Mid-Summer Festival Guide
by Stephen Slaybaugh

While some of this summer’s biggest music festivals (Pitchfork, Bonnaroo) have already come and gone, there are still plenty of events of varying scale being held before it’s time to put away those summer whites. Indeed, while once festivals seemed to be purely a British phenomenon, the last decade has seen countless smorgasbords of music pop up throughout the country. Looking at the calendar, with a bit of gas money, one could conceivably spend each of the summer’s remaining weekends taking in a healthy dose of music. Here’s the rundown.

Lollapalooza, Chicago, August 5–7
The grandaddy of American music festivals, Lollapalooza is no longer the traveling circus it once was, but having settled in Chicago for one weekend every year, it still provides some big names in one sitting. With seven stages, plus one geared for kids, the festival provides non-stop entertainment throughout its three days. Big names this year include Eminem, Foo Fighters and Coldplay, but there’s the plethora of slightly smaller acts worth catching too (The Pains of Being Pure at Heart, Lykke Li, Black Lips, etc.). Both three-day and one-day passes are sold out, but hey, that’s what Craigslist is for.

Escape to New York, Southampton, August 5–7
One of two new festivals to land this year out on Long Island in the posh environ of the Hamptons, Escape to New York is being staged by the folks responsible for the Secret Garden Party in the UK. The three-day festival’s main stage line-up is a mix of new and old, with stalwarts like Patti Smith and the Psychedelic Furs mingling with relative newcomers like Best Coast and Au Revoir Simone. There will also be a smaller acoustic stage highlighted by Savoir Adore and a dance tent featuring DJ sets by Alex English, VHS or Beta and Andy Rourke, among others. Camping accomodations are available, and there will be a shuttle running between the Southampton stops on the Long Island Railroad and from the Hampton Jitney drop-off. Both three-day passes ($275) and one-day tickets ($100) are still available, and the festival is offering free food vouchers with each purchase.

KahBang, Bangor, August 11–13
Agit readers should already be familiar with this three-day music festival via our giveaway last month. Part of a larger weeklong festival also including art and film, the event takes place along the waterfront of Bangor, Maine. The music gets under way on Thursday, with a “pre-game” show at the Sea Dog Brewing Company, before the shebang begins in earnest on Friday. With two large stages and one smaller stage, this year’s KahBang features a healthy dose of hip-hop, represented by artists like Atmosphere, Blueprint and Lupe Fiasco, on Friday, while Saturday leans to rock with Surfer Blood and My Morning Jacket, among others. Once the fest shuts down for the night, there will be afterparty performances at local bars. The festival offers a variety of ticket options, with a basic two-day pass being $80.

Outside Lands, San Francisco, August 12–14
Now in its third year, the Outside Lands Festival will descend upon San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park with more than 20 bands scheduled to perform on each of its three days. With also a DJ dome, the festival really provides something for music tastes of all persuasions. Headlining this year are Phish, Muse and Arcade Fire, but arriving early each day for Agit favs like Toro Y Moi, Sonny & the Sunsets, Ty Segall, and the Fresh & Onlys is highly advisable. Outside Lands also has a variety of ticketing options, though most are sold out. However, in addition to VIP passes, limited regular three-day passes can still be had for $199.50.

Music to Know, Easthampton, August 13–14
The other of the Hamptons music fests this year, Music to Know will take place at the Easthampton airport, so those with private jets should have no problem getting to and from the event. For everyone else, the festival has partnered with the Long Island Railroad and scheduled a special train to depart immediately following the festival to points west like Brooklyn and Manhattan. The inaugural line-up includes bigwigs like Vampire Weekend and Bright Eyes, but they are balanced with up-and-comers like Tame Impala and Dawes. While there are VIP packages, two-day passes are still available for $195 as are one-day tickets for $110.

Best Friends Day, Richmond, August 18–21
Now in its 10th year, Best Friends Day began as more of a summercamp reunion than music festival. While the event will still feature relay races and other similar activities, it now also features a stellar line-up of bands, most of which lean to the hardcore side of things. The now four-day affair takes place in Richmond, Virginia, and this year will be highlighted by punk legends Corrosion of Conformity, 7 Seconds and the Zero Boys. Tickets to each day are being sold separately, and while Friday’s show is already sold out, advance tickets can still be had for Thursday and Sunday for $18. (Advance tickets aren’t being sold for Saturday.)

FYF, Los Angeles, September 3
Originally known as the Fuck Yeah Fest, FYF is now in its eighth year. As last year’s festival was plagued with long lines at will call and overpriced water in sweltering heat, this year, FYF has been moved to a new location (near LA’s City Hall), partnered with a new production company, and is promising bottled water not to exceed $2. The one-day extravaganza will run from noon to midnight, with more than 30 bands performing. Must-sees include Guided by Voices, Olivia Tremor Control, Japandroids and Twin Sister. Tickets start at $35.