Festival Face-Off

Black Lips playing at the 2007 Siren Music Festival.Photo: Courtesy of the Siren Music Festival

Siren Music Festival
The Village Voice’s annual indie-rock bash returns, perhaps for the last time.
When: July 19
Where: Coney Island
Risk Heatstroke For: Stephen Malkmus and the Jicks, and Broken Social Scene.
Getting There: Easy. Just a hop, skip, and (okay, sort of long) subway ride away.
Price Gouging: Nonexistent: It’s totally free! Save your cash for Shoot the Freak.
Don’t Wait Till Next Year: Bulldozers are scheduled to level much of Coney as we know it, and organizers say they’re unsure of what they’ll do in 2009. Don’t leave before letting the Cyclone inflict a trademark-souvenir bruise.

RadioheadPhoto: Mark Mainz/Getty Images

All Points West
Coachella founders do their thing, for the first time, on our coast.
When: August 8–10
Where: Liberty State Park
Risk Heatstroke For: Radiohead, Radiohead, Radiohead! Oh, Animal Collective and Cat Power, too.
Getting There: Not too hard. No general parking is allowed, but you can take the New Jersey Transit Light Rail or, for a more scenic trip, the ferry. In keeping with the environmentally friendly theme, a limited number of car-pool passes are also available.
Price Gouging: On Friday or Saturday, when Radiohead headlines? Low — $89 is a steal for their only local appearance. But on Sunday, when Jack Johnson headlines? That’s a different story entirely.
Opportunities for Self-congratulation: Plenty. Recycling stations will be set up around the event, an Eco Village is designed to connect you with do-gooder nonprofits, and $2 per ticket is donated to Friends of Liberty State Park.

NasPhoto: Peter Kramer/Getty Images

Rock the Bells
Hip-hop festival in only its second year as a touring event boasts a ridiculous lineup.
When: August 3
Where: Nikon at Jones Beach Theater
Risk Heatstroke For: Nas, Mos Def, A Tribe Called Quest, the Pharcyde, and Santogold.
Getting There: Very hard. From Manhattan, you’ll need to take the LIRR and a bus. Or you could drive, which on a Sunday afternoon in August means you’ll be competing with beachgoers.
Price Gouging: Low. Tickets starting at $39.50 are well worth it to see both the Pharcyde and Tribe reunited. And merch prices aren’t inflated, either.
Hipster Quotient: Higher than you may think, now that Mos Def is starring in Michel Gondry films and Santogold has been declared the new M.I.A.

Kanye WestPhoto: Kristian Dowling/Getty Images

Hot 97 Summer Jam
The unpredictable annual radio-rap circus.
When: June 1
Where: Giants Stadium
Risk Heatstroke For: Kanye West, Lil Wayne, Alicia Keys, Rihanna, and Public Enemy.
Getting There: Not too hard. Bus service to Giants Stadium is available from Port Authority, but parking is limited as a result of the construction on the new stadium.
Price Gouging: Medium. Just $40 will get you in, but you’ll be in the far reaches of the venue. Floor seats start at $125. Still, tickets to see Kanye alone could sell for twice that.
Beef Potential: Low. Everyone knows Summer Jam is where you air out your differences (see: Jay-Z versus Nas, the Game versus 50). But this year’s batch, unfortunately, doesn’t look too ornery.
For the Misers: Save your dough and check out the free mini-concert held outside the stadium before the show, featuring under-the-radar artists like Kid Sister, V.I.C., Tyga, and Buckshot.

Warped Tour
Yes, this traveling mall-punk paradise is still kicking.
When: July 26
Where: Nassau Coliseum Parking Lot
Risk Heatstroke For: Gym Class Heroes, Reel Big Fish, Relient K, and Say Anything.
Getting There: Tough. If you’re not driving, the only other option is taking a train to a bus or taxi.
Price Gouging: Low. Tickets are $35, and, while the food might be overpriced, merchandise from the tents is cheap.
Ratio of Fans to Port-o-Potties: 107 to 1
Absurdity of Marketing Tie-ins: Through the roof. You can watch skateboarders on the Vans-sponsored mini-ramps, rock out in the Guitar Hero tent, then register a blog in the MySpace kiosk. Or you could let Truth.com convince you to quit smoking, get autographs at the AT&T Signing Stage, then stop by for a sample at the Monster-energy-drink semi parked on the grounds.

Festival Face-Off