair, Ben Kweller, Blonde Redhead, The Black Keys, Drive-By Truckers, The Bravery, International Noise Conspiracy, The Warlocks, Hard-Fi, The Ponys and a bunch more groups of various, but not too various, genres.

Looks like this year Chicago’s really the place to be around the end of July. If you are headed up for the Intonation festival, you can catch this reincarnation of “the big one.” And it has some of the big stars that you love to see, albeit mixed with some major crap like Dashboard Confessional and Arcade Fire. But you’ll get to see Cake, too, so those kind of cancel each other out and leave you with a pretty impressive lineup. Actually, it’s a fucking sweet lineup. The Dandy Warhols and the Brian Jonestown Massacre? Together? Too good to be true! This one, if you have the money, is for real. Rock ‘n’ roll as I know and love it will abound, and it’d be a shame to miss seeing some of these acts on the same bill. This festival should, if it goes well, be like a blissful trip back into the ’90s. Except you’ll have a bunch of hipsters tagging along with you.

Bumbershoot, Seattle
September 2-5
$55-80 all days
Headliners: Devo, Ani DiFranco, Son Volt, Digable Planets, The Decemberists, Ted Leo and the Pharmacists, Billy Preston and more to come.

Ah, good old Bumbershoot. Even though it’s not really ours, as it belongs to those damn Seattleites, it still happens close enough for us to feel a little attached to it. And this is your chance to catch Devo on the last leg of their U.S. tour. They, as of now at least, will be headlining the pack. Although this isn’t the most impressive festival, it’s definitely one to keep a close eye on.