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Must See U.S. Summer Festivals

By on April 14, 2011

With Coachella starting this weekend, I know that I’m ready to start thinking about all the festivals coming our way this summer. Of course, most are based around music, but even the non-music fan (who are you?) can be sure to find some great stuff to do during the summer.

Sasquatch

On Memorial Day Weekend, Sasquatch brings an awesome lineup to the George, WA area that includes the Foo Fighters, Death Cab for Cutie, Wilco, The Decemberists, Old 97s, Wolf Parade and Guided By Voices. (I could keep listing and listing with other acts like Local Natives, Modest Mouse, The Scott Aukerman and Paul F. Tompkins Show and Bob Mould, but at some point you just need to click on the link and buy your ticket.)

Wakarusa

The lineup may not be as star-studded at Wakarusa in Mulberry Mountain, AR, June 2-5, though My Morning Jacket and Ben Harper are nothing to sneeze at, but the other activities are mighty nice. There will be carnival rides, a silent disco, a Frisbee golf course and opportunities to kayak and river raft.

Bonnaroo

Or, maybe don't go to Bonnaroo

For a more eclectic lineup, there’s Bonnaroo in Manchester, TN from June 9-12. There’s jam bands like Widespread Panic and String Cheese Incident. There’s old school artists like Dr. John and The Original Meters as well as Robert Plant & Band of Joy. There’s bluegrass star Alison Krauss & Union Station. Then, just throw Eminem in on top of that and it’s like listening to a random playlist on your iPod for a weekend.

Taste of Chicago

For those who feel the most exciting part of a music festival are all the food tents, then maybe you should just head to the ten day Taste of Chicago from June 24th to July 3rd. I know I never get tired of Chicago deep dish pizza and polish sausage, but if you need a break from eating there are also concerts at various venues as the Taste has absorbed four different Chicago music festivals.

High Sierra Music Festival

Heading back to the west coast, there’s the High Sierra Music Festival in Quincy, CA from June 30th to July 3rd. Neko Case and Ween are among several bands that are scheduled to appear at this festival that also has a daily parade and film screenings.

National Frisbee Festival

For those in the northeast, late August brings around the National Frisbee Festival in Washington, D.C. Walk around the National Mall and the Washington Monument and you can enjoy watching Frisbee experts and their amazing dogs.

Burning Man

Or, for those that want to get away from all civilization for Labor Day weekend, there’s Burning Man in Black Rock City, NV. What is Burning Man? It’s whatever you want it to be within this community dedicated to expressing yourself however you want, as long as you keep it safe for those around you.

Telluride Film Festival

As summer fades and the snows are anxiously awaited in the Rockies to signal the start of another ski season, there is a chance to enjoy movies and music at the Telluride Film Festival from September 2nd to the 5th and later music and beer at Telluride’s Blues and Brews Festival, on September 16th to the 18th. If you have the means to hang out for 17 days in middle of one of the most beautiful spots in Colorado, it’s a great time to watch a few movies, see the Aspens gradually change colors as you hike all around and then enjoy some great beers. Then it’s farewell to summer and all of the cool festivals. But don’t worry; they’ll be back starting with Coachella next April.

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About Jason McClain

Jason is an aspiring novelist, which means there is a lot of time to put off writing and watch baseball or go fly-fishing, hiking and traveling. By "a lot of time", Jason means "procrastination."

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