By Trey Brooks
As I type this, it is about 34 degrees outside. Not exactly what we would call summer weather. Nevertheless, the
warming trend has already begun as many summer music festivals have already released their lineups. If you plan
on making one part of your summer experience, you might want to commit now. Ticket prices will be at their lowest,
though not for long as the prices rise each time a tier sells out. In the spirit of major rock events in past, such as
Monterey, Woodstock, Live Aid and the US Festival, single-weekend festivals have sprung up across the nation over
the last two decades. In the southeast, there is a particular variety of major festivals that fall between April and July.
Hopefully, this column will help you decide which festival fits your fancy before tickets become too expensive.
One of the main attractions at many festivals this year will undoubtedly be Outkast. Consisting of Atlanta natives
Andre 3000 and Big Boi, they are one of the most influential hip hop groups of all time, though they have been largely
inactive since 2004. As of now, they are headlining Coachella in California, Firefly in Delaware and Hangout in Gulf
Shores, Alabama. In their heyday, the pair were known for having a unique live performance, and it will be interesting
to see if they can recapture the magic that made them the largest southern hip hop group of their time.
For fans in Tuscaloosa, the best chance to see Outkast and many other artists will be at the Hangout Festival, being
held May 16-18 in Gulf Shores. Hangout’s unique location on the beach makes it one of the most well attended
festivals in the south. Joining Outkast as headliners will be The Black Keys, Killers, and Jack Johnson. Other artists
to watch out for include Queens of the Stone Age, Modest Mouse, The Flaming Lips, Wiz Khalifa, Capital Cities and
Blackberry Smoke.
Probably the most prestigious festival of the early festival period is The New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival.
Jazz Fest, as it’s known for short, has a tradition of mixing local New Orleans jazz and blues acts with nationally and
internationally renowned touring artists. Held over two different weekends in late April and early May, the headliners
this year will be Eric Clapton, Bruce Springsteen and Christina Aguilera. Other major artists include Phish, Arcade
Fire, Santana, String Cheese Incident, Trey Songz, Vampire Weekend, Public Enemy, the Avett Brothers and Robert
Plant. Local acts you should check out include Trombone Shorty and Orleans Avenue, Aaron Neville, Rebirth Brass
Band, Dumpstaphunk and Better Than Ezra.
The boom in summer festivals was due mainly in part to the rise of the jamband scene in the southeast. While some
of these festivals have moved away from a strict jamband lineup, others continue this tradition, and none do it better
than Wakarusa in Ozark, Arkansas. Last year’s event was marred by extreme weather, but the secluded mountain
grounds usually provide some of the best experiences for attendees. The headliners for this year’s event don’t differ
much from previous engagements: String Cheese Incident, Bassnectar, The Flaming Lips, Umphrey’s McGee and
Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros. Other artists include Infected Mushroom, Michael Franti and Spreahead,
John Butler Trio, Dr. Dog, St. Paul and the Broken Bones and EOTO. Wakarusa will be held the first weekend of
There are many other summer festivals across the nation that you may want to look at as well. Coachella, Summer
Camp, Mountain Jam, Firefly, Camp Bisco, Wanee, Lollapalooza, moe.down, and High Sierra are just some of the
many festivals that fans will enjoy this summer. The benchmark of major summer festivals continues to be Bonnaroo
Music and Arts Festival, which will announce its lineup in February. Held in Manchester, Tennessee, since 2002,
Bonnaroo has grown exponentially and became the model for how summer festivals should be run. No doubt they
will put forth a competitive lineup this year.
One note on many of these festivals is the band Sound Tribe Sector 9. STS9 recently cancelled their spring tour due
to band turmoil that led to the exit of their bass player. As of now, it has not affected their summer dates. However, I
would not look at them on a lineup as a guarantee. Hopefully, all will be worked out and STS9 will be back in action
in time for many of these summer shows.
It may be frigid this winter, but you should be picking out a swimsuit now if you wish to attend a major summer
festival. Again, tickets for these will sell out quick, and Stub Hub-type markets will ask for marked up prices. It’s best
to buy tickets from the event website before they sell out, which can happen in a matter of days.
So whether you’re headed to the beaches of Hangout, the bayou of Jazz Fest, or the mountains of Wakarusa, have a

great summer enjoying live music

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