Now that we’ve outlasted the culturally misappropriated bindi /Native American headdress-donning Coachellans, seen a record breaking time of selling out at Lollapalooza, and as we get closer to Bonnaroo (19 days!!!), we should probably take a step away from the big-ticket fests and appreciate the subtleties of the lesser-known ones:
1.) Fun Fun Fun Fest
Okay maybe not so small, but definitely underrated at the national level. This fest rooted in the heart of Austin, Texas has some of the most consistently perfect lineups of any festival in the country (last year’s still stands in a league of its own). The beauty of FFFF is shown through its diversity—yes Bonnaroo is outrageously diverse as well, don’t get me wrong—but there is something miraculous about a fest that has classic dad-rock headliners like Judas Priest with indie blockbusters like Neutral Milk Hotel and Death Cab for Cutie. Even more exciting is the appearance of Death From Above 1979, a somewhat recently reunited punk duo that has not seen extensive touring. Emo greats like The World is a Beautiful Place… and Pianos Become the Teeth are getting the credit they deserve now as well, what with the emo-revival being in full swing lest we forget a performance by the recently reunited classic 90s emo, Mineral.
Must see artists-
Nas, Girl Talk, Neutral Milk Hotel, Death From Above 1979, Death Grips, Sun Kil Moon
Other artists to look for-
Death Cab for Cutie, Dinosaur Jr., Glassjaw, Yo La Tengo, Deafheaven, Cashmere Cat, Mineral, The World Is…, Pianos Become the Teeth, Majical Cloudz, Run the Jewels.
I’m pretty sure all of us have heard enough about this fest to understand how rad it is. Of course it has a lineup of the quintessential “Pitchfork artists”, but in no way is that a bad thing. Cheap passes, stacked lineup, prime location: this fest is shaping up to be one of the best of the year, I’m a tad biased seeing as though I’ll actually be making the trip up this summer. I never thought I’d be in a place that has a Slowdive reunion show and legendary influences like Giorgio Moroder performing atop the same stage. Although 3-day passes are sold out, if you’re in the area go for a day pass or two, you wouldn’t regret it.
Slowdive, Avey Tare’s Slasher Flicks, Giorgio Moroder, Death Grips, Sun Kil Moon, Neutral Milk Hotel
Others to look for-
Danny Brown, The Range, Cloud Nothings, Jon Hopkins, Hudson Mohawke, tUnE-yArDs, St. Vincent
3.) Fest 13
Nestled in the college town of the Swamp (Gainesville), Fest has become vital to punk culture globally. Attracting people from all nations, Fest (along with Pre-Fest in Tampa) has become a subculture of its own. Even if you aren’t into punk or emo music, if you have the resources and time available do not sleep on this year’s Fest. The keystone band of modern punk, Descendents, are finally having a show on the east coast. Mineral will appear to play a reunion show, punk heavy-hitters like the Melvins were just announced, and more bands are still being announced (American Football?).
Descendents, Mineral, Empire! Empire! (I Was a Lonely Estate), The World Is…, Melvins.
Others to look for-
Dads, Modern Baseball, Into It. Over It., Gross, You Blew It!, The Menzingers, Rozwell Kid, Dikembe, Prawn, Pianos Become the Teeth.
I hope I’m not the only one who would like to think that Pygmalion Fest came out of nowhere this year, not that’s unwanted in the least. Pygmalion may be small, but it sure is dense with talent. The first reunion show of American Football should be reason enough for you to go, but if that isn’t enough, the sensational Chvrches will be performing as well as the black metal greats known as Deafheaven. Pygmalion also offers live readings by many well-known modern authors.
More artists to come but currently:
American Football, Chvrches, Deafheaven.
Others to look for-
Panda Bear, Sun Kil Moon, Real Estate, Tycho.
5.) Riot Fest
Branching away from the traditional punk festivals, Riot Fest has achieved its most incredible lineup yet. Indie greats like The Flaming Lips and The National, meet an entire array of punk bands ranging from Title Fight to the Offspring, and God forbid I forget the one of a kind Weezer to top it all off. Possibly the most unique part of this festival is its album performances. Weezer will be performing the entirety of “The Blue Album”, Slayer will perform all of “Reign In Blood”, Descendents’ “Milo Goes to College” and The Offspring with “Smash”.
Weezer, The Flaming Lips, The Offspring, Descendents, Pussy Riot, Kurt Vile and the Violators, Wu-Tang Clan
Others to look for-
The National, The Afghan Whigs, Wavves, The World Is…, Title Fight, Mineral, The Front Bottoms, NOFX.
I don’t think anything could be more ‘Portland’ than Pickathon. Located on an organic farm outside the city, this fest is packed with indie stardom. Mac Demarco has been making waves lately and garnering a cult following that has lead to his headlining spot for this fest. Other indie stars such as The War On Drugs, Warpaint and Foxygen will be making an appearance. The up-and-coming comedic punks Diahrrea Planet will be hitting the Northwest for this fest as well. I wouldn’t be surprised if we see this on an episode of Portlandia next season.
Artists to see-
Mac Demarco, The War on Drugs, Warpaint, Diahrrea Planet, Foxygen.
*Just don’t see Juliana Barwick (no disrespect but my friend fell asleep on the venue floor to her set when we saw her).
7.) FYF Fest
So this festival got crazy, but still keeping to its DIY roots this festival managed to land some of the best punk acts as well as branching out into an array of multiple genres. In one of the best lineups of the year, Mac Demarco will be here for the indie rockers alongside the pioneering Built to Spill , modern indie-poppers The Strokes, Phoenix and Haim. With reunion show for Slowdive, and performances by Joyce Manor, Against Me! and Death Grips, you have one hell of a fest.
Must sees- Phoenix, HAIM, Darkside, Blood Orange, Slowdive, Mac DeMarco, Death Grips, Joyce Manor.
Others to see- The Strokes, Interpol, Grimes, Built to Spill, Earl Sweatshirt, Run the Jewels, Avery Tare’s Slasher Flicks, XXYYXX (Marcel representing Orlando).