Cover Story: Gas Up, Rock Out

Got festival fever? Then hit the road, Jack

Sony Music


The Black Crowes, back together again, are one of the dozens of featured performers at Bonnaroo.



Missed Coachella in California because you couldn't afford the plane fare? Wanna go to the Reading Festival in the U.K. but hate British people? Angry that you couldn't even get your annual taste of multiple national artists on downtown streets after the 2005 Pepsi Jammin' on Main fest was cancelled? While there's always some excellent music fests during Cincinnati's muggiest season — from the Blues Festival to the returning Jazz Festival at Paul Brown Stadium — nothing says summer like gassing up the car and hitting the road for a change of scenery and a few multi-act events that allow you to see a plethora of artists in the span of a few days.

There's something special about sweating in a crowd of stinky strangers, struggling to stay hydrated (if it's an outdoor event) in foreign surroundings and hunting for your car after the show in a parking lot you've never seen before in your life. Look at it this way: If you get too drunk and get arrested, your friends and family are less likely see you on the local news if you're pulling your shenanigans outside city limits.

The following is a selection of interesting fests of varying sizes and styles going on this summer, all within a reasonable driving distance. Don't forget bail money!

Appalachian Uprising
Who: Yonder Mountain String Band, John Cowan Band, Larry Keel and Friends, Shanti Groove, King Wilkie, Hot Buttered Rum String Band, Curtis Burch, Natural Bridge, Big Red and the Wagoneers, Boss Tweed, The Just Bluegrass Band, Old School Freight Train and more

What: If you read that list of artists and didn't recognize a single name, you're not a fan of "Newgrass," the emerging genre that attracts Jam band fans with a creative spin on traditional Bluegrass. This event has some of the best from the old-time revivial scene.

When: June 2-4

Where: Eden Valley Farm in Scottown, Ohio (about 150 miles southeast of Cincinnati)

Why: Because when "free on-site camping" is included in the concert-going package, your chances of getting laid increase by 75 percent. And the fest Web site says you can bring "smiles" and "hula hoops and dancin' shoes," but you can't bring "negativity" or "weapons." So Phil Spector and Robert Blake won't be there, but a lot of very happy, hula hoopin' hippies will be.

Web: http://www. earthproductions.net/appalachian-uprising.html

Twangfest 9
Who: Neko Case, Bottle Rockets, The Supersuckers (playing both Country and Rock sets), Big Sandy and His Fly-Rite Boys, The Meat Purveyors, Moot Davis and the Real Deal with Pete Anderson, Slobberbone's Brent Best, Jon Dee Graham and more

What: A celebration, now in its ninth year, of Americana, Roots Rock and AltCountry

When: June 8-11

Where: Various clubs in St. Louis (other related events, including a showing of rare musical performances caught on film hosted by No Depression magazine's Barry Mazor, take place around town during the long weekend)

Why: Because if St. Louis knows anything, it's AltCountry (pioneers Uncle Tupelo started there).

Web: http://www. twangfest.com

CMJ/Rock Hall Music Fest
Who: Pixies, Digable Planets, Grandmaster Flash, Stephen Malkmus and the Jicks, Futureheads, Brazilian Girls, Lucero, Misfits, Architecture In Helsinki, Spoon, Orgy, Rogue Wave, Nashville Pussy, The Paybacks, Kenny Wayne Shepherd, 30 Seconds to Mars, Mindless Self Indulgence and more

What: A slightly smaller offshoot of the annual College Music Journal (CMJ) industry circle-jerk/music showcase in New York City with a little more emphasis on the performances and less on the industry panels

When: June 8-11

Where: Various venues around Cleveland, including The Flats and at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame

Why: Wait, they put the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland?!

Web: http://www. cmj.com/rockfest

Bonnaroo
Who: Widespread Panic, Dave Matthews Band, Trey Anastasio, Black Crowes, Allman Brothers Band, Modest Mouse, Mars Volta, Jurassic 5, John Prine, Herbie Hancock's Headhunters, Allison Krauss, Yonder Mountain String Band, My Morning Jacket, Joss Stone, De La Soul, O.A.R., Toots and the Maytals, Rilo Kiley, Iron & Wine, Particle, Secret Machines, RJD2, M. Ward, Heartless Bastards, Lake Trout and many more

What: Started in 2002, Bonnaroo immediately became recognized as one of the best music fests in the country by magazines like Spin, Billboard and Rolling Stone, who called it one of the 50 moments that changed Rock & Roll history. In its first years, each event has sold out (that's around 90,000 tickets) without the benefit of "traditional advertising." Spawning a series of Bonnaroo CDs and DVDs, the event has become a watershed event for artists and a must-go fest for popular music lovers. The lineup is breathtaking.

When: June 10-12

Where: A 700-acre farm in Manchester, Tenn., between Nashville and Chattanooga

Why: It's the best music fest of its kind in the eastern half of the U.S.

Web: http://www. bonnaroo.com

Music Midtown
Who: Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers, The White Stripes, Kid Rock, The Pixies, The Killers, Joan Jett, Keane, Coheed and Cambria, Bloc Party, MoFro, Louis XIV, Lou Reed, Keith Urban, Loretta Lynn, Alan Jackson, Montgomery Gentry, Joe Dee Messina, Ciara, Black Eyed Peas, Slim Thug, Biz Markie, MC Lyte, Whodini, Choc, Doug E. Fresh, Slick Rick and more

What: Think of it as Jammin' on Main with the budget of Indonesia. An incredibly diverse (Country, Rock, Alternative and Urban music are all well represented) and high-quality lineup is always the key to Music Midtown, which began in 1994 and now draws an average of 300,000 music fans every year.

When: June 10-12

Where: Multiple outdoor stages in the heart of downtown Atlanta

Why: Because you love Alan Jackson, The Pixies and Slick Rick but never imagined you'd be able to see them all at once. And you can make fun of all the tourists who call the city "Hotlanta."

Web: http://www. musicmidtown.com

Ripplefest
Who: Ekoosik Hookah, Derek Trucks, Karl Denson's Tiny Universe, Dark Star Orchestra, The Codetalkers with Col. Bruce Hampton, The Recipe, Grasshopper Pie, Zen Tricksters and more

What: One of the region's best outdoor Jam band fests, with a great representation of old favorites and new up-and-comers. The family-friendly event (camping is available) takes places twice every year on the third weekend of June and the third weekend of September. Organizers also donate a portion of the proceeds to the Autism Society of America.

When: June 16-18

Where: Bluffton, Ohio, about 150 miles north of Cincinnati

Why: Because you missed Hookahville and you really need to get your Jam band groove on.

Web: http://www. ripplefest.com

Indy Jazz Fest
Who: Tony Bennett, Mavis Staples, The Manhattan Transfer, The Bad Plus, The Commodores, Brenda Williams, Joey DeFrancesco Trio, Susan Tedeschi, Chris Botti, David Sanborn, Tad Robinson, the Adam Birnbaum Trio and more

What: The Indy Jazz Fest stays true to its name, with a solid lineup of top-notch contemporary and classic Jazz acts (a few solid non-Jazz acts are thrown in for good measure and wider appeal). After an organizational shake-up, resulting in a smaller fest in 2003, the event returned with a bang in 2004. The Jazz Fest attracts thousands of fans of America's greatest art form from every state in the union and offers a comfortable outdoor family-friendly atmosphere.

When: June 17-19

Where: The gorgeous, sprawling Military Park in downtown Indianapolis, near the Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (more succinctly, IUPUI) campus

Why: Because real Jazz fests are unfortunately a dying breed. Get to one of these events while you still can.

Web: http://www. indyjazzfest.net

CityFolk Festival
Who: Issa Bagayogo, Cherish the Ladies, Chicago Klezmer Ensemble, Big Joe Duskin, Marta Gómez, Rosie Ledet, The Midnight Steppers, Mountain Heart, Jackie Payne-Steve, Edmonson Band, Jesse Ponce, Noel Quintana and the Latin Crew, Rhythm in Shoes, John and Heather Timm, Tiempo Libre and more

What: Three stages of music and dance from around the world, plus workshops, dance lessons, crafts and world cuisine. African music, Blues, R&B, Bluegrass, South American music, Celtic — the CityFolk fest really is a sonic world tour. Not sure you wanna take a risk and seek out exotic music you're unfamiliar with? Maybe the ticket price will change your mind — the CityFolk Festival is absolutely free!

When: July 1-3

Where: Downtown Dayton's RiverScape park along the Great Miami River

Why: Besides the chance to expand your music-listening horizons for free, there's a 30-minute fireworks display on the closing night. And fireworks are cool.

Web: http://www. cityfolk.org

All Good Festival
Who: String Cheese Incident, The Flaming Lips, Les Claypool, Keller Williams, Dark Star Orchestra, Umphrey's McGee, Michael Franti & Spearhead, Yonder Mountain String Band, Drive By Truckers, Particle, John Brown's Body, Ozomatli, Victor Wooten, Lake Trout and more

What: Similar in spirit to the aforementioned Ripplefest, the All Good Fest presents a stunningly strong lineup and has received glowing reviews year after year for its non-stop music and quality bookings. It's a big drive, but from the looks of who's playing that's not going to stop the diehards.

When: July 15-17

Where: Marvin's Mountaintop in Masontown,

Sony Music


The Black Crowes, back together again, are one of the dozens of featured performers at Bonnaroo.



Missed Coachella in California because you couldn't afford the plane fare? Wanna go to the Reading Festival in the U.K. but hate British people? Angry that you couldn't even get your annual taste of multiple national artists on downtown streets after the 2005 Pepsi Jammin' on Main fest was cancelled? While there's always some excellent music fests during Cincinnati's muggiest season — from the Blues Festival to the returning Jazz Festival at Paul Brown Stadium — nothing says summer like gassing up the car and hitting the road for a change of scenery and a few multi-act events that allow you to see a plethora of artists in the span of a few days.

There's something special about sweating in a crowd of stinky strangers, struggling to stay hydrated (if it's an outdoor event) in foreign surroundings and hunting for your car after the show in a parking lot you've never seen before in your life. Look at it this way: If you get too drunk and get arrested, your friends and family are less likely see you on the local news if you're pulling your shenanigans outside city limits.

The following is a selection of interesting fests of varying sizes and styles going on this summer, all within a reasonable driving distance. Don't forget bail money!

Appalachian Uprising
Who: Yonder Mountain String Band, John Cowan Band, Larry Keel and Friends, Shanti Groove, King Wilkie, Hot Buttered Rum String Band, Curtis Burch, Natural Bridge, Big Red and the Wagoneers, Boss Tweed, The Just Bluegrass Band, Old School Freight Train and more

What: If you read that list of artists and didn't recognize a single name, you're not a fan of "Newgrass," the emerging genre that attracts Jam band fans with a creative spin on traditional Bluegrass. This event has some of the best from the old-time revivial scene.

When: June 2-4

Where: Eden Valley Farm in Scottown, Ohio (about 150 miles southeast of Cincinnati)

Why: Because when "free on-site camping" is included in the concert-going package, your chances of getting laid increase by 75 percent. And the fest Web site says you can bring "smiles" and "hula hoops and dancin' shoes," but you can't bring "negativity" or "weapons." So Phil Spector and Robert Blake won't be there, but a lot of very happy, hula hoopin' hippies will be.

Web: http://www. earthproductions.net/appalachian-uprising.html

Twangfest 9
Who: Neko Case, Bottle Rockets, The Supersuckers (playing both Country and Rock sets), Big Sandy and His Fly-Rite Boys, The Meat Purveyors, Moot Davis and the Real Deal with Pete Anderson, Slobberbone's Brent Best, Jon Dee Graham and more

What: A celebration, now in its ninth year, of Americana, Roots Rock and AltCountry

When: June 8-11

Where: Various clubs in St. Louis (other related events, including a showing of rare musical performances caught on film hosted by No Depression magazine's Barry Mazor, take place around town during the long weekend)

Why: Because if St. Louis knows anything, it's AltCountry (pioneers Uncle Tupelo started there).

Web: http://www. twangfest.com

CMJ/Rock Hall Music Fest
Who: Pixies, Digable Planets, Grandmaster Flash, Stephen Malkmus and the Jicks, Futureheads, Brazilian Girls, Lucero, Misfits, Architecture In Helsinki, Spoon, Orgy, Rogue Wave, Nashville Pussy, The Paybacks, Kenny Wayne Shepherd, 30 Seconds to Mars, Mindless Self Indulgence and more

What: A slightly smaller offshoot of the annual College Music Journal (CMJ) industry circle-jerk/music showcase in New York City with a little more emphasis on the performances and less on the industry panels

When: June 8-11

Where: Various venues around Cleveland, including The Flats and at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame

Why: Wait, they put the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland?!

Web: http://www. cmj.com/rockfest

Bonnaroo
Who: Widespread Panic, Dave Matthews Band, Trey Anastasio, Black Crowes, Allman Brothers Band, Modest Mouse, Mars Volta, Jurassic 5, John Prine, Herbie Hancock's Headhunters, Allison Krauss, Yonder Mountain String Band, My Morning Jacket, Joss Stone, De La Soul, O.A.R., Toots and the Maytals, Rilo Kiley, Iron & Wine, Particle, Secret Machines, RJD2, M. Ward, Heartless Bastards, Lake Trout and many more

What: Started in 2002, Bonnaroo immediately became recognized as one of the best music fests in the country by magazines like Spin, Billboard and Rolling Stone, who called it one of the 50 moments that changed Rock & Roll history. In its first years, each event has sold out (that's around 90,000 tickets) without the benefit of "traditional advertising." Spawning a series of Bonnaroo CDs and DVDs, the event has become a watershed event for artists and a must-go fest for popular music lovers. The lineup is breathtaking.

When: June 10-12

Where: A 700-acre farm in Manchester, Tenn., between Nashville and Chattanooga

Why: It's the best music fest of its kind in the eastern half of the U.S.

Web: http://www. bonnaroo.com

Music Midtown
Who: Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers, The White Stripes, Kid Rock, The Pixies, The Killers, Joan Jett, Keane, Coheed and Cambria, Bloc Party, MoFro, Louis XIV, Lou Reed, Keith Urban, Loretta Lynn, Alan Jackson, Montgomery Gentry, Joe Dee Messina, Ciara, Black Eyed Peas, Slim Thug, Biz Markie, MC Lyte, Whodini, Choc, Doug E. Fresh, Slick Rick and more

What: Think of it as Jammin' on Main with the budget of Indonesia. An incredibly diverse (Country, Rock, Alternative and Urban music are all well represented) and high-quality lineup is always the key to Music Midtown, which began in 1994 and now draws an average of 300,000 music fans every year.

When: June 10-12

Where: Multiple outdoor stages in the heart of downtown Atlanta

Why: Because you love Alan Jackson, The Pixies and Slick Rick but never imagined you'd be able to see them all at once. And you can make fun of all the tourists who call the city "Hotlanta."

Web: http://www. musicmidtown.com

Ripplefest
Who: Ekoosik Hookah, Derek Trucks, Karl Denson's Tiny Universe, Dark Star Orchestra, The Codetalkers with Col. Bruce Hampton, The Recipe, Grasshopper Pie, Zen Tricksters and more

What: One of the region's best outdoor Jam band fests, with a great representation of old favorites and new up-and-comers. The family-friendly event (camping is available) takes places twice every year on the third weekend of June and the third weekend of September. Organizers also donate a portion of the proceeds to the Autism Society of America.

When: June 16-18

Where: Bluffton, Ohio, about 150 miles north of Cincinnati

Why: Because you missed Hookahville and you really need to get your Jam band groove on.

Web: http://www. ripplefest.com

Indy Jazz Fest
Who: Tony Bennett, Mavis Staples, The Manhattan Transfer, The Bad Plus, The Commodores, Brenda Williams, Joey DeFrancesco Trio, Susan Tedeschi, Chris Botti, David Sanborn, Tad Robinson, the Adam Birnbaum Trio and more

What: The Indy Jazz Fest stays true to its name, with a solid lineup of top-notch contemporary and classic Jazz acts (a few solid non-Jazz acts are thrown in for good measure and wider appeal). After an organizational shake-up, resulting in a smaller fest in 2003, the event returned with a bang in 2004. The Jazz Fest attracts thousands of fans of America's greatest art form from every state in the union and offers a comfortable outdoor family-friendly atmosphere.

When: June 17-19

Where: The gorgeous, sprawling Military Park in downtown Indianapolis, near the Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (more succinctly, IUPUI) campus

Why: Because real Jazz fests are unfortunately a dying breed. Get to one of these events while you still can.

Web: http://www. indyjazzfest.net

CityFolk Festival
Who: Issa Bagayogo, Cherish the Ladies, Chicago Klezmer Ensemble, Big Joe Duskin, Marta Gómez, Rosie Ledet, The Midnight Steppers, Mountain Heart, Jackie Payne-Steve, Edmonson Band, Jesse Ponce, Noel Quintana and the Latin Crew, Rhythm in Shoes, John and Heather Timm, Tiempo Libre and more

What: Three stages of music and dance from around the world, plus workshops, dance lessons, crafts and world cuisine. African music, Blues, R&B, Bluegrass, South American music, Celtic — the CityFolk fest really is a sonic world tour. Not sure you wanna take a risk and seek out exotic music you're unfamiliar with? Maybe the ticket price will change your mind — the CityFolk Festival is absolutely free!

When: July 1-3

Where: Downtown Dayton's RiverScape park along the Great Miami River

Why: Besides the chance to expand your music-listening horizons for free, there's a 30-minute fireworks display on the closing night. And fireworks are cool.

Web: http://www. cityfolk.org

All Good Festival
Who: String Cheese Incident, The Flaming Lips, Les Claypool, Keller Williams, Dark Star Orchestra, Umphrey's McGee, Michael Franti & Spearhead, Yonder Mountain String Band, Drive By Truckers, Particle, John Brown's Body, Ozomatli, Victor Wooten, Lake Trout and more

What: Similar in spirit to the aforementioned Ripplefest, the All Good Fest presents a stunningly strong lineup and has received glowing reviews year after year for its non-stop music and quality bookings. It's a big drive, but from the looks of who's playing that's not going to stop the diehards.

When: July 15-17

Where: Marvin's Mountaintop in Masontown, W.Va.

Why: Haven't you always wondered if it's possible to pop that giant rubber gerbil ball the Flaming Lips' singer Wayne Coyne uses to walk over top of the audience?

Web: http://www. walther-productions.com

Intonation Music Festival
Who: Tortoise, Death From Above 1979, The Go! Team, Broken Social Scene, Four Tet, Magnolia Electric Co., AC Newman, Beans Featuring The Holy Fuck, The M's, Head of Femur, Will Oldham, Jean Grae, The Decemberists, Les Savy Fav, The Wrens, Deerhoof, Andrew Bird, Out Hud, Xiu Xiu, Dungen and more

What: A two-day Windy City affair for Indie bands too cool for Lollapalooza. The event is curated by online music magazine Pitchfork Media (http://www.pitchforkmedia.com), which is known for its creative, often vitriolic CD reviews that music lovers either love or hate with a passion.

When: July 16-17

Where: Union Park in Chicago

Why: Because that Pichfork CD reviewer you absolutely loathe will probably be there, and you can pelt him with rocks and garbage while he scoffs at Death From Above 1979 for being on a major label.

Web: http://www. intonationmusicfest.com

Lollapalooza
Who: The Pixies, Widespread Panic, Weezer, The Killers, Dinosaur Jr., Cake, The Arcade Fire, Liz Phair, Death Cab For Cutie, Dashboard Confessional, Blonde Redhead, The Black Keys, ...And You Will Know Us By the Trail of Dead, The Bravery, The Dandy Warhols, Brian Jonestown Massacre, The Warlocks, The Ponys, Sound Tribe Sector 9 and more

What: The Lollapalooza tour doesn't get the credit it deserves for revolutionizing the summer touring season and helping bring "Alternative" music to the mainstream. Started by Jane's Addiction singer Perry Farrell in 1991, the tour has struggled in recent years, with ticket sales down and lineups being hit-or-miss. This year, organizers have concentrated all of their energy on making Lollapalooza a single two-day concert instead of an ongoing tour, lining up an AltRock dream roster (and Widespread Panic) that will have people from all over the world venturing in.

When: July 23-24

Where: Grant Park in Chicago

Why: Because you went to the first Lollapalooza and you want to see if anyone found the "I Fucked Henry Rollins" T-shirt you lost there.

Web: http://www. lollapalooza.com ©