Festival Face-off

Summertime fun with Drake, Alex Maas of the Black Angels, Big Boi, and Rivers Cuomo.Photo: Don Arnold/Getty Images (Big Boi), Anthony Pidgeon/Redferns (Black Angels), Johnny Nunez/Getty Images (Drake), Tim Mosenfelder/Getty Images (Weezer)
Best Coast.Photo: Frazer Harrison/Getty Images

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.Photo: Jeff Fusco/Getty Images

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.

Beirut.Photo: Devyn Manibo

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.Photo: Ian Gavan/Getty Images

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.

Oberhofer.Photo: Cory Schwartz/Getty Images

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.

Patti Smith.Photo: Tim Mosenfelder/Getty Images

Escape to New York
Curated by Brits, Hamptons-adjacent.
When: August 5–7
Where: Shinnecock Reservation, Southampton, NY
Risk Heatstroke For: Patti Smith, Psychedelic Furs, Au Revoir Simone, up-and-comers the Vaccines
Getting There: Hard. For most, August trips to the Hamptons involve some combination of long LIRR rides, congested traffic, and dropped phone calls.
Price Gouging: High. Although, once travel and accommodations are squared away, $275 isn’t a bad price for a sunny weekend with Patti Smith. Plus, the still-secret Sunday lineup likely won’t disappoint.
Complimentary Breakfast: The festival package includes a seat at “the world’s biggest brunch,” where over 1,000 people will eat their way into history.

Vampire Weekend.Photo: Karl Walter/Getty Images

MTK: Music to Know
The indie-rock elite trip to Suffolk County for a second-straight weekend (see above).
When: August 13–14
Where: East Hampton Airport, East Hampton, NY
Risk Heatstroke For: Vampire Weekend, Tom Tom Club, Bright Eyes.
Getting There: Hard. Might be wise to stick around Long Island after Escape to New York and call it a proper vacation.
Price Gouging: Medium. With twenty acts spanning two days, the $195 weekend pass works out to less than $10 a band.
The More You Know: MTK will also cover fashion and lifestyle (F

Dave Matthews.Photo: Jemal Countess/Getty Images

Dave Matthews Band Caravan
The man they call “Dave” rolls into town with an eclectic mix of friends.
When: August 26–28
Where: Governors Island
Risk Heatstroke For: The Roots, Gogol Bordello.
Getting There: Fairly easy if you’re not prone to seasickness. It’s just a free ferry ride away.
Price Gouging: Medium. Diehards will jam their pants at the thought of seeing DMB, Moe., and Dispatch in one place, but everyone else is basically paying $195 to see the Roots.
Double Dave: Get a head start at the New Jersey edition, taking place June 24–26 at Bader Field in Atlantic City. There’ll be a different slate of bands, including the Flaming Lips, Damian Marley, Thievery Corporation, and Lotus.

Janelle Monae.Photo: C Flanigan/Getty Images

Afro-Punk Festival
A multi-culti music fest with an urban skater twist.
When: August 27–28
Where: Commodore Barry Park, Fort Greene, Brooklyn
Risk Heatstroke For: Cee Lo Green, Santigold, Janelle Monae, Tori Y Moi, Reggie Watts.
Getting There: A breeze. The park is near the BQE, as well as easily accessible by subway.
Price Gouging: None to report–both days are free of charge.
Kick, Push: Dust off your board for Nike’s Battle for the Streets Skate and BMX Competition. Or, for the injury-averse, ogle the Skate Artwall, a large mural composed of over 300 painted skateboards.

Lauryn Hill. Photo: Andrew H. Walker/Getty Images for the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research

Rock the Bells
The annual convocation of hip-hop legends and the rising artists who love them, this year hosted by Wu-Tang’s RZA.
When: September 2
Where: Governors Island
Risk Heatstroke For: Classic albums performed live by their creators: Lauryn Hill (doing The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill), Nas (Illmatic), Wu-Tang’s top graduates, Mos Def and Talib Kweli (reuniting as Black Star), and, somehow, even more.
Getting There: Easy. Tell the ferry captain to find the sea of fans going bonkers.
Price Gouging: Prices will be announced in early June.
Class Act: Fans of NBC’s Community know Donald Glover as Troy, but at Rock the Bells he’ll be Childish Gambino, a skilled (if slightly neurotic) rapper fond of pop-culture references.

Battles.Photo: MJ Kim/Getty Images

All Tomorrow’s Parties Presents I’ll Be Your Mirror
The American edition of the famed British event, this time around curated by Portishead.
When: September 30–October 2
Where: Paramount Theatre, Berkeley Hotel, and Asbury Lanes, all in Asbury Park, NJ.
Risk Heatstroke For: Neutral Milk Hotel’s Jeff Mangum, Ultramagnetic M.C.s, Battles, Portishead.
Getting There: Medium. Catch a New Jersey Transit train from Penn Station to Asbury Park station, where there’ll be shuttle buses going to and from the venues.
Price Gouging: Medium. A $249 three-day pass covers everything but the sold-out main draw, so seeing the elusive Mangum perform will require some strategic bargaining with scalpers.
Graffiti Rock: Shepard Fairey designed the festival poster; he’ll also be the resident D.J. on Saturday.

Girl Talk.Photo: Katie Stratton/Getty Images

The Governors Ball
A dance-party oasis featuring two stages of hip-hop and electronic indie.
When: June 18
Where: Governors Island
Risk Heatstroke For: A sweaty good time, featuring Big Boi, Girl Talk, and People Under the Stairs.
Getting There: Head to the high seas, er, rivers: Ferry rides will be running from both lower Manhattan and Brooklyn Bridge Park throughout the day.
Price Gouging: Medium. With the eclectic grouping, the potential for impromptu collaborations automatically justifies the $95 admission.
Rock and Jock: Sporty attendees will be pleased to find outdoor basketball courts, beach volleyball, Ping-Pong tables courtesy of SPiN New York, and an official World Series of Beer Pong tournament, which is a thing.

Digitalism.Photo: Gary Wolstenholme/Redferns

A sweaty affair for serious beatheads.
When: August 20
Where: Terminal 5
Risk Heatstroke For: Don’t! Get down to Digitalism, Switch, and Designer Drugs in air-conditioned bliss.
Getting There: Easy. A number of subways will get you within strolling distance.
Price Gouging: Low. Entry is only $35, and you won’t need to spring for sunblock.
No Apologies: Rain, thunder, and who knows what else disrupted M.I.A.’s set at last year’s Hardfest on Governors Island, but this year’s indoor setting will ensure unimpeded raucousness.

D.J. Snoopadelic.Photo: Ade JohnsonAFP/Getty Images

Electric Zoo
Supplying pulsing beats for your open-air Labor Day weekend.
When: September 2–4
Where: Randall’s Island Park
Risk Heatstroke For: If you live for the dance you can’t do any better than Tiesto, David Guetta, and Armin Van Buuren. Not to mention Moby, Chromeo, and D.J. Snoopadelic (yes, that is who you think it is).
Getting There: Between the ferry, the bus, and even an option of walking over a footbridge, getting there is a snap.
Price Gouging: Medium. A three-day marathon pass is $249. But sadly, you’re not allowed to bring glowsticks.
For the Kids: Festival organizers are encouraging little ones, with face and body painting offered on site.

Vision Festival
A weeklong event incorporating film, critical panels and live music and dance performance.
When: June 5–11
Where: Various venues, mostly Abrons Arts Center.
Risk Heatstroke For: Peter Brötzmann, whose lifetime achievement is being celebrated this year.
Getting There: Just a short promenade from the subway.
Price Gouging: Low. Tickets are $30 a day with a full week’s pass only $140.
Or Save Your Cash: On June 10 there will be a free outdoor performance at the Campos Plaza Playground, featuring the Gerald Cleaver & Campos Youth Ensemble.

Peter Brotzmann.Photo: Michael Hofner

Undead Jazzfest
The sophomore year for the four-day two-borough jazz and experimental bacchanalia.
When:June 23–26
Where: Eleven venues over Manhattan and Brooklyn
Risk Heatstroke For: Tar Baby, the Duet Night at Bell House, Doomsayer, Genesis Breyer P-Orridge, and Marc Ribot.
Getting There: So easy! Each of the venues is accessible by subway.
Price Gouging: Cheap. A festival pass will barely make a dent at $50.
Wear Comfortable Shoes There’s no main stage at this festival, so you’ll want to be equipped to travel easily.

Archie Shepp.Photo: Eric Cabanis/AFP/Getty Images

Charlie Parker Jazz Fest
A free, two-day SummerStage jam with noted—and sometimes rarely seen—jazz masters
When: August 27–28
Where:Marcus Garvey Park (27th); Tompkins Square Park (28th).
Risk Heatstroke For: James Carter and esteemed saxophonist Archie Shepp, whose appearances in these parts are rare.
Getting There: Just a ride away on the A-train for Marcus Garvey, and a number of options for Tompkins Square Park.
Price Gouging: So not even. It’s free.
Fun Fact for Jazzheads: Schepp played the “amen” at the end of “Psalm” on John Coltrane’s A Love Supreme, an uncredited role.

Go Local

For those not into traveling, there are a few hyperlocal offerings. June 10 to 12, the bluegrass lovers meet up at the Jalopy Theater for the Brooklyn Folk Fest. On June 25, Fort Greene Park is the site of the second annual music and cultural Fort Greene Fest, and on August 21, Queens residents don’t have to go far for the day-long Astoria Music Now! Fest.

Festival Face-off