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The Blue & Gray Press | October 20, 2018

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Top 5 Summer Music Festivals

by Landon James

It’s that time of year again to stop thinking about schoolwork and graduating and begin to focus on what your plans for the summer are going to be.  Beaches and vacations can be fun, but the real excitement and entertainment is at the music festivals. Fortunately, you’re in good hands and I have compiled a list of the top 5 music festivals to go to this summer.

1. All Good – Marvin’s Mountaintop, WV

All Good is the place to be this summer if you good vibes and cool breezes.  Located on Marvin’s Mountaintop, All Good offers a cool, breezy setting for this summer’s best lineup so far.  FURTHUR, featuring Phil Lesh and Bob Weir from the original Grateful Dead line-up, will be headlining along with Umphrey’s McGee, Widespread Panic, Perpetual Groove, Yonder Mountain String Band, and George Clinton and Parliament Funkadelic to name a few.  However, one of the reasons All Good is at the top of our list, other than the line-up, is the fact that no artists or shows overlap playing times. This means you won’t ever have to choose between seeing Bob Weir and George Clinton. This summer, everything is All Good in West Virginia country.  The goodness starts July 8-11 and 4-day passes are on sale starting at $160.

2. Bonnaroo – Manchester, Tennessee

It’s time to get down with your bad country self and head down to Tennessee for a music festival that has exploded in the past several years.  Located on a beautiful 700-acre farm, Bonnaroo is the host to thousands and thousands of festival goers every summer. This summer, Dave Matthews Band, King of Leon, Stevie Wonder, Tenacious D and Weezer, to name a few, will be taking the stage. The Flaming Lips will be performing their version of Pink Floyd’s “Dark Side of the Moon” the first night starting at midnight. Conan O’Brien will be collecting laughs at the comedy stage in the wake of his untimely fallout with NBC. Features of Bonnaroo include a 24-hour silent disco party located in Centeroo, the festival’s center of activity.  The festival is from June 10-13 and the only tickets available at this point are $250.

3. Coachella – Coachella, California

Coachella has proven to have some of the largest names and line-ups of any other music festival across the nation. For this summer, some major artists include Jay-Z, Gorillaz, MGMT, Muse and even the ever-funky Sly Stone. Coachella oddities include a vintage-styled 1979 roller derby rink called Down and Derby located directly in the campsites! You and 12 friends or family members can also enter for a chance to be a DJ at Coachella. The only catch is your friends and family must run all the equipment themselves. There is an initial $50 deposit for each DJ, but if the show is run 100% by your crew and it isn’t a catastrophic disaster, then you get a full refund and complimentary t-shirt for your fun. The festival is from April 17 – 18 and tickets are $269. So get your tickets and plane rides scheduled soon so you don’t miss out on the fun!

4. New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival – New Orleans, Louisiana

It’s getting close to that time of year where the Big Easy has a festival that lives up to its name. Venture down to the bayou to get a glimpse at the likes of Simon and Garfunkel, The Black Crowes, Lionel Richie, My Morning Jacket, The Allman Brothers, Anita Baker, Elvis Costello and the Sugarcanes, Gov’t Mule, Aretha Franklin, Pearl Jam, Jeff Beck and B.B. King to name a very few.  The festival is from April 23 to May 2 and tickets are $60 at the gate for each day of festivities. So grab a catfish po’boy and head down to the Fair Grounds Race Course to get in touch with your jazz self.

5.  FloydFest – Floyd, Virginia

Just in case you don’t feel like driving too far for your music this summer, Virginia has something of it’s own to offer.  Tucked away in the small country town of Floyd, Virginia, FloydFest will be featuring The Band’s Levon Helm, Railroad Earth, JJ Grey and Mofro, and Grammy-nominated Adrienne Young will be some of the eclectic and energetic music coming to the small folk-laden town.  Floyd will be bustling from July 22-25 and tickets range from $45 to $145 for the four-day weekend pass.  FloydFest doesn’t have the largest names, yet, for Virginia, it is more than enough to make the sleepy town of Floyd wake up for some good folk vibes.