Alternative Summer Music Festivals!

Sure, there is Lollapalooza, Bonnaroo and Sasquatch, but don’t forget about Monolith, the Forecastle Festival and the Rock City Festival!

If you’re reading this, it’s probably not much of a gamble to assume you are an insatiable music fan. I might even guess you dig seeing live music. So, I can easily conclude that many of you are looking forward to attending the ever growing number of festivals that have popped up over the last few years. There’s Coachella, Lollapalooza, Austin City Limits, Bonnaroo, Voodoo Music Fest, Sasquatch, Virgin – those seem to be the ones with the biggest names attached to play and get most of the fanfare. Not to mention they also put the biggest dent in your bank account.

While those events seem to get the most ink, there are many multi-artist shows that are eager to expose fans to more music than most people can digest over a long weekend. Some have been around for a few years and are considered to be sure bets in terms of the quality of acts they book; others may be more obscure and unproven. Checking out a festival with a vast number of new acts can be a complete disaster, but if you’re the type of person that likes surprises, then you probably won’t be disappointed. You might miss out on seeing Pearl Jam, but you will be exposed to an exciting variety of new sights and sounds, and you might just discover your new favorite band. Plus, there will be fewer people singing along.

Here are a few to check out:


8th Annual Village Voice

SIREN MUSIC FESTIVAL
at Coney Island, NY on Saturday, July 19, 2008

STEPHEN MALKMUS AND THE JICKS
BROKEN SOCIAL SCENE
THE HELIO SEQUENCE
BEACH HOUSE
TIMES NEW VIKING
JAGUAR LOVE
THE DODOS
ANNUALS
FILM SCHOOL
PARTS & LABOR
DRAGONS OF ZYNTH
THESE ARE POWERS
…and more to be announced

In my experience I have never been disappointed with this festival. It has earned immeasurable respect since its inception. The line-up consists of international, national and local bands, featuring indie rock veterans and emerging artists. It takes place on two stages in historic Coney Island. While some of the line-up may seem foreign now, this show has a stellar track record with booking bands on the verge. Sure, this show tends to attract a huge audience, but if you can stand the crowds the payoff is it’s free!


FORECASTLE FESTIVAL

at the Riverfront Belvedere in Louisville, KY, July 25th – 27th, 2008

METHOD MAN,
DISCO BISCUITS
Z-TRIP
DEl McCOURY
EKOOSTIK HOOKA
TORTOISE
DR. DOG
DEVIN & DARKO OF SPANK ROCK
SNOWDEN
MARGOT AND THE NUCLEAR SO & SO’S
CATFISH HAVEN
FILM SCHOOL
…and more!

Proudly claiming to be twice as big as last year’s show, the Forecastle Festival combines music, art and activism to entertain and inform. The line-up is very diverse, loaded with indie rock, jam bands and rap. This show tends to attract a largely Midwestern crowd, so expect the vibe to be laid back and be ready to make a few friends. This year organizers plan to introduce music industry panels, and two new festival stages. The event will also feature an outdoor extreme sports park, personal empowerment panels, an environmental film showcase, and other activities.
Advanced tickets range from $15 – 20 per day, day of show $18 – 23. Two-day and three-day passes also available, as well as a limited number of VIP.

DETOUR’S ROCK CITY FEST
at the Majestic Theatre Center and Contemporary Art Institute of Detroit, June 12 – 14, 2008

MATT & KIM
VHS OR BETA
THE DEATH SET
SLOAN
THE VON BONDIES
THUNDERBIRDS ARE NOW!
TIGER CITY
MASON PROPER
BAD VEINS
…and more!

Curated by Detour, an online magazine, the Rock City Festival aims to mesh the best of Detroit’s underground music scene with a number of exciting national acts, with over 50 scheduled to perform during the three day event. There’s no doubt that attendees will be inundated with a vast amount of new and interesting acts. Non-locals that will enjoy this event the most are the ones that don’t mind doing a little homework before they get there, and schedule their time wisely. There is nothing worse than realizing that while you suffered though something that you hated, your new favorite band played at another venue.

MONOLITH FESTIVAL
at Red Rocks Amphitheater in Denver, CO, September 13 and 14, 2008

DEVOTCHKA
TV ON THE RADIO
SILVERSUN PICKUPS
BAND OF HORSES
VAMPIRE WEEKEND
NEKO CASE
THE AVETT BROTHERS
CSS
TOKYO POLICE CLUB
THE BRONX
TILLY AND THE WALL
MICKEY AVALON
DEL THA FUNKY HOMOSAPIEN
CUT COPY
THE FRATELLIS
SUPERDRAG
THE KILLS
HOLY FUCK
WHITE DENIM
JOHN VANDERSLICE
DARKER MY LOVE
…and more!

In only its second year, Monolith Festival offers a stellar line-up at an incredible venue. While last year’s  event was held the same weekend as Austin City Limits,  this year Austin’s show has been pushed back (most likely to avoid the blistering heat) so music loving road dogs can now attend both! The show will feature over 50 bands on 5 stages. Camping is an option, but if that’s not your style, their website offers discounted hotel & lodging information. Tickets are fairly reasonable at 59.95 for single day and $110 for two day passes.

-Rachel

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