The Best of Summer Festivals

WRITTEN BY Emily Meadows

Sitting on the brink of March, students are ready to thaw out, liven up and start making those anticipated (and well-deserved) summer plans. But for many music fanatics, summer translates to only one thing: festival season.

Governors Ball Music Festival 2012 / Photo via governorsballmusicfestival.com

Governors Ball Music Festival 2012 / Photo via governorsballmusicfestival.com

The days of coast-to-coast travel to secure your camping spot are long gone, and the mass concert craze has sprouted in nearly every region of the country.

Maybe you want to save some cash on gas, or Bonnaroo just isn’t for you. Whatever the case, you’re no longer bound to Manchester or Chicago for a live, musically packed outdoor experience.

Here’s a list of some of this summer’s best northeastern festivals that may be better suited for you, or maybe just a little closer to home:

Firefly Music Festival

June 21-23, Dover, Del.

Firefly Music Festival 2012 / Photo via fireflyfestival.com

Firefly Music Festival 2012 / Photo via fireflyfestival.com

About a five and a half hour drive from Morgantown, Firefly Music Festival takes place across 87 acres of The Woodlands at Dover International Speedway. Headliners include The Red Hot Chili Peppers, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, Vampire Weekend and Yeah Yeah Yeahs – and it gets better. The festival’s sponsor, Red Frog Events, is teamed up with St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, and proceeds from the tickets benefit their research fund. Last year, Firefly raised $4.8 million dollars for the fund. There’s guilt-free listening you won’t regret.

Notable performers: The Avett Brothers, Passion Pit, MGMT, Dr. Dog., Alabama Shakes

Cost: Final Three Day Pass – $258 (Buy tickets online now)

The Governors Ball Music Festival

June 7-9, Randall’s Island NYC

Located in the heart of New York City, Governors Ball gets you the festival experience without loosing those “taken for granted” amenities. You can’t camp out in the park for this one, but Manhattan is stacked with hotels, and the park is accessible by nearly any form of transportation – except parachuting (per website request). Headliners include Kanye West, Kings of Leon and Guns ‘n Roses. Plus, you don’t have to pack granola for this one. A food area will be set up, equipped with some of NYC’s best food trucks and caterers. Basically, this is festival life in luxury.

Notable performers: The XX, Death From Above 1979, Bloc Party, Dinosaur Jr., Dirty Projectors, Japandroids

Cost: Three-Day General Admission – $220 (VIP Tickets still available from $470; purchase tickets online now)

DelFest

Delfest 2012 / Photo by Jeffry Myers via delfest.com

Delfest 2012 / Photo by Jeffry Myers via delfest.com

May 23-26 (Memorial Day Weekend), Cumberland, Md

Morgantown’s closest mass music opportunity, DelFest is just an hour north off I-68. Held at the Alleghany County Fairgrounds, the folk and bluegrass festival is designed to host a relaxed and family friendly atmosphere. Headliners include festival veterans and fan favorites Old Crow Medicine Show, Yonder Mountain String Band, and Trey Anastasio Band.

Notable Performers: Carolina Chocolate Drops, Trampled by Turtles, Greensky Bluegrass.

Cost: Four-Day pass – $160 (Other package prices still available online)

All-Good Music Festival

July 18-21, Thornville, Ohio

Previously held in Masontown, West Virginia, All-Good is set to spend a second year in the neighboring state. Although it has gained it notoriety for being a jam band haven, the festival has expanded over the years to incorporate funk, reggae and rock acts as well. They won’t be releasing their 2013 line-up until the 26th, but if it aligns with their previous years, fans have much to look forward to. Last year’s headliners included the Allman Brothers Band, Michael Franti & Spearhead and Dark Star Orchestra. And remember – Bob Weir loves this show.

Notable performers: Stay tuned.

Cost: Tickets will go on sale the moment the line-up is released at NOON on Feb. 26

Pitchfork Music Festival

July 19-21, Chicago, IL

Purity Ring at Pitchfork Music Festival 2012 / Photo by Erez Avissar via pitchfork.com

Purity Ring at Pitchfork Music Festival 2012 / Photo by Erez Avissar via pitchfork.com

Yes, the indie web moguls have a music fest now too. Making its second appearance in the windy city, Pitchfork has only announced their festival headliners, R.Kelly, Belle and Sebastian and Bjork. Last year’s fest featured performances from Feist, A$AP Rocky, Japandroids and Purity Ring. It may not seem promising yet, but get tickets quick, because the webzine’s secrecy is only part of its charm.

Notable Performers: Stay Tuned.

Cost: Three-Day Pass – $120 (Individual day tickets are available for $50; tickets on sale now)

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