All-Access Pass: Your 2013 summer music festival guide

Chris DeVille, Columbus Alive

Throughout the gentrified civilized world, music festivals have become the predominant way we get together outdoors. Once winter melts away, new local and national festivals seem to pop up every week.

The onslaught began this month, both nationally (Coachella, which gathered thousands of "Spring Breakers" extras and a few dozen music fans in the California desert) and here in Ohio (11Fest, which gathered thousands of "Spring Breakers" extras and a couple music fans to Athens). Consider those the big bang. Semesters are winding down and temperatures are awkwardly crawling up, so it's about to get real festival-y up in here.

What follows is a non-comprehensive, curated guide of festivals in Columbus and across America. It will not include every gathering of note, but it will address the biggest, best and most interesting, with a bias toward events where music is a prominent focus. Allow us to help you navigate all the noise, logos and $4 corndogs.


Roll out of bed and into these awesome events.

Forward Ohio

Saturday and Sunday, April 26-27

Various venues

Cost: $15

Performers: Nukkehammer, Masakari, Bridesmaid, Coke Bust, Nervosas, etc.

Summary: DIY punk bands both local and global celebrate their culture in punk-friendly venues Ace of Cups, Carabar and The Dude Locker.

Earth Day Celebration

Saturday, April 27

Columbus Commons, Downtown

Cost: Free

Performers: Heard The Current, Wonder Twin Powers, Francis Bacon Band, Teen Fiction, Salty Caramels, etc.

Summary: Bands of many breeds (folk, funk, indie rock, electronic) celebrate the great outdoors in a beautiful park.

Central Ohio Folk Festival

May 3-5

Battelle-Darby Creek Metro Park, Galloway

Cost: $10-$30; register online

Performers: Cathy Barton and Dave Para with Ed Trickett, etc.

Summary: All things folky in that "A Mighty Wind" sense, with performances, workshops and song circles.

Rock on the Range

May 17-19

Columbus Crew Stadium, North Side

Cost: $119.50-$149.50

Performers: Soundgarden, Alice in Chains, Smashing Pumpkins, Korn, Bush, etc.

Summary: Party like it's 1999, rock edition.

Math on the Range

Saturday, May 18

Cafe Bourbon Street/The Summit, Campus

Cost: $7

Performers: Survivalist, Drose, An Aesthetic Anaesthetic, Dessa Sons, Pride and Ego Down, etc.

Summary: They're joking about Rock on the Range, but they're serious about math rock (and other forms of weird underground sound).

Columbus Arts Festival

June 7-9

Main Street and Civic Center Drive, Downtown

Cost: Free

Performers: Dwight Lenox, The Middle Rats, Watershed, Maggie Green, New Basics Brass Band, etc.

Summary: While patrons peruse art on beautiful new Downtown bridges, a range of family friendly local talent plays nearby.

Park Street Festival

June 7-8

Park Street, Arena District

Cost: Free

Performers: Who's Bad, The Regrettes, Downplay, The End of the Ocean, The Spruce Campbells, etc.

Summary: Mostly local lineup plays originals and covers for an Arena District street party.

Soul Food Music Festival

Saturday, June 8

Columbus Commons, Downtown

Cost: Ticketed event, price TBA

Performers: War, Midnight Star, Jeffrey Osborne, Dru Hill, Tevin Campbell, Dwele

Summary: Party like it's 1999, R&B edition.

Creekside Blues and Jazz Festival

June 14-16

Creekside Plaza, Gahanna

Cost: $4; free for military (with ID) and children under 12

Performers: Brooks Family Blues Dynasty, Anthony Gomes, Davina and the Vagabonds, Sean Carney, etc.

Summary: Gahanna's pleasant Downtown district hosts blues and jazz talents from Columbus and abroad.

Juneteenth Festival

June 14-16

Franklin Park, Near East Side

Cost: Free

Performers: Bob Marley Tribute (Friday), Super Soul Gospel Concert (Saturday), Old School Concert with Lakeside (Sunday)

Summary: Celebrating slavery's abolition with music, education, health screenings, a hair expo, a job fair and much more.

Stonewall Columbus Pride Festival

June 21-22

Goodale Park, Victorian Village

Cost: $10 donation

Performers: Local and national talent TBA

Summary: Queer performers, partiers and paraders unite for a celebration that is becoming more and more like a victory lap.


June 28-30

Goodale Park, Victorian Village

Cost: Free

Performers: If we told you, they'd kill us.

Summary: The best people-watching, junk-food-consuming, day-drinking, boob-painting, old-friends-socializing, popping-a-molly and/or sweating event in Columbus; also, some bands.

Red, White and Boom

Wednesday, July 3

Various venues, Downtown

Cost: Free

Performers: TBA

Summary: Cover bands and originals of many stripes rock a Downtown flock anticipating colorful explosions under the stars.

Jazz & Ribs Fest

July 19-21

North Bank Park, Arena District

Cost: Free

Performers: Boney James, Preservation Hall Jazz Band, Galactic, Arturo Sandoval, Roy Ayers, Grace Kelly Quintet, etc.

Summary: Internationally respected jazz talents and top locals soundtrack the messy consumption of delectable meat.

Dublin Irish Festival

Aug. 2-4

Coffman Park, Dublin

Cost: $8-$10

Performers: Gaelic Storm, Red Hot Chili Pipers, Natalie MacMaster, The Young Dubliners, Slide, etc.

Summary: More than just another heritage festival, Dublin is a global destination for fans of modern and traditional Celtic music.

Festival Latino

Aug. 10-11

Genoa Park, Downtown

Cost: Free

Performers: Obie Bermudez, Miriam Cruz, Toby Love, Enrique Infante, Zancudo, etc.

Summary: All things Latino converge at the Downtown riverfront, including Latin music stars from abroad and at home.

Urban Scrawl

Aug. 24-25

400 West Rich, Franklinton

Cost: Free

Performers: Local musicians and DJs TBA

Summary: Local bands provide a vibrant soundtrack as local artists create on the spot.

Hot Times Music & Arts Festival

Sept. 6-8

Olde Towne East

Cost: Free

Performers: Local musicians TBA

Summary: ComFest volunteers and the general public get down in Olde Towne.

Independents' Day

Saturday, Sept. 21

Gay Street & Lynn Alley, Downtown

Cost: Free

Performers: Local musicians TBA

Summary: Downtown's vibrant street party shows off a wide range of local music, arts, food and more; it's the platonic ideal of Downtown Columbus.

Riverfront Arts Festival

Sept. 27-29

Genoa Park, Downtown

Cost: Free

Performers: Local musicians TBA

Summary: Close the parentheses on the Downtown festival season with one more convergence of bands, art, drinks and dining.

Go West!

Saturday, Oct. 12

900 block of West Broad Street, Franklinton

Cost: Free

Performers: Local bands TBA

Summary: Franklinton shows off its growing arts district with an autumnal hop soundtracked by top local talent.


You could feasibly hop in the car early one morning and be rocking out by mid-afternoon.

Yahoo! on the Road

Tuesday, May 7

Location TBA, Cincinnati

Cost: TBA

Performers: Kendrick Lamar, RaVaughn, etc.

Summary: Yahoo has been tight-lipped with details about this "traveling" event, which features a completely different lineup at each stop.

Sweetlife Festival

Saturday, May 11

Merriweather Post Pavilion, Columbia, Maryland

Cost: $75-$150

Performers: Phoenix, Passion Pit, Kendrick Lamar, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Gary Clark Jr., etc.

Summary: D.C.-based sustainable meals hub Sweetgreen assembles a sparkling lineup of rising talent and seasoned festival stars.

Maryland Deathfest

May 23-26

Former Sonar Compound and Baltimore Sound Stage, Baltimore

Cost: $155 for three-day pass (four-day pass sold out)

Performers: Pallbearer, Tragedy, Righteous Pigs, Weedeater, Venom, etc.

Summary: "America's biggest metal party of the year."

Duck Creek Log Jam

May 25-26

Duck Creek Camping and Outdoor Events Area, Logan

Cost: $55-$70

Performers: Spirit Family Reunion, Sol Driven Train, The Spikedrivers, The Moxie Strings, The Salty Caramels, etc.

Summary: A stripped-down but steadily growing BYOB Hocking Hills hootenanny. "Don't expect yoga classes. Don't expect giant rainbow octopi. There will be no silent disco."

Nelsonville Music Festival

May 30-June 2

Robbins Crossing, Nelsonville

Cost: $110

Performers: Wilco, John Prine, Cat Power, Gogol Bordello, Mavis Staples, etc.

Summary: Expertly curated fest mingles international legends with local talent for a communal vibe.

Roots Picnic

Saturday, June 1

Festival Pier at Penn's Landing, Philadelphia

Cost: $50

Performers: The Roots, Gary Clark Jr., Grimes, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, Naughty By Nature, etc.

Summary: Jimmy Fallon's "Late Night" house band hosts its annual hometown throwdown.

Scion Rock Fest

Saturday, June 1

Various venues, Memphis

Cost: Free with RSVP

Performers: Testament, Melvins, Municipal Waste, Negative Approach, Pallbearer, etc.

Summary: An incredible lineup of heavy hitters new and old, and it's free?!

Hot 97 Summer Jam

Sunday, June 2

MetLife Stadium, East Rutherford, New Jersey

Cost: $89-$159.50

Performers: Top hip-hop stars TBA

Summary: Hip-hop's most prominent event.

Governor's Ball

June 7-9

Randall's Island, New York

Cost: $220 (sold out)

Performers: Kanye West, Kings of Leon, Guns N' Roses, Nas, Pretty Lights, etc.

Summary: You know Governor's Ball is doing something right to grow from a modest day fest to a behemoth weekend in a city where every day is like a music festival.

Moonrise Festival

June 8-9

Sun Park, Baltimore

Cost: $149

Performers: Pretty Lights, Snoop Lion, Flux Pavilion, Paul Van Dyk, Nadastrom, etc.

Summary: At this EDM mecca, drink enough booze to stay crazy, enough ecstasy energy drinks to stay awake and enough water to stay alive.

Orion Music + More

June 8-9

Belle Isle, Detroit

Cost: $150

Performers: Metallica, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Rise Against, Deftones, Bassnectar, etc.

Summary: Metallica's stellar fest lineup represents a full spectrum of hard-hitting sounds, from metal to punk to EDM to indie rock's wild side.

Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival

June 13-16

A farm in Manchester, Tennessee

Cost: $269

Performers: Paul McCartney, Mumford & Sons, Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers, Bjork, Wilco, etc.

Summary: Former hippie haven has expanded to a behemoth demo-defying backwoods bacchanalia.

Northside Festival

June 13-16

Various venues, Brooklyn

Cost: $65 (early bird price)

Performers: Adolescents, Sinkane, Son Volt, Inter Arma, Iceage, etc.

Summary: Punk, metal and indie bands galore for an affordable price.

Firefly Music Festival

June 21-23

The Woodlands of Dover International Speedway, Dover, Delaware

Cost: $258

Performers: Red Hot Chili Peppers, Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers, Vampire Weekend, Foster the People, Calvin Harris, etc.

Summary: Billed as "the East Coast's premier music experience," Firefly is like Bonnaroo with less jam bands and more indie rock.


June 26-30, July 2-7

Downtown Milwaukee

Cost: $60 or less

Performers: John Mayer, Violent Femmes, Fun., Jason Aldean, Pitbull, etc.

Summary: The world's largest music festival offers literally something for everyone.

Electric Forest Festival

June 27-30

The woods near Rothbury, Michigan

Cost: $259

Performers: The String Cheese Incident, Pretty Lights, Passion Pit, Benny Benassi, Grimes, etc.

Summary: Though ostensibly the rustic plumb line between jam bands and EDM, this estimable fest also books wild cards like Grimes and Danny Brown.

Bunbury Music Festival

July 12-14

Sawyer Point/Yeatman's Cove, Cincinnati

Cost: $110

Performers: Fun., MGMT, The National, Belle and Sebastian, Walk the Moon, etc.

Summary: Indie and alternative bands gather to the Cincinnati riverfront for the second year of this upstart fest success.

Forecastle Festival

July 12-14

Waterfront Park, Louisville

Cost: $165

Performers: The Black Keys, The String Cheese Incident, The Flaming Lips, Big Boi, Robert Plant, etc.

Summary: Classic rock, jam bands, indie rock and hip-hop comingle at the Louisville waterfront.

Vans Warped Tour

July 18, Blossom Music Center, Cuyahoga Falls

July 30, Riverbend Music Center, Cincinnati

Cost: $47.50

Performers: Hawthorne Heights, Forever the Sickest Kids, Man Overboard, Motion City Soundtrack, Chiodos, etc.

Summary: The iconic touring mall-punk fest rolls on.

All Good Music Festival

July 18-21

Legend Valley, Thornville

Cost: $199

Performers: Furthur, Pretty Lights, Primus, Yonder Mountain String Band, STS9, etc.

Summary: Can you imagine a dreadlocked, hemp-clad buddy telling you, "It's all good, man?" This is what's in his headphones.

Pitchfork Music Festival

July 19-21

Union Park, Chicago

Cost: $120

Performers: Bjork, R. Kelly, Belle and Sebastian, M.I.A., Lil B, etc.

Summary: The taste-making website you either love or love to hate hosts its annual buffet of happening sounds.


Aug. 2-4

Grant Park, Chicago

Cost: $235 (sold out)

Performers: The Cure, Mumford & Sons, Nine Inch Nails, Phoenix, Queens of the Stone Age, etc.

Summary: Former trailblazing caravan fest has long since been rooted in both nostalgia and Chicago, though there's plenty of rising talent on the docket too.

Gentlemen of the Road Stopover

Aug. 30-31

Troy Memorial Stadium, Troy

Cost: $109

Performers: Mumford & Sons, Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros, Old Crow Medicine Show, The Vaccines, Those Darlins, etc.

Summary: The biggest band in the world wanders from one small town to the next bringing banjos and beards aplenty to the teeming masses.

Electric Zoo

Aug. 30-Sept. 1

Randall's Island, New York

Cost: $329

Performers: Avicii, Knife Party, Tiesto, David Guetta, Armin Van Buuren, etc.

Summary: A strong challenger to Electric Daisy Carnival's EDM throne.

Budweiser Made In America Festival

Aug. 31-Sept. 1


Cost: $150

Performers: Beyonce, Nine Inch Nails, Queens of the Stone Age, Deadmau5, Phoenix, etc.

Summary: Jay-Z's beer-sponsored fest might have scored 2013's best mid-level fest lineup.

Hopscotch Music Festival

Sept. 5-7

Various venues, Raleigh, North Carolina

Cost: $125

Performers: The Breeders, Sleep, Matthew Dear, many more TBA

Summary: Up-and-coming acts in venues across town, "like a younger cousin to SXSW."

Werk Out Music Festival

Sept. 12-14

Legend Valley, Thornville

Cost: $70

Performers: The Werks, many more TBA

Summary: Ohio jamtronica stars The Werks perform four times among lots of jammy and/or dancy peers at this BYOB campout.

Midpoint Music Festival

Sept. 26-28

Various venues, Cincinnati

Cost: $69

Performers: National and regional musicians TBA

Summary: Cincinnati shows Columbus how to build a viable regional music festival from the ground up.


You might need plane tickets to get there, but it would probably be worth it.

New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival

April 26-May 5

New Orleans Fairgrounds, New Orleans

Cost: $50 per day

Performers: Billy Joel, Fleetwood Mac, Maroon 5, John Mayer, Frank Ocean, etc.

Summary: Sprawling, two-weekend dad-friendly fest.

Hangout Music Festival

May 17-19

The beach in Gulf Shores, Alabama

Cost: $229

Performers: Stevie Wonder, Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers, Kings of Leon, Trey Anastasio Band, The Shins, Kendrick Lamar, etc.

Summary: A diverse, early Bonnaroo-esque lineup of new and classic musicians - and did we mention it's literally on the beach?


May 24-27

The Gorge, Quincy, Washington

Cost: $337

Performers: Mumford & Sons, The Postal Service, Sigur Ros, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, Vampire Weekend, etc.

Summary: A huge indie-centric four-day bash in the glorious Washington wilderness.


May 24-26

Fever Music Festival Grounds, Pryor, Oklahoma

Cost: $150

Performers: Guns N' Roses, Alice In Chains, Korn, Bush, Cheap Trick, etc.

Summary: Like Rock on the Range, but actually on the range.

Chaos In Tejas

May 30-June 2

Various venues, Austin

Cost: $150

Performers: The Damned, Bolt Thrower, Infest, The Men, Iceage, etc.

Summary: The incendiary punk fest continues to spread its wings wider without losing its plumb line.

Electric Daisy Carnival

June 21-23

Las Vegas Motor Speedway, Las Vegas

Cost: $289

Performers: DJs TBA

Summary: The signature event of the biggest youth music movement of this generation, EDM.

Newport Folk Festival

July 26-28

Fort Adams State Park, Newport, Rhode Island

Cost: $179

Performers: Beck, The Avett Brothers, Feist, The Lumineers, Colin Meloy, etc.

Summary: The iconic folk fest - the one where Dylan plugged in to cries of "Judas!" - has done a lot more evolving since then.

Outside Lands

Aug. 9-11

Golden Gate Park, San Francisco

Cost: $249.50

Performers: Paul McCartney, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Nine Inch Nails, Phoenix, D'Angelo, etc.

Summary: A diverse lineup in a beautiful locale might be enough to cause another gold rush.


Aug. 31-Sept. 2

Seattle Center, Seattle

Cost: $99

Performers: National musicians TBA (lineup coming May 2-3)

Summary: Billed as "North America's largest urban arts festival," Bumbershoot is also one of the longest running at 43 years strong.

Rock the Bells


Location TBA

Cost: TBA

Performers: National musicians TBA

Summary: America's premiere hip-hop festival.

Austin City Limits

Oct. 4-6 and 11-13

Zilker Park, Austin

Cost: $225 per weekend

Performers: National musicians TBA

Summary: Austin's massive fest has something for everyone, twice over; like Coachella, the entire festival will repeat for a second weekend this year.

Treasure Island Festival

Oct. 19-20

Treasure Island, San Francisco

Cost: TBA

Performers: National bands TBA

Summary: Keep summer going with indie rock stars on an island in the Bay.