By Laurie Jo Miller Farr
Which summer music festivals are you going to attend? Beyonce has already headlined Coachella in April, but there’s lots more to come during the summer of ’18. Five of America’s best and biggest annual summer music festivals convene between Memorial Day and Labor Day in five different states right across the country.
Governors Ball Music Festival
Randall’s Island Park
New York, NY 10035
Dates: June 1 through June 3, 2018
Get to this music festival on a ferry. The eighth edition of this New York City event is headlining Eminem for the first time in this city since 2010. Also headlining are Jack White and Travis Scott with a lineup to include Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Halsey, N.E.R.D, Khalid, Chvrches, The Gaslight Anthem, Post Malone, Diplo and Mark Ronson (AKA Silk City), Lil Uzi Vert, Damian “Jr. Gong” Marley, Cut Copy, Sylvan Esso, Galantis, Maggie Rogers, Russ, 6lack, DRAM, 2 Chainz, Kelela, Vic Mensa, and Third Eye Blind. All in all, the three-day festival features 65 artists plus a stellar lineup of food, craft beer, and cocktails plus grassy lawn activities such as lawn games, mini golf, and more. General admission tickets for single-day admission are on sale from $115. Upgrade to VIP, VIP-plus, platinum or suites & cabanas.
627 Campground Road
Manchester, TN 37355
Dates: June 7 through June 10, 2018
Sixty-five miles northwest of Nashville on a 700-acre farm, it’s a Burning Man offshoot or a Woodstock-esque event, depending on who you talk to, that attracts about 80,000 fans. Long considered one of the country’s best music festivals, a list of who has performed in past years is a litany of musical genius from Bob Dylan to Paul McCartney to James Brown. Who’s playing in the 17th edition in 2018? Eminem, The Killers, Muse, Future, Bassnectar, Sturgill Simpson, Bon Iver, Khalid, Paramore, Kaskade, Alt-J, Dua Lipa, Sheryl Crow, Anderson Paak & the Free Nationals, Sylvan Esso, and more. Besides music, dust, heat and crowds, festival goers get a mini film festival, a beer garden, silent disco and plenty of good southern grub. Tickets went on sale in January, ranging from $299.50 to a whopping $12,750.
200 N. Harbor Drive
Milwaukee, WI 53202
Dates: June 27 through July 8, 2018
The amphitheater main stage already has tickets on sale for headliners Blake Shelton, James Taylor & Bonnie Raitt, Imagine Dragons, Dave Matthews Band, Shawn Mendes, Arcade Fire, Journey & Def Leppard, J. Cole, Halsey & Logic and Florida Georgia Line. More lineup announcements are being posted on the website this spring. Going strong in its 51st year and dubbed “The World’s Largest Festival,” nearly one million festival goers will experience Summerfest 2018 on the 75-acre Henry Maier Festival Park along the lakefront in Milwaukee. We’re talking 800 acts on 11 stages totaling more than 1,000 performances from noon to midnight every day except July 2. Single day weekday admission to the all the activities within the festival grounds, excluding the amphitheater shows, is as low as $9 per day (seniors and kids) or $14 per day (adults).
Chicago, IL 60601
Dates: Aug. 2 through Aug. 5, 2018
Lollapalooza takes over Chicago’s front yard on 115 acres of Grant Park between downtown Chicago and Lake Michigan. It’s a four-day epic, urban showcase for both big name and emerging bands in genres including alternative rock, heavy metal, punk rock, hip hop, and electronic music plus dance, comedy and craft booths. There are 170 performances on eight stages from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Thursday through Sunday with 2018 headliners each day: The Weeknd, Bruno Mars, Jack White and Arctic Monkeys. A favorite festival since 1991, past years have attracted Metallica, Nine Inch Nails, Foo Fighters, Imagine Dragons, Pearl Jam and more famous acts to the Lollapalooza stages with the city’s famous skyline as a backdrop. Chicago’s best chefs, bartenders, and restaurants make certain the park has lots of food concessions and bars throughout. Tickets options include four-day admission at general ($335), VIP, or platinum levels with or without hotel accommodation, as well as one-day wristbands for each of the three price levels.
Golden Gate Park
San Francisco, CA 94122
Dates: Aug. 12 through Aug.15, 2018
It’s year 11 for Outside Lands where fantastic music is paired with “lands” for great “Gastro Magic” food, wine, beer, cheese, chocolate plus a comedy stage and park-wide art happenings. Concert goers and San Franciscans know that summer in this city means chilly fog, so this is one outdoor summer music festival where sticky heat and humidity is not a problem. As per usual, a stellar lineup is anticipated (announcement comes in early April); past headliners have included Paul McCartney, Stevie Wonder, Elton John, Tom Petty, and Willie Nelson. The music starts at noon on each of three days and continues on eight stages until about 10 p.m. Tickets sell out fast. Look for single day tickets, 3-day tickets, and VIP passes that include lounges, restrooms, dedicated viewing areas at two stages and more. Note that there’s no camping in Golden Gate Park, so parking passes and shuttle passes are also on sale.