Today, June 20, is the official start of summer, which means the calendar in the coming months is chock full of outdoor music festivals. See the list below for some of our favorites, and we’ll see you on the dance floor (or mud pit, depending on the fest and the weather).
Basilica Block Party | Minneapolis, Minnesota | July 8-10
Last year’s Cities 97 Basilica Block Party lineup was one of their strongest in years and this year is no slouch either. Featuring Ryan Adams, Death Cab For Cutie, Gary Clark Jr., Craig Finn, Cold War Kids, Andra Day, and many more. And as always, the Star Tribune’s local stage has a great lineup as well, featuring Step Rocks, Fort Wilson Riot, and Gospel Machine’s last show ever on Friday, and Farewell Milwaukee, Holidae, and Eric Mayson on Saturday. Tickets and more info.
Lollapalooza | Chicago, Illinois | July 28-31
This year is the 25th anniversary of Lollapalooza and the festival is being extended to four days for the first time ever. With a massive lineup headlined by Radiohead (their only Midwest show this year), LCD Soundsystem, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Future, Ellie Goulding, and more. Some other highlights of the lineup are Chris Stapleton, Haim, M83, Grimes, Leon Bridges, Big Grams, and Kurt Vile (just to name a few). Tickets are unfortunately already sold out, but as the event draws nearer you may have luck finding one for a decent price online. More info.
Hinterland Music Festival | St. Charles, Iowa | August 5-6
In just its second year, Iowa’s Hinterland Music Festival in tiny St. Charles, Iowa (30 miles southwest of Des Moines), has established quite a lineup of Americana/roots musical acts, headlined this year by none other than the legendary Willie Nelson. Ray Lamontagne, Grace Potter, Shovels & Rope, Turnpike Troubadours, Lake Street Dive, Houndmouth, Cold War Kids, Pokey Lafarge, William Elliott Whitmore, Hayes Carll, San Fermin, and Field Division round out the two-day lineup. Tickets and more info.
Eaux Claires Music & Arts Festival | Eau Claire, Wisconsin| August 12-13
After a very successful inaugural outing, the brainchild of Bon Iver’s Justin Vernon and The National’s Aaron Dessner returns to the river for its second installment a month later than in 2015. The music and arts festival once again will feature a headlining set from Vernon’s Bon Iver, who has promised a set of “all new music” this year. Other highlights are Erykah Badu, James Blake, Beach House, Bruce Hornsby (performing “The Way It Is”), Cornelius (performing “Fantasma”), Mavis Staples, Jenny Lewis, Phosphorescent, Lucius, and Vince Staples.
The festival will also feature the only live performance (so far) of “Day of the Dead,” an all-star Grateful Dead tribute that came out last month. The album was curated by The National’s Bryce and Aaron Dessner and features many of the acts on the Eaux Claires lineup, as well as The War on Drugs, the Grateful Dead’s Bob Weir, Wilco, Mumford & Sons, and more, so who knows might show up. Tickets and more info.
Summer Set Music & Camping Festival | Somerset, Wisconsin | August 12-14
In its fifth year, Summer Set has expanded well beyond its EDM roots. Highlights include Skrillex, Chance The Rapper & The Social Experiment, Grimes, Steve Aoki, Fetty Wap, Flatbush Zombies, Bassnectar, Cherub, St. Lucia, Lewis Del Mar, Gramatik, and tons more. The 3-day passes appear to all include camping (at various price points). Tickets and more info.
Summit’s 30th Anniversary Backyard Bash | St. Paul, MN | September 10
The folks at Summit Brewing Company are doing it big this year for their annual Backyard Bash in honor of their 30th anniversary. The all-day event is headlined by Bob Mould, along with sets from Bully, deM atlas, Bad Bad Hats, Apollo Cobra, Nooky Jones, and DJ sets by Hotpants DJs. We image there will also be a special beer or two on tap, as well. Tickets and more info.
Riot Fest and Carnival | Chicago, Illinois | September 16-18
In just a few years, Riot Fest has become one of the best and most diverse festivals in America. The biggest news of this year’s lineup is a reunion of the classic lineup of The Misfits, along with Ween, Morrissey, Rob Zombie (performing White Zombie’s “Astro Creep 2000”), Social Distortion (performing “White Light, White Heat, White Trash”), Nas, Deftones, Descendents, Refused, NOFX, Bad Religion, Death Grips, Bob Mould, and The Hold Steady (performing “Boys and Girls in America”). And that’s just a small portion of the massive lineup. Tickets and more info.
Festival Palomino | Shakopee, Minnesota | September 17
In just its third year, Trampled By Turtles’ Festival Palomino has grown well beyond its Americana roots, and this year is no different. The lineup features The Arcs (featuring Dan Auerbach of The Black Keys), Andrew Bird, Jake Bugg, Frightened Rabbit, Hound Mouth, The Cactus Blossoms, and newcomer Margaret Glaspy, as well as a handful of other national and local acts on a new third stage. The festival will also feature live horse racing on Canterbury’s track. Tickets and more info.
Boats and Bluegrass | Winona, Minnesota | September 22-25
Few festivals sell out before a single act is announced, but that’s the case with Boats and Bluegrass, a family-friendly festival that takes place along the Mississippi River in Winona, Minnesota. This year’s acts include Pert Near Sandstone, Charlie Parr, Horseshoes and Hand Grenades, Hot Buttered Rum, Parsonsfield, and more yet to be announced. And the “Boats” part of the fest isn’t just in the name for alliteration—festival-goers can rent canoes paddle around the backwaters of the river all weekend long.