“Summer Summer Summertime! Time to sit back and unwind!”
The Fresh Prince’s 1991 ode to the warmer months of the year is still one of my favorite tunes to bump as I drive out of the parking lot on that last day of school. (I appreciate summers off as a teacher way more than I ever did as a student!) While the track creates a nostalgic longing for summers gone by, it always reminds me of the hope and excitement each summer brings. For me, that hope and excitement is driven largely by the multitude of concerts I plan on attending.
Summer time is the best time to go see music. The opportunity to be outside and kick your flops off in an open space while enjoying quality tunes is special. Of course, this does not take anything away from indoor shows or shows that take place when it’s cold. Anyone who has walked out of a Phish show at MSG in New York City during a New Years run is not going to complain about the quality of the show based on the scene or temperature. That said, dancing on the lawn at most any of the outdoor venues that are busy from May through October changes the musical experience in a unique way.
For those on the lawn, there exists a certain amount of freedom not being tied to a seat. Fans can exist where they want in the large (or sometimes small) expanses that make up the lawn sections of summer sheds.
Being out under the sun and/or stars while listening to your favorite band just feels right, as though music and nature are one in the same, and one would not exist without the other.
Finally, and perhaps my favorite part of the outdoor lawn experience: the CREW. The lawn provides the opportunity to crew up, whether you have 2 or 20 people at that event. Merriweather Post Pavilion, my home venue, provides a prime example of the ability to crew up. We get everyone out there- even those with pavilion seats want to come and chill because music is great, but music with your friends and family is epic. I am lucky to have an amazing show crew. We see it all, and we try to see it together. While pavilion seats are great for up-close viewing, protection from the elements, and bragging rights about how good your seats are, only the lawn provides us the ability to sit or stand together, listen, discuss (though not too loud), and celebrate as a group.
For those who want to take their music experience to the next level, a wide variety of multi-day festivals take place all over the country, blending different genres of music, art, and a cast of characters unlikely to be found together in regular circles. The communal nature of camping, partying, and rocking out to many bands over several days is also reflected in magical- and sometimes odd- collaborations on stage.
Notable festivals on tap for summer 2016:
Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival- June 9-12, Manchester, TN
Pearl Jam, Dead & Company, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, Grace Potter, Third Eye Blind and many others.
Firefly Music Festival- June 16-19, Dover DE
Kings of Leon, Florence & The Machine, Mumford & Sons, Blink 182, Trombone Shorty, and many others.
Telluride Bluegrass Festival- June 16-19- Telluride, CO
Lockin‘ Festival- August 25-28- Arrington, VA
Phish, Ween, My Morning Jacket, Chris Robinson Brotherhood, Gary Clark Jr., Moon Taxi, The Wailers, and many others.
Basically, there is a music festival every weekend of the summer, all across the country, and for all types of music. Bonnaroo, now in it’s 15th year, is one of the biggest summer events. Smaller festivals and local events take place everywhere. Just take a look!
Other notable tours this summer:
So grab some friends and get out there this summer and see shows! We’ll see you on tour!
“There’s an air of love and happiness, and this is the Fresh Prince’s new definition of summer madness!”