The biggest news of the summer fest season is that Gathering of the Vibes has announced that they are a no go for this summer. Amid rumors that they owe Bridgeport $750,000 for "security" from the past couple of years they will be bowing out. Hopefully they are true to their word and they'll be back in a little bit.
So, in current order of our best picks for Summer 2016:
This one gets an early nod because their lineup is locked in and it's right around the corner!
Widespread Panic x 2
Billy & The Kids
Electric Hot Tuna with Steve Kimock
Bruce Hornsby and the Noisemakers
North Mississippi Allstars w/Anders Osborne
Stanley Clarke Band
4 Day Pass $349 + Fees June 9 - 12
This one is the biggest festival of the fests that we cover. We've covered about 6 'roos, but stopped going as the lineups became less appealing, the prices went up and the number of attendees peaked at 90k! This year we will be covering it because of the announced headliner of Dead and Company to kick off their US summer tour. Our picks for 'roo are: Dead & Co. who will be followed by Ween, Jason Isbell, Grace Potter, Steep Canyon Rangers, Lettuce, Sam Bush. This show is a lot of fun if you're young, have a lot of extra cash and don't mind getting pneumonia afterwards from the tour crud you will definitely pick up at the show compounded by either the driest dirt in the air or the 4 days of rain you will endure. But, 'roo will always have a special place in our hearts from the memories of being younger, with more money and not having a problem getting pneumonia!
MerleFest 4 Day GA $165 April 28 - May 1
Lineup is a classic lineup featuring John Prine, Steep Canyon Rangers, Sam Bush, Peter Rowan and many many more.
This one is the pinnacle show with Jazz Fest by day and parties all over town by night. But if you don't live in New Orleans I don't know how any one human can catch all this music.
4 Day Passes $175 May 26 - 29 Memorial Day Weekend *****berland, MD
One of our favorites year in and year out. Always the best vibe, camping and people along with an incredible lineup with no hidden fees for camping, etc.
Tedeschi Trucks Band, Greensky Bluegrass, Railroad Earth, Bruce Hornsby & The Noisemakers, Sam Bush Band, Yonder Mountain String Band, The Wood Brothers, The Infamous Stringdusters, Jerry Douglas Presents The Earls of Leicester, Keller Williams and SO MANY MORE
will be joining Del and the boys at the 9th Annual DelFest! See Lineup
for complete listing!
Red Hot Chili Peppers
My Morning Jacket
Ms. Lauryn Hill
Gary Clark Jr.
Dr. John & The Nite Trippers
Tedeschi Trucks Band
Preservation Hall Jazz Band
The Isley Brothers
Ivan Neville's Dumpstaphunk with Art neville
Taj Mahal Trio
Like Jazz Fest an event not to be missed. This one includes film, music, interactive and arts. Too much to list here, but worth a click and an explore.
Aug 25 - 28 Tix on sale now $299 4-Day GA
This is our favorite fest of all for the 3 years that it's been run. Peter Shapiro has put together the best lineups all three years of its existence and has managed to keep the pricing very low. The sound system is the other piece of the puzzle that really seals the deal on this fest. Year 1 was the best setup with the stage facing into the raised track that gently lifted the audio up and out of the stadium with the trees as another sound deadener combined with the attention to detail on the amp setups on the 2 stages that ping pong the music giving you just barely enough time to jump between stages. Lastly the camping at Lockn' is really well laid out. We can't say enough good things about Lockn' and we have to throw a huge shout out to Peter Shapiro for putting together a book with Jay Blakesburg's photography that was really really well done. It was a free handout in the VIP and SVIP packages for year 3 and encompassed every band in order of appearance from day one. If you can get your hands on this it would be worth every penny. Early bird tickets to this 4 day fest were only $199 + camping...if Shapiro delivers on the lineup again, this will be our pick of the summer.
Even though Dead and company were not announced we have it on good faith rumor that Dead and Company will be announced after Bonaroo. As well SCI should be added with Phil and Friends.
LOCKN' ANNOUNCES 2016 LINEUP INCLUDING:
PHISH (TWO NIGHTS), WEEN (TWO NIGHTS), MY MORNING JACKET
JOE RUSSO'S ALMOST DEAD (TWO NIGHTS),
CHARLES BRADLEY, BRANDI CARLILE, GARY CLARK, JR., GALACTIC,
KELLER'S GRATEFUL GOSPEL, KELLER'S GRATEFUL GRASS, LETTUCE,
CHRIS ROBINSON BROTHERHOOD, TEDESCHI TRUCKS BAND, TURKUAZ,
TWIDDLE, UMPHREY'S McGEE, VULFPECK, WHITE DENIM
AND MORE TO BE ANNOUNCED SOON
Peach Fest is one of our favorites since its inception because of its lineups and the ability to buy cheap GA, reserved and for a little more you can get that VIP flavor you are looking for. Camping is not the best at this fest, but if you don't mind being bussed in to your spot, then camping may be just what you're looking for. Still waiting on this year's lineup, but it should be out soon.
These festival reviews are from the heart. We are in no way paid to make these reviews.