Okayplayer's Top 10 Summer Music Festivals
Memorial Day weekend is upon us, people. That means summer is here, when a young man's fancy turns to thoughts of rolling around in a grassy field with some 10,000-20,000 of his closest friends, losing his mind while the greatest bands the world has ever known blow out some speaker stacks roughly the size of the original World Trade Center. Young ladies, too. Can't forget the ladies (the ladies, the ladies). What we're trying to say is: it's Festival Season and Okayplayer is here to run down the best of the best, the absolute must-sees from Brooklyn to Rotterdam, Montreaux to Philly--all listed in chronological order, with artist info, dates and tickets links, your one-stop shop for getting the most musical bang for your young buck. We got a lotta bands to run through and Summer is fleeting, so...Let's go!
1. The 26th Annual JazzReggae Fest At U.C.L.A.
When? - Memorial Day AKA This Weekend, baby! (Jam Day, May 27, Reggae Day, May 28)
Where? - Intramural Field, University of California, Los Angeles
How Do I Get In? - Purchase tickets here or enter Okayplayer & LargeUp's twitter contest to win tix AND a photo pass to be a photographer for a day.
Dude, Where's My Car? - Exactly.
2. The 5th Annual Roots Picnic
Who? - The Roots, Kid Cudi, De La Soul (backed by The Roots!), James Murphy, Wale, Major Lazer, Diplo, Rakim, St. Vincent, The Tune-Yards, Danny Brown, Shabazz Palaces, Quadron, Moosh & Twist, Flosstradamus, Stretch Armstrong, The Hood Internet, Star Slinger, Mr. MFN Exquire, Selah Sue, Kids These Days, Chill Moody, DJ Diamond Kuts.
When? - June 2-3.
Where? Festival Pier, Penn's Landing, Philadelphia, USA.
What More Can We Say? - Top Billin'.
3. Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival.
Who? - Feist, The Roots, Kenny Rogers, Black Star, Mac Miller, Santigold, Childish Gambino, Flying Lotus, Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings, GZA performing Liquid Swords backed by Grupo Fantasma, SBTRKT, Kendrick Lamar, Charles Bradley, The Alabama Shakes, Big Freedia, Janka Nabay, Yuna, Das Racist, Michael Kiwanuka, Aziz Ansari and a whoooole lot more.
When? - June 7-10
Where? - A beautiful 700-acre farm near Manchester, Tennessee.
Why Do I Really Want to Deal with This Madness? - Participants in the Saturday night "Superjam" are usually a closely guarded secret but news broke yesterday that ?uestlove will be heading up the jam committee. As The Examiner reported:
"Questlove is a versatile musician who has collaborated with artists from practically every genre represented at Bonnaroo. His one other Superjam appearance is considered by many to be the greatest Bonnaroo Superjam in the festival's history, featuring not only Questlove but also Ben Harper and Led Zeppelin bassist John Paul Jones. This year's Superjam could cover Rock, Rap, Funk, Soul, or a combination of them all."
Also, did we mention: GZA performing Liquid Swords backed by Grupo Fantasma? wtf.
4. Montreux Jazz Festival.
Who? - Erykah Badu, Bobby Womack, M.I.A., Janelle Monaé, Jorge Ben Jor, Anita Baker, Bob Dylan, Bobby McFerrin, Mark Ronson, Gilberto Gil, Nile Rogers, Pitbull, Tricky, Trombone Shorty & more.
When? - June 29-July 13.
Where? - Au coeur de la Riviera, the village of Montreux, Switzerland.
How Do I Get In? - Purchase tickets here and book a flight to Zurich.
Would Erykah Badu & D'Angelo On Stage Together Have Been Too Much Okayplayer For Switzerland? - Yes. Luckily for them, D'Angelo prevented an explosion by backing out (to play U.S. Dates!--see following entry) and was replaced by M.I.A. Still a pretty sick line-up.
5. Essence Festival.
Who? D'Angelo, Aretha Franklin, Mary J. Blige, Goapele, Charlie Wilson, Keyshia Cole, Trey Songz, Estelle, The Pointer Sisters, Ledisi, SWV, Gary Clark, Jr., Eric Roberson, MC Lyte, Rebirth Brass Band, Marsha Ambrosius, The Stylistics, Robert Glasper Experiment, Teedra Moses, Raheem DeVaughn, Eve, Melanie Fiona, Carl Thomas, Doug E. Fresh and some dude named D'Angelo.
When? - July 6-9
Where? - Louisiana Superdome & Convention Center, New Orleans, LA.
How Do I Get In? - Purchase tickets here.
Is This Real Life? - It's real life: D'Angelo's first live stateside appearance in more than a decade.
6. North Sea Jazz Festival.
Who? - Jill Scott, Lenny Kravitz, Aloe Blacc, Esperanza Spalding, Archie Shepp, Ahmad Jamal, Janelle Monaé, Mark de Clive-Lowe, Oumare Sangaré x Bela Fleck, Ron Carter, Seun Kuti, Vijay Iyer, Van Morrison, José James, Maceo Parker, Michael Kiwanuka, McCoy Tyner, Robert Glasper Experiment, Trombone Shorty, Lianne La Havas and some dude named D'Angelo.
When? - July 6-8.
Where? - The North Sea. No, seriously: Ahoy Rotterdam, Ahoyweg 10, Rotterdam, Netherlands.
How Do I Get In? Buy tickets here.
7. Brooklyn Hip-hop Festival.
Who? Details are still being determined but we know Busta Rhymes is headlining and with a film festival, Salute The DJ and the Bodega Initiative educational component, this joint is never NOT off the hook, really. If you don't believe us, watch Q-Tip's performance with Kanye and Bussa Busss from last year.
When? - July 9-14.
Where? - The Brooklyn Waterfront, DUMBO (New York, New York).
How Do I Get In? - Purchase tickets via Eventbrite.
Where Do Y'all Live? - Brooklyn, baby.
Who? - Jack White, Black Sabbath, Black Keys, The Red Hot Chili Peppers, Florence + The Machine, Frank Ocean, The Weeknd, Santigold, J. Cole, Justice, Bloc Party, Childish Gambino, Little Dragon, Toro y Moi, Dr. Dog, Gary Clark Jr, Aloe Blacc, Yuna + more.
When? - August 3-5.
Where? - Grant Park, Chicago, Illinois.
How Do I Get In? - Purchase tickets here.
9. Rock The Bells 2012.
Who? - NaS, Common, Kid Cudi, Bone Thugs-n-Harmony, Ice Cube, J. Cole, Mac Miller, Wiz Khalifa, Method Man & Redman, Kendrick Lamar, Atmosphere, Dipset, Del, Slick Rick, Immortal Technique, Yelawolf, E-40, A$ap Rocky and RZA (host)--all depending which venue you're attending (get full schedule at rockthebells.net)
When & Where? - August 18-19 at NOS Events center in San Bernadino, CA. / August 25-26 at Shoreline Ampitheatre in Mountainview, CA. / Sept. 1-2 at PNC Bank Arts Center in Holmdel, NJ.
How Do I Get In? Purchase tickets for all dates here.
Why Don't You Rock The Bells Year Round? - More comfortable in straight-legs.
10. Made in America.
Who? - Well, Jay-Z, for starters--he invented the damn thing. But also Pearl Jam, Odd Future, D’Angelo, Maybach Music Group (Rick Ross, Wale, Meek Mill), Rita Ora, Skrillex, Miike Snow, Afrojack, Calvin Harris, Passion Pit, Santigold, Dirty Projectors, X, Janelle Monaé, Prince Royce, The Knocks, and some dude named D'Angelo.
UPDATE: Run DMC, Jill Scott, Drake, DJ Shadow and, ahem, Chris Cornell have all been newly added to the line-up (see the latest flyer after the jump).
When? - Sept. 1-2.
Where? - Ben Franklin Parkway, Philadelphia, PA. (America Starts Here. See what he did there?)
How Do I Get In? - Tickets went on sale this morning at LiveNation.
Updated flyer for Jay-Z's "Made In America" festival