Outdoor festivals offer music for every taste
By Allison Griffin
Scores of big-time music acts will enjoy the South’s heat and hospitality this spring and summer, so music-lovers should start saving money and making travel plans now for this year’s music festivals.
No matter what your taste in music, there’s sure to be a day or two (or more) that you’ll be looking forward to. In fact, the tough part may be deciding which festival (or festivals) to attend. Below is a roundup of some of the festivals in driving distance of many Alabama locations. Some that are later in the year have yet to announce their lineups; and keep an eye on the websites in case lineups or times change.
➢ Sweetwater 420 Fest, Atlanta: April 17-19. This music and craft beer event will take over Centennial Olympic Park with a diverse lineup; headliners include Snoop Dogg, 311, Thievery Corporation, Primus, Cage the Elephant, moe., Gov’t Mule, Beats Antique and more. A three-day general admission pre-sale wristband is $55, and regular price for three-day GA is $75. www.sweetwater420fest.com
➢ Jazz and Heritage Festival, New Orleans: April 24-May 3. This cultural feast, set over two weekends, brings together musicians, cooks and craftspeople, and draws about 400,000 visitors each year. The headliners feature established artists and today’s hitmakers: Elton John, The Who, Jimmy Buffett, Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga, No Doubt, Keith Urban, Pitbull, John Legend, Ed Sheeran, T.I. and Chicago, among them. Single-day tickets are $58 in advance, $70 at the gate. www.nojazzfest.com
➢ Toadlick, Dothan: April 23-25. Country music legends Alabama and Hank Williams Jr. headline this festival at the National Peanut Festival Fairgrounds; also on the bill are Lee Brice, Bret Michaels, Styx and Ronnie Milsap. As for lodging, some RV sites are available, but in the spirit of the true festival experience, there is unlimited primitive camping. General admission tickets are $109 through March 1 and increase to $119 thereafter. www.toadlick.com
➢ Shaky Knees, Atlanta: May 8-10. This indie- and alt-rock festival has grown in popularity in its first two years, and the third promises more big acts: The Strokes, the Avett Brothers, Wilco, Pixies, Social Distortion, Ryan Adams and Tame Impala play this event at Central Park, in the Old Fourth Ward in Atlanta. Three-day advance tickets are on sale now for $199; single-day tickets at $99 are coming soon. www.shakykneesfestival.com
➢ The Hangout Music Fest, Gulf Shores: May 15-17. The beachfront festival, now in its sixth year, has grown exponentially; the 2014 festival sold out, even after the attendance cap was raised to 40,000 people. Foo Fighters, Zac Brown Band, Beck, Skrillex, My Morning Jacket, Foster the People and Paramore headline this year’s beachfront party. General admission tickets are $249 for three-day access. www.hangoutmusicfest.com
➢ Shaky Boots, Kennesaw, Ga.: May 16-17. This sister festival to Shaky Knees brings an impressive roster of country stars for its inaugural event: Blake Shelton, Dierks Bentley, Rascal Flatts, the Band Perry and Alabama’s own Jason Isbell will take the stage at the KSU Sports and Entertainment Park in Kennesaw, just north of Atlanta. General admission tickets are $95 per day, and $169 for two-day advance tickets. www.shakyboots.com
➢ Counterpoint, Rome, Ga.: May 22-24. The music and arts festival features a variety of electronic dance music and jam band acts, with a few R&B and hip-hop acts as well. Headliners this year are Widespread Panic, Zedd, The Roots, Kygo, Knife Party, Dillon Francis and Zeds Dead. New this year is a midway featuring carnival rides, a game center, arts village and more. Advance three-day passes are $175. www.counterpointfestival.com
➢ Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival, Manchester, Tenn.: June 11-14. This year’s lineup features a mix of old and new, with headliners Billy Joel, Mumford and Sons, Deadmau5, Kendrick Lamar, Alabama Shakes and Florence + the Machine. Four-day general admission tickets are on sale now for $324.50 plus fees. www.bonnaroo.com
➢ Rock the South, Cullman: June 19-20. Brantley Gilbert, Travis Tritt, Dee Jay Silver, Corey Smith and Tyler Farr lead the lineup at this country music festival held at Heritage Park in Cullman. Organizers estimate last year’s event brought more than 30,000 people to the city over two days. Ticket prices aren’t yet listed on the event’s website. www.rockthesouth.com
➢ Gulf Coast Jam, Panama City Beach, Fla.: Sept. 4-6. Nicknamed “Country on the Coast,” this year’s lineup hasn’t been announced. www.gulfcoastjam.com
➢ BayFest, Mobile: Oct. 2-4. Lineup is yet to be announced for this downtown event; www.bayfest.com