BEST FESTS OF THE WEST

Looking for a reason to get away this summer?

Here is a list of my favorite outdoor music festivals so you don’t have to waste any research time!

Coachella, Indio, Calif.- Rock, hip hop and electronica come together over three days, five stages, and an epic campground. 2011 Headliners include Jimmy Cliff & Tim Armstrong, Mazzy Star, The Black Keys, The Shins, Squeeze, Bon Iver and Florence + the Machine. Mid-April. You missed this one but tickets are already on sale for 2013.

Sasquatch Music Festival, The Gorge near Seattle, Wash.- The premiere rock/alternative indie music fest. Camp out all three days so you don’t miss a beat from up and coming artists. There’s also a comedy tent that morphs into a dance party late at night for you and your 25,000 friends. Don’t miss Pretty Lights, The Roots, Tenacious D, and Beck. Memorial Day Weekend.

Desert Rocks Music Festival, Green River, UT –  a 4-day camping event in the red rock desert. Expect socially responsible bands, speakers, DJ’s, performers, venders, artists, workshops, and films that have a positive message. The Wailers, Elephant Revival, Chali 2na and The House of Vibe, Holy Water Buffalo, Scenic Byway and more. June 7-10, 2012.

Groovefest American Music Festival, Cedar City, Utah- A five-day festival dedicated to American music; that’s blues and folk, bluegrass and country, Western, Americana, jazz, and jam. June 19-24, 2012.

Telluride Bluegrass Festival, Telluride, Colo.- Woodstock of the West. Four days of bluegrass-based acoustic music that’s been going strong for nearly 40 years. Peter Rowan, Béla Fleck, Edgar Meyer, Tim O’Brien, and Sam Bush are regulars. Kids get their own tent and music at the back and late night concerts at local clubs throughout town rock after the field winds down. June 21-24, 2012.

High Sierra Music Festival, Quincy, Calif.- The eclectic sounds of jazz, newgrass, bluegrass, jam bands, funk, electronica and world music can be heard about 80 miles north of Reno, Nev., There are also workshops, classes, and family-oriented activities.  Matisyahu, Built To Spill, Kids These Days, Ben Harper, Galactic, STS, July 5-8, 2012.

Targhee Fest, Alta, Wyo.- Family friendly rock fest framed by the Tetons. Toots and the Maytals, Trigger Hippy featuring: Joan Osborne & Jackie Greene, Drive By Truckers, JJ Grey & Mofro and more are scheduled to perform. July 13-15, 2012.

Northern Rockies Folk Festival Hailey, Idaho-  Two-day show jam-packed with local Wood River Valley talent as well as national acts playing everything from rock, folk, and Zydeco to Americana and country. Up-and-coming bands with local ties, and student musicians, get 15-minutes on stage during set changes.  Aug.3-4, 2012.

Outside Lands, Golden Gate Park, Calif.- Launched by the people who created Bonnaroo, this mainstream (think Further, Levon Helm, Social Distortion, Slightly Stoopid), 2-day celebration of music, food, wine and art brings together more than 70,000 people. Aug.10-12, 2012.

Bumbershoot Arts and Music Festival, Seattle, Wash.-  250 performers at over 20 unique indoor and outdoor venues. There’s music, comedy, film, performing and visual arts, dance, theatre, and events for the kids. Labor Day Weekend.

Austin City Limits, Austin, TX- Book your hotel or campsite early. Austin’s version of Bonnaroo draws crowds around 100,000. This three-day American music event draws artists from the Flaming Lips to the Eagles. Kids under 10 get in free and have their own “Kiddie Limits” event- crafts, sand play, School of Rock workshops, DrumZone and rocker hairdos. Oct. 12-14, 2012.

For a fairly complete list of festivals worldwide, check out MusicFestivalJunkies.com.

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