The Ultimate Guide To Music Festivals

Travel & Adventure ~ 26 February 2013 ~ 0 Comments

From Z-Life magazine:

Insider tips on how to plan and what to pack for the country’s biggest musical parties

Whether you like jamming to country music or moving your body to Latin beats, hundreds of festivals across the country let you rock out with people who have a passion for the same type of vibe. “Festivals are all about community,” says Jeff Krasno, co-founder of Wanderlust Festivals, a series of gatherings that combine live music with yoga, inspirational speakers and farm-to-table food. “They bring people together who tend to share similar values in an environment that’s all about music, dance and fun.”

Many festivals have multiple performances happening at the same time, and center around a specifi c theme. Take, for example, the first-ever Woodstock Festival in the summer of ’69, billed as “three days of music and peace.” Roughly half a million people gathered on a 600-acre dairy farm in New York to hear 32 artists perform – including Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix and Joan Baez. That premiere festival forever changed the history of rock ‘n’ roll. It also proved that people who come together to celebrate music can even change the world – and have a blast doing it.

To maximize your own festival-going enjoyment, come with an open mind. “Many festivals bring thousands of people together in a small area,” says Krasno.”You’ll have a better time if you go into the experience knowing that you won’t have much personal space.”

It’s also a good idea to map out a rough schedule of the bands you want to see to ensure that you don’t miss your favorite artists, all while steering clear of over planning. “Some of the greatest memories happen when you leave your schedule behind and allow yourself free time to just explore,” says Krasno. “You may have come to see, say, Coldplay, but are surprised to discover you’re blown away by a band you’ve never even heard of before after stumbling upon them playing on an obscure side stage.” The energy of the crowd only electrifies these moments, and being able to share the experiences with others is what makes music festivals so special.

FESTIVAL GEAR GUIDE

These essentials will help keep you healthy and comfortable at your next music fest.

Water bottle Hydration is key when you’re dancing – especially under an intense sun. Bring your own water bottle rather than buying plastic to minimize waste.

Lip Balm Protect lips from the elements with lip balm. One to try: eos Lip Balm Smooth Spheres with soothing she a butter and jojoba oil. ($3.29 at drugstores)

Sun protection It’s easy to forget to apply sunscreen when you’re outdoors having fun, so try a longwearing option such as Neutrogena Ultimate Sport Sun block Spray, which resists water and sweat. ($10.49; neutrogena.com)

Germ fighters Skip washing hands in the long bathroom lines and keep germs at bay with an anti-bacterial arsenal, such as Clean Well’s To-Go Disinfectant Sprays and Wipes. ($4.29 at drugstores)

Fast-drying clothing Bring quick-dry clothing for when you’re sweating under the sun or getting drenched in a downpour. Fleece, a quick-dry option, is also vital at night for when temperatures plunge.

Well-worn shoes Few things ruin a good time faster than aching feet. You’re going to be standing, walking and dancing for hours, so wear sneakers or sandals that you’ve already broken in to keep feet happy.

Camera Some festivals offer interactive photo booths, but it’s best to pack your own camera to preserve memories. Or snap pics with your smart phone so you can update your Facebook and Twitter feeds in real time.

SPOTLIGHT ON WANDERLUST

The making of a music festival

The concept for Wanderlust Festivals was born when Jeff Krasno, co-founder of the record label and artist management company Velour Music Group, got inspired by the yoga community he saw fl owing in and out of his wife Schuyler’s Manhattan studio. The event is different from other music fests in that it combines live music with late-night DJ dance parties, daily yoga classes, hiking, organic food and wine, and inspirational speakers such as Deepak Chopra – all in stunning natural settings.

Now in its fourth year, Wanderlust Festivals’ popularity only continues to spread with more than 21,000 people attending in 2011. This year, the festivals are returning to Squaw Valley, Calif. And Stratton Mountain, Vt., as well as expanding domestically to Copper Mountain, Colo., and internationally to Whistler, British Columbia. They’ve even opened a permanent venue in Austin, Texas, that offers live music with yoga and organic food year-round.

“There’s a growing cultural movement toward more mindful living, and concepts such as ethical consumerism and fair-trade fashion that seemed progressive back in the ’70s are now mainstream,” says Krasno. “We wanted to provide a place for people who share these values to come together and commune.” To find out more and buy festival tickets, visit wanderlustfestival.com.

PLAN YOUR YEAR AROUND THE MUSIC

A month-by-month roundup of the coolest festivals happening across the country

JANUARY Chicago Bluegrass and Blues Chicago, Ill.

The windy (and snowy) city brings summer musical festival vibes indoors when it’s cold outside with five stages and more than 40 acts. New artists can compete in the Last Banjo Standing Contest for a chance to be added to next year’s lineup.

FEBRUARY Noise Pop San Francisco, Calif.

Indie music lovers can rock out to six nights of shows spanning more than a dozen venues in the Bay Area, as well as hit art and film events related to alternative rock.

MARCH Ultra Music Festival Miami, Fla.

More than 25,000 people get their groove on at this three-day dance party featuring electronic music. Also this month: South by Southwest in Austin, Texas.

APRIL Coachella Indio, Calif.

Artists from Paul McCartney to Radiohead to Kanye West perform at this diverse music and interactive art festival held over two separate weekends.

MAY Summer Camp Music Festival Chillicothe, Ill.

This family-friendly event in Three Sisters Park offers a kids camp, on-site camping, musician workshops, and more than 65 shows, including Moe and Galactic.

JUNE Bonnaroo Manchester, Tenn.

This four-day, eco-friendly fest happens on a 700-acre farm outside of Nashville and showcases genres from country to hip-hop to jazz.

JULY Gathering of the Vibes Bridgeport, Conn.

Though it started 17 years ago as a memorial party for the Grateful Dead’s Jerry Garcia, it’s attracting more than hippies with headliners such as Kung Fu and Keller Williams.

AUGUST Electric Zoo New York City, N.Y.

Head to Randall’s Island for a hedonistic, electronic dance party. Those craving a variety of genres can instead opt for Lollapalooza in Chicago.

SEPTEMBER Monterey Jazz Festival Monterey, Calif.

Started in 1958 with Billie Holiday and Louis Armstrong as headliners, this is one of the world’s longest-running jazz fests. On the other end of the spectrum is Burning Man in Black Rock Desert, Nevada, which began as a bonfire ritual on the summer solstice in 1986.

OCTOBER Austin City Limits Austin, Texas Named after the PBS concert series, the gathering is held in a public park and attracts famous acts such as Ray LaMontagne, Arcade Fire and Stevie Wonder.

NOVEMBER Anti-Pop Music Festival Orlando, Fla.

Florida’s biggest underground music festival stars local, national, under-the-radar, and big-name artists alike.

DECEMBER Treme Creole Gumbo Festival New Orleans, La.

Celebrating the region’s role in the birth of jazz, this festival uses gumbo, “the proverbial melting pot” as a symbol of the city’s inclusive music culture.

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