The Key's ultimate guide to North American summer music festivals – Part Two!

It’s late June, and you know what that means: we’re about halfway through festival season. We’re sure you got fired up at Firefly, danced at Governor’s Ball and shook your knees at Shaky Knees already, but here at The Key, we’re just getting started. We still have some pretty big name festivals to get through, including Lollapalooza, Osheaga, and of course XPN’s own XPoNential Festival (woot woot!). Now that Made In America has finally released its lineup, we can finally get on with part two of our list!

To recap from part one of our Ultimate Guide to North American Summer Music Festivals, our list is comprised of the biggest festivals still to come this summer with important details for each one, including which Philly bands are playing which festival, other notable bands playing, and any other additional festival facts you might want to know. On with the list!

Eaux Claires Music & Arts Festival

July 17-18

Batting lead-off in our list is Eaux Claires, which just so happens to be kicking off it’s inaugural year this year. It was created by folk artist and XPN favorite Bon Iver, who placed the festival in his hometown of Eau Claire, Wisconsin. This year’s musical and artistic festivities feature no artists from Philadelphia. However, with acts like The Tallest Man on Earth, Spoon and Bon Iver himself, you know you can’t go wrong.

Notable Philly bands: zero 🙁

Notable other bands: Bon Iver, The National, The Lone Bellow, Spoon, Polica, Phox, Colin Stetson, Haley Bonar, The Tallest Man on Earth

XPoNential Festival

Dates: July 24-26

The XPoNential Festival is 88.5 WXPN’s flagship festival, and as I’m sure you already know, combines some of the greatest artists from around the world like Courtney Barnett and George Ezra, and mixes them with awesome Philly bands like Hop Along and Vita and the Woolf to create the Philadelphia music lover’s dream festival. The event takes place on the other side of the Ben Franklin Bridge, in Camden, New Jersey’s Wiggins Park, except for the headliners, who play next door at the Susquehanna Bank Center. The year 2015 marks the 9th year of “The XPoNential Festival,” however, XPN has been hosting various music festivals since the 90s, under various names such as The Five Star Night, Singer / Songwriter Weekend, and the (very) short-lived All About the Music Festival (thank God we renamed that last one).

Philly bands: Son Little, Cheerleader, Pine Barons, Vita and the Woolf, Cole Redding, Milton, Hop Along

All other bands: My Morning Jacket, St. Vincent, Grace Potter, George Ezra, The Wailers, Indigo Girls, Courtney Barnett, Lord Huron, The Lone Bellow, The Word (Robert Randolph, John Medeski, North Mississippi All-Stars), Delta Rae, First Aid Kit, JD McPherson, Buckwheat Zydeco, Kopecky, Field Report, Israel Nash, Madisen Ward and the Mama Bear, Bombino, Gina Chavez, Fly Golden Eagle, Lost Bayou Ramblers

Newport Folk Festival

Dates: July 24-26

The Newport Folk Festival is one of the oldest music festivals in the United States, with the inaugural Newport Folk Fest taking place in 1959. The festival is famous for being the venue in which Bob Dylan went electric in 1965, leading many fans to boo him, accusing the legendary singer for abandoning his folk roots. However, the Newport, Rhode Island-based festival has expanded its musical palette as well, incorporating many other styles of music, including rock, soul and blues, in recent decades.

Notable Philly bands: None 🙁

Notable other bands: Iron & Wine and Ben Birdwell, First Aid Kit, The Lone Bellow, Courtney Barnett


Dates: July 31-August 2

The Festival de la musique et des arts Osheaga, or better known in English as the Osheaga Festival, is celebrating its tenth annual festival this year featuring a stacked lineup of Florence + The Machine, Alt-J and The Black Keys, but not leaving out a few Philly bands like The War on Drugs, Strand of Oaks and Nothing. The festival is one of only two Canadian festivals on our list, taking place in Montreal, Quebec. So if you’re looking for a music experience as well as a great cultural experience, head up to the French-speaking city of Montreal and listen to some good music while you’re at it.

Notable Philly bands: The War on Drugs, Strand of Oaks, Nothing

Notable other bands: Florence + the Machine, Kendrick Lamar, Weezer, The Black Keys, Alt-J, Of Monsters and Men, Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros, Ben Harper and the Innocent Criminals, The Avett Brothers, St. Vincent, Father John Misty, MS MR, Gary Clarke Jr, Grace Potter, Guster, First Aid Kit


Lollapalooza, which takes place in Chicago’s Grant Park, has long been a major staple of American music festivals, along with Bonnaroo and Coachella. This year’s lineup confirms that fact, as Perry Farrell’s festival houses top tier headliners such as Paul McCartney and Metallica. The only Philly band playing this year is The War on Drugs, but with loads of other top notch performers, including Alabama Shakes, Of Monsters and Men and Tame Impala, it’s hard to complain.

Dates: July 31-August 2

Notable Philly bands: The War on Drugs

Notable other bands: Paul McCartney, Metallica, Florence + the Machine, Sam Smith, Alt-J, Alabama Shakes, Of Monsters and Men, Tame Impala, TV On The Radio, Gary Clarke Jr, Father John Misty, Cold War Kids, MS MR, First Aid Kit

Peach Music Festival

The Peach Music Festival is kinda sorta local, taking place in Scranton, Pennsylvania, several hours North of Philly. Every year the Peach Music Festival puts out an impressive lineup of folky/souther/bluesy artists, and with a lineup featuring Gregg Allman, Willie Nelson and Santana, this year’s fest is no different, even if the only Philly artist playing is G. Love & Special Sauce. With such a great lineup playing only a few hours away in Philly’s backyard, why not head up?

Dates: August 13-16

Notable Philly bands: G. Love & Special Sauce

Notable other bands: Gregg Allman, Santana, Bob Weir with Billy and the Kids, Willie Nelson & Family, Warren, Hayes Ft. Railroad Earth, Old Crow Medicine Show, Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue

Philadelphia Folk Festival

The local cousin to Newport Folk takes place every year on the rolling hills of Old Pool Farm in Schwenksville. This year, country icon Lyle Lovett is the big name on the bill – as well as perennial festival player Arlo Guthrie – but you don’t want to miss up-and-coming names Parker Millsap, Shakey Graves and the insanely danceable El Caribefunk from Colombia, who made a splash at PFF last summer. Also, thanks to the Philadelphia Folksong Society’s local co-op program, PFF boasts more Philly artists on its lineup than any other festival.

Dates: August 13-16

Notable Philly bands: Low Cut Connie, PhillyBloco, Hoots & Hellmouth, Black Horse Motel, Cynthia G. Mason, Dylan Jane, Ladybird, No Good Sister, Tin Bird Choir and like 30 others

Notable other bands:Lyle Lovett, Lindi Ortega, Tall Heights, Parker Millsap, Arlo Guthrie, Shakey Graves, Madisen Ward and the Mama Bear, North Mississippi Allstars, El Caribefunk

Riot Fest

Denver Dates: August 28-30

Chicago Dates: September 11-13

Toronto Dates: September 19-20

Riot Fest is the one event in which the crowd will resemble an ocean of jean jackets and tattoos, with mohawk sharks popping out from the waters. This is because Riot Fest 2015, which will take place in Denver (hopefully), Chicago and Toronto, boasts a slew of kick-ass punk acts, like Iggy Pop, The Black Lips, FIDLAR, Against Me! and The Damned, confirming its status as the biggest punk festival on the continent. So be prepared to mosh.

Notable Philly bands in Denver: Cayetana

Notable other bands in Denver: System of a Down, Pixies, Iggy Pop, Rancid, The Eagles of Death Metal, The Damned, The Black Lips, Motorhead, Run DMC, Speedy Ortiz, The Airborne Toxic Event

Notable Philly bands in Chicago: The Dead Milkmen

Notable other bands in Chicago: No Doubt, System of a Down, Modest Mouse, Iggy Pop, New Politics, Against Me!, Rodrigo Y Gabriela, Motorhead, Rancid

Notable Philly bands in Toronto: The Dead Milkmen

Notable other bands in Toronto: Weezer, Rancid, Bleachers, Echo & the Bunnymen, Against Me!, The Joy Formidable, Frank Turner & The Sleeping Souls, Motorhead, The Eagles of Death Metal


Dates: August 29-31

Bumbershoot is an oldie, but a goodie. Now in it’s 45th year, Bumbershoot is boasting one of it’s most impressive lineups of its history, despite an unfortunate lack of Philadelphia presence. But with kick-ass bands like The Weeknd, Ben Harper & the Innocent Criminals and Cake playing the festival, you totally can’t go wrong. However, if you’re gonna leave from Philly for the festival, getting there won’t be easy. You’ll have to transport yourself to the upper Northwest corner of the United States, as the festival takes place in Seattle, Washington

Notable Philly bands: Nada 🙁

Notable other bands: The Weeknd, Chance the Rapper, Ben Harper & the Innocent Criminals, Ellie Golding, Faith No More, Zedd, Social Distortion, Cake, The Airborne Toxic Event, The Melvins, Israel Nash, Mikal Cronin, Minus The Bear

Landmark Music Festival

Dates: September 26-27

The Landmark Music Festival is in its inaugural year this year, located in the nation’s capitol, Washington, D.C. The interesting aspect of the Landmark Music Festival, is that it’s actually for a good cause. The festival plans to raise money for Washington’s National Mall, which the festival’s website claims is in need of $750 Million of backlogged repairs to deteriorating monuments and landscapes, and hasn’t had a major overhaul in 39 years. So if you head down to the Landmark Music Festival this September, you’re not only going to be jamming out to freaking awesome tunes from The Strokes, Alt-J and The War on Drugs, but you’ll contributing to a good cause as well.

Notable Philly bands: The War on Drugs

Notable other bands: Alt-J, Lord Huron, The London Souls, Houndmouth, The Lone Bellow, Ex Hex, George Ezra, CHVRCHES, Band of Horses

Voodoo Music + Arts Experience

Dates: October 30-November 1

Straight from New Orleans, Louisiana, the Voodoo Music + Arts Experience is one of the best festivals of the Southern region. Although it boasts no bands from the City of Brotherly Love, it’s lineup possesses some pretty exceptional acts, including Florence + the Machine, Modest Mouse and Jason Isbell. The festival, or “experience,” as the event calls itself, has been around for what may seen like a surprisingly long time — 16 years. Although this may surprise the casual music fan, it’s no slouch when it comes to hanging around with the best. In the past the festival has hosted loads of big-name acts such as Green Day, the Red Hot Chili Peppers and Metallica.

Notable Philly bands: zilch 🙁

Notable other bands: Florence + the Machine, Modest Mouse, Gerard Way, The Joy Formidable, Frank Turner & the Sleeping Souls, Jason Isbell

Made In America

Dates: September 5-6

Philly’s flagship festival, Made In America, is no longer a newbie as it returns for its fourth year this September, solidifying it’s status as a veteran Music Festival. Organized by the Young Hova himself, otherwise known as Jay Z, this year’s Philly musical extravaganza features a slew of local Philly bands we love like Hop Along, Waxahatchee and Strand of Oaks. It’s also got some pretty bangin’ talent from the rest of the world too though — don’t act like you’re not dying to see Beyonce again for the second year in a row. Speaking of Beyonce and Strand of Oaks, probably the biggest thing MIA has going for it is its uncanny musical diversity. Where else are you going to see artists like J. Cole jam with bands like Modest Mouse on the same freakin’ stage? But the best part of this year’s Made In America? There’s no LA show this year. That’s right Philly! We have Made in America all to ourselves this year, which is how it should be. After all, Philadelphia is the city that made America, isn’t?

Notable Philly bands: Meek Mill, Strand of Oaks, Waxahatchee, Hop Along, Superheaven (who’s technically from Doylestown, but whatevs), Marian Hill, Creepoid

Notable other bands: Beyonce, The Weeknd, Death Cab for Cutie, Modest Mouse, J. Cole, Axwell & Ingrosso, Bassnectar, Santogold

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