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Festival Face-Off

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Catalpa Music Festival
Randall's Island gets its own mini-Lollapalooza.
When: July 28–29
Where: Randalls Island Park; catalpanyc.com
Risk Heatstroke For: The Black Keys, Girl Talk, A$AP Rocky, Zola Jesus, Hercules and Love Affair, and saving the best for last, Snoop Dogg, who’ll perform his album Doggy Style.
Getting There: Easy-Medium. Take your pick: You can drive, ferry, bus, bike, or walk to the island.
Price Gouging: Medium. At $140 a pop, weekend passes are a little overpriced, especially for a festival with so few bonafide headliners.
Skank it Up: High Times will curate a reggae stage featuring the High Times Cannabis Cup Band.


Das Racist.   

Afro-Punk Festival
A multi-culti music fest with an urban skater twist.
When: August 25-26
Where:Commodore Barry Park, Brooklyn; afropunkfest.com
Risk Heatstroke For: Erykah Badu, Janelle Monae, Gym Class Heroes, Das Racist, Ninjasonik.
Getting There: So easy. It's right by the BQE. Also, subways.
Price Gouging: Save your cash for a skateboard; it's free.
But Please Don't Hurt Yourself: Dust off your board for Nike’s Battle for the Streets Skate and BMX Competition. Participants are chosen by video uploads, so throw in some fancy editing along with those kick flips.


Steve Aoki.   

Electric Zoo
An open-air Labor Day weekend beat-party.
When: August 31-September 2
Where: Randall's Island Park; madeevent.com
Risk Heatstroke For:Axwell, David Guetta, Steve Aoki, Sasha, Tiesto
Getting There: A breeze (kinda). You can drive, take a ferry, shuttle bus, or your own feet. Or a bike. Or a Pedicab. So many options! However, note that your bikes are not allowed on ferries or buses, so you gotta pick one.
Price Gouging: Medium. $115 a day or $299 for the weekend.
Kids Will Be Present: Be aware that it's an all-ages event, which means awesome kid-friendly activities like face-painting. Also, they encourage silly hats (but no glowsticks).


Nas.   

Rock the Bells
Hip-hop and you don't stop.
When: Sept 1-2
Where:PNC Bank Arts Center, Holmdel, NJ; rockthebells.net
Risk Heatstroke For:Bone Thugs-n-Harmony, Nas, J Cole, Ice Cube, Dipset, Salt-N-Pepa, Future.
Getting There: Difficult. Gotta figure out how to get to Holmdel, NJ.
Price Gouging: Medium-High. Not because of the ticket itself (a $115 ticket—the cheapest seats—gets you in both days), but you'll have to figure out transportation and where to spend the night.
Bring Your Autograph Book: A $450 VIP ticket gets you a backpack, drink tickets, access to a VIP restroom (which, let's face it, might be worth it), and face time with some of the artists at a meet-and-greet.


Pearl Jam.   

Budweiser Made in America Festival
Jay-Z continues to conquer the East Coast, one city at a time.
When: September 1-2
Where: Ben Franklin Parkway at Eakins Oval; Philadelphia, PA madeinamericafest.com
Risk Heatstroke For: Jay-Z, Pearl Jam, Santigold, Skrillex
Getting There: Slightly difficult, just because of the hassle. Buses and trains are pretty easy to come by, though.
Price Gouging: Not too bad, if you don't consider transportation and hotel costs. If you buy them early, they'll run you $135-175 for two days of premium entertainment. Also, this is a Jay-Z joint, so there is such a thing as a "Platinum VIP Cabana." Who knows how much that will cost.
For Bikers: Congratulations, bicyclists, you're not only keeping it green (and probably have amazing thighs), but there is special storage for your vehicle at the festival once you get there. So bike away!


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