Sounds of Summer – Part II

Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival
June 11–14
Location:Manchester, Tenn. (66 miles southeast of Nashville)
Cost: $224–$249 for a four-day pass that includes camping and parking (except for RVs or other oversize vehicles); payment-plan sign-up available until May 1; no single-day tickets available
Headliners: Bruce Springsteen and the E-Street Band, Phish, Lucinda Williams, Snoop Dogg, MGMT
Crowd vibe: Artsy types, jam-band fans, partygoers, alt-country wannabes, college kids
Hippie-meter: 8 out of 10
Rule: No Silly String
Differentiators: A café, a cinema and a corporate tent for every taste, from MLB’s “Bonnaroo Baseball” (a batting cage) to Garnier Fructis’s “Bonnaroo Salon” and the “Arcade Discotheque” (powered by Xbox 360)

Rothbury Music and Arts Festival
July 2–5
Location: Rothbury, Mich. (200 miles west of Detroit)
Cost: $249.50 for a four-day pass that includes camping and parking (except for RVs or other oversize vehicles, which require a $125 RV pass); layaway program ended April 15
Headliners: Bob Dylan and His Band, the Dead, Willie Nelson, Black Crowes, Ani DiFranco
Crowd vibe: The tagline says it all: “A sustainable camping festival revolution celebrating music, art and action.” I.e., peace, love and fighting The Man
Hippie-meter: 10 out of 10 (Did we mention that the Dead are headliners this year?)
Rule: Your car will be subject to search if you leave the premises and return
Differentiators: A cool work-exchange program called Green Team; you pay for a pass on your credit card, sign up and then show up to work three shifts as a festival volunteer, and your credit card will be refunded at the end of the festival (online registration required; first-come, first-served basis)

Park Life: The City Festivals
Not really into mud and camping? You’re in luck; there are plenty of music fests in cities across the nation, in venues as varied as San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park and Milwaukee’s Marcus Amphitheater. As for cost, New Jersey’s All Points West is on the layaway bandwagon, with three-day passes starting at $199, whereas Milwaukee’s Summerfest, billed as “The World’s Largest Music Festival,” relies on a low entrance fee ($15) for family activities, vendors and small-stage performances, with additional costs for tickets to amphitheater shows. The urban festivals are doing more for kids than their rural counterparts this year: many offer half-priced or reduced fees for those under 18, and Lollapalooza even allows kids 10 and under in free when accompanied by an adult ticket holder.

New Orleans’s Essence Music Festival, held in July, announced its lineup earlier in the year than usual and is seeing surprisingly strong ticket sales. “[Sales are] continuing to outpace sales from this time last year,” festival general manager Joy A. Collins wrote in an e-mail. Then again, Essence does offer what might be the year’s best deal, the Essence Empowerment Seminar Series. Before Beyoncé or John Legend hit the stage at the Superdome, you can spend the afternoon at a nearby convention center listening to Bill Cosby, Steve Harvey, Tom Joyner, CNN’s Roland Martin and Donna Brazile, and others—all at no charge. And in 2009, free is the only price that can’t be beat.

The Big Five
Summerfest: The World’s Largest Music Festival
June 25–July 5
Location: Milwaukee
Cost: $8–$15 festival admission daily; concerts on small stages are included with admission; concerts on main stage at Marcus Amphitheater require additional admission (tickets can be purchased separately through Ticketmaster and range from around $8.50–$85)
Headliners:Bon Jovi, Conor Oberst, No Doubt, George Strait, Asher Roth, the Fray, Judas Priest
Crowd vibe: Teens, weekenders, big-haired Bon Jovi fans, a few cowboy hats and Gavin, Kingston and Zuma Rossdale, perhaps?
Hippie-meter: 3 out of 10
Rule: No kites
Differentiators: A live Summerfest Webcam that allows you to live vicariously through other attendees, if you’re sick or can’t afford to make it

Essence Music Festival
July 3–5
Location:New Orleans Superdome
Cost: $153–$544.50 for a weekend pass; single-day tickets $51–$200
Headliners: Beyoncé, John Legend, Lionel Richie, Maxwell, Anita Baker, Al Green, Ne-Yo, Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings
Crowd vibe: Lionel Richie fans and their kids, music critics, NoLa natives, teens who idolize Beyoncé
Hippie-meter: 1 out of 10
Rule: Standard dome concert etiquette
Differentiators: From 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center, participate in the Essence Empowerment Seminar Series (free and open to the public), featuring Bill Cosby, Steve Harvey, Tom Joyner, CNN’s Roland Martin and Donna Brazile, Bishop T.D. Jakes, Malaak Compton-Rock

All Points West Music & Arts Festival
July 31–August 2
Location:Liberty State Park, N.J. (on the edge of New York Harbor, in the shadow of the Statue of Liberty)
Cost: $199 for a three-day pass (plus Ticketmaster fees); $89 for a single-day ticket; layaway plan available
Coldplay, Beastie Boys, My Bloody Valentine, Tool, Echo & the Bunnymen, Yeah Yeah Yeahs
Crowd vibe: Bridge-and-tunnel crowd, hipsters who couldn’t afford to get to Coachella, music-industry types, indie kids
Hippie-meter: 2 out of 10
Rule: No camping
Differentiators: New York City skyline views can’t be beat.

Dates: August 7–9
Location:Grant Park, Chicago
Cost: $190 for a three-day pass (plus fees)
Headliners: TBA, check Web site April 21
Crowd vibe: Rock-and-roll families, self-professed punks, hipsters, lots of tattoos
Hippie-meter: 2 out of 10
Rule: No moshing, crowd-surfing or stage-diving
Differentiators: Kids 10 and under get in free if accompanied by a ticket-holding adult (no limit to the number of kids per adult—up to discretion of front-gate ticket staff)

Outside Lands
August 28–30
Location: Golden Gate Park, San Francisco
Cost: $199.50–$225.50 for three-day ticket; layaway plan available
Headliners:Pearl Jam, Dave Matthews Band, Beastie Boys, Incubus, Black Eyed Peas, M.I.A., Jason Mraz, Ween
Crowd vibe: San Francisco hipsters, photographers, bearded boys, mod hippies
Hippie-meter: 5 out of 10
Rule: No fireworks
Differentiators: Outsider art exhibit; “EcoLands” interactive elements: watch performers on a solar-powered stage, eat sustainably at the organic farmer’s market, educate yourself on energy efficiency, calculate your carbon footprint.

By Kristi York Wooten | Newsweek Web Exclusive –

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