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Festival Face-off

Breaking down this summer's overstuffed concert extravaganzas.


Summertime fun with Drake, Alex Maas of the Black Angels, Big Boi, and Rivers Cuomo.  

Best Coast.  

B.O.M.B. Fest
Two days of not-for-profit entertainment mingling big names with unknowns.
When: May 28–29
Where: Comcast Theatre, Hartford, CT
Risk Heatstroke For: Weezer headlining one night, Snoop Dogg the other, Wiz Khalifa and Best Coast sprinkled in for good measure.
Getting There: Difficult. Unless you have access to a car or are willing to pay for a taxi from the train station, you're pretty much out of luck. Although, hitchiking is an option.
Price Gouging: Medium. A two-day general-admission pass starts at $99, but add in transportation and having to buy all food on the premises, and the cost escalates quickly.
They Stand for Something: The acronym is for "Bring Our Music Back," referring to the healthy dose of local bands on the lineup.

Lil Wayne.  

Hot 97 Summer Jam
The radio station’s annual bacchanalia for hip-hop heads.
When: June 5
Where: Meadowlands Stadium, East Rutherford, NJ
Risk Heatstroke For: Big (male) contenders: Lil Wayne, Drake, Rick Ross, Waka Flocka Flame, etc., etc.
Getting There: Medium difficulty. You'll need to take a train or bus, or drive it if you've got it.
Price Gouging: Tickets are actually a steal for this lineup, starting at $45. But don't forget to add in transportation costs.
Beef Potential: Sadly, low. But with Chris Brown and Drake on the lineup, you may catch a catfight or two among the teen gals in the crowd.


Northside Festival
The L Magazine's Diet SXSW, bringing over a hundred bands to north Brooklyn.
When: June 16–19
Where: McCarren Park, pretty much every bar in Williamsburg, and one church in Greenpoint.
Risk Heatstroke For: Guided by Voices’ “classic” lineup, Mount Eerie, and the peripatetic Beirut.
Getting There: Easy. The L train effectively becomes a festival shuttle.
Price Gouging: Low. Advance badges run for $70, while tickets to individual shows range from $8 to $35.
They Love the Nineties: Guided by Voices won’t be the only band representing the decade before last: Performing as Deervana, Providence’s Deer Tick will play a full set of Nirvana covers at Brooklyn Bowl.

Billy Bragg.  

Clearwater Music Festival
Two days in picturesque Hudson Valley at Pete Seeger's annual music and environmental fund-raiser.
When: June 18–19
Where: Croton Point Park, Croton-on-Hudson, NY
Risk Heatstroke For: Pete Seeger, Arlo Guthrie, Billy Bragg, and Suzanne "Luka" Vega.
Getting There: Low Hassle. MetroNorth has a package with a discount round-trip fare, plus a free shuttle to and from the festival.
Price Gouging: Low. A single-day pass is $60, but dig out the tent for the best deal: a full weekend and camping pass for $140.
Come Sail Away: Concertgoers can purchase a supplemental ticket for a scenic boat ride on Haverstraw Bay, or try their hand at kayaking.


The Village Voice moves its popular indie Siren Fest north and re-christens it after the speed of the East River.
When: July 16
Where: South Street Seaport
Risk Heatstroke For: Black Angels, Davila 666, Obits, and Oberhofer.
Getting There: Easy! Just a subway ride away. Or, if the weather's nice, walk.
Price Gouging: Nonexistent! (It's free.) Save your cash for sno-cones or "I heart NY" T-shirts from the Seaport mall.
Don't Forget Elbow Pads: The Seaport tends to get insane when crowded (anyone remember the Drake/Hanson fiasco?), so show up early to grab a good spot, with an easy exit route should things get dicey.

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