4 Summer Festivals You Can’t Miss In 2016

summer festivals

What could be more fun than a weekend of portable toilets and $10 bottled water?

Did I mention that you might also get to sleep outside, rain or shine? The season for summer festivals is here, and there’s only one reason we go—to have a blast! Concert-goers wouldn’t put up any of the potential headaches that come with summer festivals if they weren’t so much dang fun. Here is a quick list of upcoming fests as well as tips and tricks to make sure you get through them all with a smile from ear to ear.

Lollapalooza, one of the biggest summer festivals
Credit: EMR

Lollapalooza (Chicago, IL; July 28–31, 2016)

For music lovers of a certain age, Lollapalooza was their first concert. In the 90’s, Lollapalooza (founded by Perry Farrell of Jane’s Addiction) was a tour comprising a who’s who of the worlds of alternative rock, punk, pop, hip hop, and even heavy metal. Since settling down as a Chicago festival in 2005, Lollapalooza has continued to feature seemingly every artist under the sun—including The Smashing Pumpkins, Rage Against the Machine, Eminem, Lady Gaga, Kanye West, Nine Inch Nails, and Björk just to name a microscopic cross section. Best of all, without the grueling maelstrom of coordinating dozens of touring acts, the festival now brings even more impressive lineups to the annual 3-day event at Chicago’s Grant Park.

Lollapalooza, one of the biggest summer festivals
Credit: swimfinfan

If you go:

Chicago’s Grant Park is pressed up against Lake Michigan, in the dead center of Chicago. This is a serious metropolitan city with two major airports and an abundance of cabs and Ubers, not to mention great public transit. In other words, you can stay practically anywhere in the city and get to the festival without much fuss.

With over half a dozen stages going on at any given time, Lollapalooza is one of the largest summer festivals around. Check the schedule to make sure you don’t miss your favorite bands. But don’t freak out if you end up hearing music you hate. The super short festival sets mean lots of variety. You might even find a new favorite band. Also, be sure to check the list of what is and is not allowed. Because this is such a massive festival in a major city, the rules can be somewhat restrictive.

2016 Acts You Don’t Want to Miss:

Radiohead, Red Hot Chili Peppers, J. Cole, Lana Del Ray, Future, LCD Soundsystem, The 1975, and literally countless other acts.

The Newport Folk Festival, one of the biggest summer festivals
Credit: digboston

Newport Folk Festival (Newport, RI; July 22–24, 2016)

The historic and socially conscious Newport Folk Festival dates back to 1959. This granddaddy of summer festivals might be best known for its 1965 fest when headliner Bob Dylan “went electric” by playing with a backing band that included an electric guitarist. Six years later, the festival went under because of waning interest in folk, only to be resuscitated in 1985. The Newport Folk Festival has been held at Fort Adams State Park every summer since. Recent festival lineups have included everyone from iconic folk legends like Joan Baez, Pete Seeger, and Arlo Guthrie, to contemporary folk-inspired artists like Fleet Foxes and Jeff Tweedy.

The Newport Folk Festival, one of the biggest summer festivals
Credit: Weekly Dig

If you go:

Newport, RI is 1.5 hours from Boston and 3.5 hours from New York. Because this is an especially socially conscious festival, the organizers have gone out of their way to make rideshares available. (Check the website for more details on this closer to the event.) There’s also a water shuttle that transports folks to and from downtown Newport.

There is no camping at the state park, but there are multiple campgrounds within a 20-minute drive. You can’t BYOB, but there are plenty of fine adult beverages that can be purchased on site with tokens. Since this is a daytime only event, bring a hat and sunscreen.

2016 Must See Acts:

Flight of the Conchords, Norah Jones, Edward Sharpes and the Magnetic Zeros, Ray LaMontagne, Graham Nash, Middle Brother, and much, much more.

Bonnaroo, one of the biggest summer festivals
Credit: Shannon McGee