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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

Hot summer festivals, cool fall concerts

Published: March 16, 2007
Section: Arts, Etc.

Seeing one band perform live for one night is a treat in itself, but to see several dozen groups over a period of multiple days is an entirely new experience. As the weather gets warm, festival season hits its peak. The several festivals being offered this year around the U.S. and Canada will give fans the opportunity to take in a combination of new groups, established headliners, and even old acts returning only to play as part of a festival. Here is a look at some of the upcoming festivals across the country that promise to be quite the experience, although some might require a bit of driving and planning ahead for the Brandeis student.

Empire Polo Field
81-800 Avenue 51
Indio, CA 92201
April 27-29

Set in the hot California heat a bit east of Los Angeles, Coachella attracted around 60,000 people during each of its three days last year. The festival has attracted a hotbed of talented artists since 1999, with Bjork, Arctic Monkeys, Sonic Youth, the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Interpol, Of Montreal, Arcade Fire, and even a reformed Rage Against the Machine. After splitting up in 2000, Rage Against the Machine will make their first appearance reunited and should be the weekends biggest draw. The drawback concerning Coachella is the sheer difficulty in finding tickets, with three day passes going for upwards of $250. It is also much more difficult to camp on site at the festival than most others.

Manchester, TN 37349
June 14-17

Way out in the middle of Tennessee, since 1992 Bonnaroo has made itself one of the preeminent music festivals in the United States, where camping out is necessary. Running for a full four days, the festival is held on a 700 acre farm with live music running nearly all day. Performing on 13 stages, this years festival will include over 100 bands and 20 comedians. The main stage draws up to an astonishing 100,000 people. Just a handful of the ridiculously deep list of talented groups performing at Bonnaroo includes: The Police, Tool, The White Stripes, The Flaming Lips, Franz Ferdinand, The Decemberists, The Black Keys, Wilco, and Spoon. Comedians Lewis Black, David Cross, and Dave Atell will be performing stand up on top of the already packed four day affair. A four day pass to Bonnaroo is a hefty $214.50, but given how much is offered it is fairly reasonable.

200 N. Harbor Drive
Milwaukee, WI 53202
June 28- July 8

Billed as the Worlds Biggest Music Festival, Summerfest runs for nearly a dozen days on Milwaukees lake front, attracting almost one million people per year. 2007 will mark the 40th anniversary of the event, which features both big name and local acts. Last year featured Pearl Jam, Tom Petty, Nine Inch Nails, Paul Simon, and the Goo Goo Dolls among other artists. Prices for tickets to get in to the festival run fairly cheaply at around $20 per day. Summerfest also includes a number of other activities and cultural events along with the impressive live acts.

Olympic Island Summer Festival
Olympic Island, Toronto ON
Late June

For those of you looking for an excuse to go to Canada over the summer, the Olympic Island Summer Festival is a fairly good one. The festival showcases some of the best new artists from Canada, along with some other big names from across the globe. Bloc Party, Broken Social Scene, the Arcade Fire, Metric and Modest Mouse have been some of the headliners to have appeared since the beginning of the yearly event in 2004. Tickets can be had for approximately 45 dollars.

Live Earth
Locations across the United States
July 7

Modeled after 2005s Live 8 and 1985s Live Aid, Live Earth will be a series of rock concerts encouraging the idea of bringing about action regarding global warming. Al Gore has been one of the events chief organizers, while New York, Washington D.C. and Philadelphia are the most likely hosts for the shows in the United States. The shows will be broadcast on several different networks in a similar fashion as Live 8. Performers include some of the biggest names in music today, like U2, Oasis, Sheryl Crow, Fall Out Boy, and the Police.

Siren Music Festival
Surf Ave at W 17th St
Brooklyn, NY 11224
Mid- July

Being by far the cheapest of any of the festivals, completely free, Siren Music Festival on Coney Island has drawn upwards of 100,000 people each year since 2001. Run by the Village Voice, a free publication focused on culture and the arts, the festival almost always brings up and coming artists who have generated considerable buzz, but have not necessarily become mainstream. Siren is basically for an entire day. This years lineup hasnt been announced yet, but the event has in the past hosted groups that include the Scissor Sisters, Spoon, Death Cab for Cutie, TV on the Radio, Modest Mouse, the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, the Shins, Sleater Kinney, and Guided by Voices. All of this while being able to eat a Coney Island dog, and ride the ferris wheel makes this festival a must.

Pitchfork Music Festival
Union Park
1501 W Randolph St
Chicago, IL 60607
July 13-15

Organized recently in 2005 by the popular music news site, Pitchfork Media, the Pitchfork Music Festival is a fairly cheap event at just $45 for a three day pass in the middle of Chicago. Last years event drew over 38,000 people, while Cat Power, Iron & Wine, Clipse and Of Montreal are several of the names to perform at this years festival. This festival is certainly the best bang for your buck, although it doesnt have the sheer star power of many of the others.

Grant Park
205 E. Randolph Drive
Chicago, IL 60940
August 3-5

Lollapalooza is Chicagos second music festival within the span of less than a month over the summer. The concerts, which in the past were several dates across the United States, became a staple during the early 90s as a representative of a generation, but ran into some hard times, even being cancelled because of poor ticket sales in 2004. The festival revived itself in 2005, and is promising a decent lineup once again. Already confirmed are Pearl Jam, The Roots, Clap Your Hands Say Yeah and Daft Punk. The festival is now considered one that brings older, more established acts, rather than new up and comers. Prices have not yet been set, but expect to pay around $150.

Other intriguing festivals to look forward to include the Sasquatch Music Festival in Washington State in late May, the yearly Ozzfest, which will feature the reformed Alice in Chains, which is located throughout the U.S. during late summer, and HFStival in Washington D.C. at the end of May.