The Key's Ultimate Guide to Summer Music Festivals 2016 - Part One - WXPN | Vinyl At Heart
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Over the past few years, the United States and Canada have finally made their mark in a tradition that’s been a longstanding one in Europe: Music festivals. This is happened to such a degree that it’s nearly impossible to keep track of them all. Wouldn’t it be great if someone singled out all your favorite XPN artists and which festivals they’re playing in one spot on the internet?!?!?!

Guess what! That’s exactly what we did here. But there’s a catch: There’s a lot of festivals that haven’t revealed lineups yet, so were only going to give you festivals for the first half of summer for now. A little later on we’ll give you the second half. (Okay, I guess that means the list is in two spots on the internet, but still. You get the point.) Without further adieu, here’s the first part of The Key’s 2016 Guide to Summer Music Festivals.

Florence and the Machine at Governor’s Ball | Photo by Rachel Barrish for WXPN

Project Pabst – DENVER

Dates: May 20-21

What you need to know: The good news? According to its website, Project Pabst will be having four mini festivals this year opposed to just one in Portland, which had been the case for the past two years. The better news? One of these festivals will be in Philadelphia. The Philly lineup hasn’t been revealed yet — nor have the dates — but if its anything like the lineups for the Denver and Portland Pabst festivals, it should be a good one. The other will be in Atlanta.

Notable Philly artists: Baroness

Notable other artists: Nathaniel Rateliff & the Night Sweats, Courtney Barnett, Violent Femmes, FIDLAR, Metz, The Coathangers.

Hangout Music Festival

Dates: May 20-22

What you need to know: Hangout, which began in 2010, features an eclectic mix of pop, rock, hip hop, raggae and alternative. It’s located in Gulf Shores, Alabama.

Notable Philly artists: Kurt Vile & the Violators.

Notable other artists: The Weeknd, Calvin Harris, Alabama Shakes, Florence + the Machine, Ellie Goulding, Lenny Kravitz, Haim, Cage The Elephant, Grimes, Jason Isbell, Leon Bridges, Foals, Courtney Barnett, Silversun Pickups, The Wailers,


Dates: May 27-30

What you need to know: Sasquatch! might have been around longer than you think, as it’s inaugural festival was held in 2002. Located in the middle of Washington state between Spokane and Seattle, Sasquatch! features a pretty eclectic lineup of its own, including lots of EDM, pop, and indie rock.

Notable Philly artists: Son Little, Hop Along, Marian Hill, Baroness, Kurt Vile and the Violators

Notable other artists: Florence + the Machine, The Cure, Alabama Shakes, Sufjan Stevens, Grimes, Leon Bridges, Savages, Ty Segall & the Muggers, Houndmouth, Titus Andronicus, Speedy Ortiz, Shannon and the Clams, Bully.

Mountain Jam

Dates: June 2-5

What you need to know: For those who don’t totally dig the urban environments at Shaky Knees, Lollapalooza or Made in America, Mountain Jam is probably your thing. It’s not to far from Philly either, taking place in upstate New York. To boot, Train will be there playing Led Zeppelin II in its entirety. So there’s that.

Notable Philly artists: Son Little, Cabinet

Notable other artists: Beck, Wilco, The Avett Brothers, Jason Isbell, Courtney Barnett, Gary Clark Jr, Train, The Record Company, Chris Robinson Brotherhood, Houndmouth, The London Souls.

Nelsonville Music Festival

Dates: June 2-5

What you need to know: The Nelsonville Music Festival takes place in the Columbus suburb of Nelsonville, Ohio. Its focus is mainly on indie rock, and features a variety of public radio favorites like Lake Street Dive, Courtney Barnett and Gary Clark Jr.

Notable Philly artists: Son Little, Chris Forsyth and the Solar Motel Band,

Notable other artists: Randy Newman, Gary Clark Jr, Courtney Barnett, The Tallest Man on Earth, Nathaniel Rateliff & the Night Sweats, Lake Street Dive, Diarrhea Planet.

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Bunbury Music Festival

Dates: June 3-5

What you need to know: Bunbury’s fourth anniversary is this June, and to celebrate it has revealed it’s more diverse lineup to date. The festival typically only booked mostly indie rock bands, but this year features acts like Ice Cube, Big Grams, Grimes and Tears for Fears. The festival is located in Cincinnati, Ohio.

Notable Philly artists: G. Love & Special Sauce.

Notable other artists: The Killers, Florence + The Machine, Tears for Fears, Of Monsters and Men, Big Grams, J. Roddy Walston & the Business, Ice Cube, Diarrhea Planet.

Governor’s Ball Music Festival

Dates: June 3-5

What you need to know: Along with Shaky Knees, GovBall has also solidified its role as a heavyweight among festivals over the past few years having booked bands like The Strokes, Jack White, The Black Keys, My Morning Jacket and Spoon. This year’s festival, which takes place on Randall’s Island in New York City, will be the sixth in its history.

Notable Philly artists: Nothing, Marian Hill,

Notable other artists: The Strokes, The Killers, Beck, Death Cab For Cutie, Kanye West, Of Monsters and Men, CHVRCHES, Father John Misty, Gary Clark Jr, Lord Huron, Courtney Barnett, Eagles of Death Metal, Against Me!, Albert Hammond Jr, FIDLAR, Bully, The London Souls, Black Pistol Fire.

Free Press Summer Fest 2016

Dates: June 4-5

What you need to know: The Free Press Summer Fest in Houston has been one of the most up-and-coming festivals over the past few years, and it’s a wonder why they haven’t yet expanded to three days. Its inaugural festival was in 2009, and features a variety of genres.

Notable Philly artists: None

Notable other artists: ColleGrove, Modest Mouse, Father John Misty, Frank Turner & The Sleeping Souls, White Denim, The Heavy, The Coathangers, Leon Bridges, The National, Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros, Violent Femmes, Against Me!, Preservation Hall Jazz Band.


Dates: June 9-12

What you need to know: Bonnaroo is consistently regarded as one of the best music festivals in the world, and this year’s lineup reinforces that. Bonnaroo has only been a thing since 2002, which is kind of remarkable when you think about it. It feels like longer.

Notable Philly artists: Kurt Vile & the Violators, Waxahatchee, Ween, Marian Hill, Steve Gunn, Flux Capacitor, Ron Gallo.

Notable other artists: Pearl Jam, LCD Soundsystem, J. Cole, Dead & Company, Tame Impala, Death Cab for Cutie, Leon Bridges, Grace Potter, Father John Misty, Blood Orange, Third Eye Blind, Lucius, FIDLAR, Twin Peaks, Bully, Natalie Prass, The London Souls, The Record Company.

Firefly Music Festival

Dates: June 16-19

What you need to know: Firefly rose to fame arguably quicker than any other music festival. Having started only in 2012, the festival, which is located next door to Dover International Speedway in Dover, Delaware, is one of the biggest festivals on the East Coast.

Notable Philly artists: Son Little, New Sound Brass Band, Teen Men

Notable other artists: Mumford & Sons, Kings of Leon, Florence + The Machine, Ellie Goulding, Blink-182, Death Cab For Cutie, Tame Impala, CHVRCHES, Of Monsters and Men, Grouplove, Porter Robinson, Fitz & The Tantrums.

Pitchfork Festival

Dates: July 15-17

What you need to know: Pitchfork is like Lollapalooza’s lesser-known-but-still-totally-rad little sibling. However, the festival’s lineup still packs a punch — this year’s even includes The Beach Boys’ Brian Wilson, a huge get for the Chicago-based festival.

Notable Philly artists: None.

Notable other artists: Beach House, Broken Social Scene, Twin Peaks, Car Seat Headrest, Sufjan Stevens, Brian Wilson, Blood Orange, Kamasi Washington, Woods, Neon Indian.


Dates: July 14-17

What you need to know: Pemby, as the festival has been nicknamed, is only in its second year of existence. Despite that, the festival, which takes place in British Columbia (that’s Western Canada for all you people not acclimated to the geography of the United States’ northern neighbor), has already gotten Grade A level headliners such as Pearl Jam and The Killers.

Notable Philly artists: None.

Notable other artists: Pearl Jam, The Killers, J. Cole, Snoop Dogg, The Chainsmokers, Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds, Bully, Ra Ra Riot, Savages, White Denim, Grace Potter


Dates: July 15-17

What you need to know: According to the festival’s website, Forecastle started as a neighborhood event in Louisville, Kentucky. Since then, it’s grown into a massive music festival. This year’s lineup is especially good, as it features lots of XPN favorites like Alabama Shakes, Gary Clark Jr and Ben Harper.

Notable Philly artists: Dr. Dog, Nothing, Alex G

Notable other artists: The Avett Brothers, Alabama Shakes, Ben Harper & the Innocent Crimals, Death Cab for Cutie, Local Natives, Grouplove, Brandi Carlile, Gary Clark Jr, The Arcs, Blackberry Smoke, White Denim, Bully, Speedy Ortiz, The Suffers, Black Pistol Fire

XPoNential Music Festival

Dates: July 22-24

What you need to know: The one you’ve been waiting for. It’s the 10 anniversary of WXPN’s summer festival being dubbed XPoNential Music, and not only is it the festival’s best lineup yet, but if you ask us, it’s the best of the summer. From Kurt Vile to Kississippi, all your favorite Philly bands are on the bill, but also great non-Philly acts like Ryan Adams and Alabama Shakes, the latter of which put out arguably the best album of last year. The festival takes place just across the Delaware River in Camden. If you haven’t been to XPoNential yet, this is the year to go.

Notable Philly artists: Kurt Vile and the Violators, The Districts, Kississippi, Low Cut Connie, Queen of Jeans, Ben Arnold, RoseMary FiKi, Billy Hector, Eliza Hardy Jones

All other artists: Ryan Adams and The Shining, Alabama Shakes, Brandi Carlile, Gary Clark Jr, Old Crow Medicine Show, Tommy Stinson, Chicano Batman, case/lang/veirs, Father John Misty, Colvin & Earle, Josh Ritter & The Royal City Band, Preservation Hall Jazz Band, The Felice Brothers, Femi Kuti & The Positive Force, The Revivalists, White Denim, David Wax Museum, The Suffers, Darlingside, Songhoy Blues, Esme Patterson, Diane Coffee, The Record Company, David Wax Museum

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