Summer Festival Preview
A survey of the best festivals to frolic to
This article originally appeared in The Tiger on April 25, 2014 | PRINT

There are those of us who know the summer music festival scene as if it’s the Clemson football schedule: that is to say, we know it scarily well. For the rest of us, festival culture is uncharted waters. But now that school’s over, and you’re sitting at home or in Clemson wondering what to do, maybe it’s time to set sail. After all, isn’t summer about having adventures? And what could be a bigger adventure than three days in a field with fellow hippies and your favorite bands? We’ve polled our festival frequenting friends, done some intensive internet searching and careful weighed the awesomeness of lineup against the hassle of required travel distance. So, with that, we bring you a profile of some music festivals worth checking out this summer. Get out and go, Clemson.

Bonnaroo: June 12 – 15 --- Manchester, TN

This yearly music and arts festival is one of the largest and most beloved on the east coast. Like every good festival, there’s camping and a lineup stacked with well-known artists. This year’s includes Elton John, Kanye West, Wiz Khalifa, Vampire Weekend and the Artic Monkeys. A notable difference for Bonnaroo 2014 is the increase in the number of big-name hip hop artists: in years past, Bonnaroo has featured primarily indie headliners like Radiohead, Bon Iver and Foster the People. The change should make for an interesting atmosphere, but we’re not willing to predict much of an audience demographic shift. There are still plenty of indie artists booked, and a onetime influx of Yeezus fans shouldn’t drive out the Urban Outfitters enthused festival aficionados just yet.

Lollapalooza: August 1 – 5 --- Grant Park, Chicago

Though this festival is a bit far away from South Carolina, the hype surrounding it is warrants the road trip. This year’s headliners include Lorde, Foster the People, the Artic Monkeys and Outkast, so it’s a good mix of pop, indie, hip-hop and rock. Lollapalooza is the festival that consistently shuts down a Chicago city block, sells out months in advance and attracts thousands of people. The festival ends up building up its own infrastructure – there’s Chow Town and the Lolla Farmer’s Market, both designed to cater to hungry festival goers. Lollapalooza also aims to be a place for the socially and environmentally conscience with Lolla Cares, a part of the festival that delegates space to organizations that do social good, be it registering people to vote or registering them as bone marrow donors.

Firefly Music Festival: June 19-22, 2014 --- Dover, Delaware

The Firefly Music Festival is completely surrounded by woods – and that’s how they like it. The festival is an intensely atmosphere-focused event. Attractions like the hammock hangout (a place for hammock-ing), the Pathway (a nighttime light show), the Arcade (free vintage arcade games) and the coffeehouse ensure that there are always nooks and crannies to explore between shows. The lineup this year includes the Foo Fighters, Imagine Dragons, Jack Johnson and Band of Horses. Firefly also designates a space, the Treehouse, for up-and-coming bands to have small sessions. This year they’re featuring the Colorist, who came to Clemson in April with the Sperry Topsider Vactionland tour, giving an awesome performance. So basically, we already know from experience that even their small-name bands are going to rock the woods.

Blackstock Music Festival: May 30 -31 --- Blackstock, SC

Summer music festivals don’t spring up in South Carolina often, so when they do, we love to show them the love. Blackstock Music Festival will be kicking off its first year in the appropriately small town of Blackstock, SC – only 2 hours from Clemson. Headlining the festival will be the funk group Galactic, electronica group Papadosio and electro-rock group Boombox. Though the bands aren’t widely known, we did our research and we can assure you that they sound great – more than worth a weekend sleeping in tents. The festival also has an admirable focus on charity – it’s partnered with Nourish International, and for every ticket sold, one dollar will be donated to the organization which aims to alleviate global poverty.

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