What artists are playing at this summer’s festivals?


photo via eauxclaires.com

The announcement of summer festivals is the best thing to happen in arguably the dreariest month of winter. Between sporadic 7 to 10 minute walks in the cold and long days of classes, browsing the upcoming festivals and their lineups is a great way to unwind and take your mind into a reverie filled with sunshine, good vibes and great company. Summer festivals span throughout coast to coast during June, July and August. Luckily, for Milwaukee residents, the Midwest offers diverse music festivals; the question is, which one will you choose?

Milwaukee in the summer is not to be missed, even if you can only visit for a couple days. There are different festivals almost weekly, celebrating culture and music alike. At the end of June, Milwaukee hosts Summerfest, the world’s largest music festival, a proud title maintained since 1999 thanks to the Guinness Book of World Records. The festival is an eleven-day, eleven-stage event with diverse acts and artistry. So far, the Marcus Amphitheatre headliners announced for the 2015 festival include Ed Sheeran, Keith Urban, Linkin Park and Florida Georgia Line. During the coming months seven more Marcus Amphitheatre headliners will be announced as well as grounds stage headliners. If you aren’t sure about the music offered at the festival, the performing artists come from all genres- pop, indie, rap, rock, country, electronic and R&B-so you can rest assured knowing that there will be at least one band you like. The festival starts June 24 through June 28 and resumes June 30 through July 5. A three-day pass can be purchased for $45 and general admission tickets for $19.

Last October, Bon Iver’s Justin Vernon announced the launch of his new music festival, Eaux Claires Music and Arts Festival, which takes place July 17 and 18 in Eau Claire, Wisc. The festival is about bringing people together and watching art happen. It’s about community, openness and collaboration between the musicians, actors, filmmakers, visual artists and festivalgoers. The event takes an innovative and fresh approach to the typical summer music festival, allowing people to get away to a beautiful, green place to see something ‘different,’ as Aaron Dessner of The National explained. The creation of Eaux Claires was driven by the idea of a festival that “encourages music genre walls to melt away,” explained Vernon. By breaking the barriers between stage and audience, the focus of the event will shift to artistic expression and overall ingenious experience. The lineup includes Bon Iver, PHOX, Sufjan Stevens, Sylvan Esso, The National and The Tallest Man On Earth. Two-day general admission passes can be purchased for $135 and campground prices range from $100 to $300.

Pitchfork Media announced the lineup for their annual Pitchfork Music Festival, which will be held at Union Park in Chicago, July 17 through July 19. The festival focuses primarily on artists and bands from alternative rock, rap, electronic and dance music. This year’s anticipated performances include Wilco, Chance the Rapper, Sleater Kinney, Future Islands, CHVRCHES and Jamie xx. The festival also features art and gig posters from local, regional and national vendors, as well as a record fair organized by a Chicago community radio station. Three-day passes are available for $150 and single-day tickets for $65 per day.

Chicago’s Lollapalooza is set to take place July 31 through Aug. 2 in Grant Park, per usual. Lollapalooza features popular alternative rock, heavy metal, punk rock, hip-hop and electronic dance performances, as well as comedy performances and craft booths. Avid fans will begin to check Lollapalooza’s home page daily, if not multiple times per day in March, eager to acquire tickets at the early-bird price of $75 for a three-day pass, quite a deal considering the regular price is $235. Last year, the early-bird tickets sold out in a record time of six minutes. The regular sale tickets will go on sale shortly after the early-bird tickets sell out followed by single day tickets. The lineup will be announced shortly after the three-day passes are sold out. Last year’s lineup featured Eminem, Outkast, Kings of Leon, The Avett Brothers, Lorde and The Head and the Heart. There has been some speculation about this year’s lineup including Drake, Florence + the Machine, Metallica, Kanye West, Sam Smith and Jack White.

Summerfest, Eaux Claires, Pitchfork and Lollapalooza are a few of the most popular and anticipated Midwest music festivals of the summer. If you like electronic dance music, be sure to check out the lineups for Electric Forest and Spring Awakening. If you love country music, Twin Lakes, Wisc. offers its annual Country Thunder in July, a four-day event.

Aside from Summerfest, Milwaukee has incredible artists performing throughout the summer. Some awaited shows are Imagine Dragons and Pharrell Williams. Because it is only February, most venues do not have concert schedules for the months of June, July and August. As more music festival lineups are revealed in the coming months, choosing a festival will become easier or incredibly difficult depending on where your favorite artists are performing.

The past few winter days have been cold, so do not feel guilty allowing yourself to daydream of the summer music festival ambiance of hot weather, seeing all of your favorite bands in the same place as all of your best friends and dancing until you no longer feel your sunburned skin; a state of reverie that will suffice for now.