BONNAROO MUSIC & ARTS FESTIVAL
A farm in Manchester, Tennessee
DRIVE TIME: 6 1/2 hours
PERFORMERS: Elton John, Kanye West, Jack White, Vampire Weekend, Skrillex, Artic Monkeys, Frank Ocean, Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds and more
SUMMARY: The long-running affair boasts a better, more diverse lineup than similarly celebrated events like Coachella and Lollapalooza. This is hands-down the gold standard in stateside summer music festivals.
June 25-29, July 1-6
DRIVE TIME: 7 hours
COST: $17 general admission, and much, much more for Marcus Amphitheatre headliners (Lady Gaga tickets, for example, run upwards of $120)
PERFORMERS: Lady Gaga, Outkast, Bruno Mars, Brad Paisley, Dave Matthews Band, Usher and more
SUMMARY: The biggest, broadest music festival in the world has a little something for everyone. Pro tip: Skip the pricy headliners at Marcus Amphitheatre and stick to the grounds stages, where artists like Arctic Monkeys, Nas and Phantogram can be seen for a relative pittance.
PITCHFORK MUSIC FESTIVAL
Union Park, Chicago
DRIVE TIME: 5 1/2 hours
COST: $60 single day tickets
PERFORMERS: Beck, Neutral Milk Hotel, Kendrick Lamar, Giorgio Moroder, St. Vincent and more
SUMMARY: The expertly curated fest, hosted by the love-em-or-hate-em tastemakers at pitchfork.com, returns for another go-round with a lineup heavy on hip-hop (Lamar, Death Grips, Danny Brown, Earl Sweatshirt and so on).
Waterfront Park, Louisville
DRIVE TIME: 3 hours
PERFORMERS: Outkast, Spoon, Twenty One Pilots, Action Bronson, Against Me! and more
SUMMARY: Forecastle, which takes over the Louisville waterfront for a weekend each summer, is noteworthy for several reasons, but perhaps none more so than the fact this year’s iteration is the closest reunited Atlanta hip-hop duo Outkast will be to Columbus — barring any FMMF-related surprises.
MIDPOINT MUSIC FESTIVAL
Various venues, Cincinnati
DRIVE TIME: 2 hours
PERFORMERS: Afghan Whigs, Deafheaven, Sun Kil Moon, Panda Bear, EMA and more
SUMMARY: While much of the lineup impresses (EMA! Sun Kil Moon! Deafheaven!), the main attraction remains the opportunity to see Afghan Whigs return to its old stomping grounds with a sure-to-be-epic headlining turn.