Destinations, North America, Things to do

Music Festivals in North America. Your best experiences this summer

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There are not two festivals to be or feel the same and that’s a fact. Considering this, every single experience of this kind is worth being exploited and kept as special and unique as it is. Perhaps some of the most important things are not the passions that gather us all together in the same place for two or three days, or even an entire week, but being close to a genuine community. Not booking a plane, but the fact that thousands of people booked it for the same reason, and took some free days to enjoy what they love most.

It’s my true belief that there’s something special, other than the event itself, that relies in the empathy, the atmosphere, that brings people together and makes them feel like they know each other (and sometimes we even get to) and advocate for the same things.

1. Philadelphia Folk Festival

Only being at its 53rd edition means a lot – it says that not only the music is divine for the lovers of the genre, but the public is very devoted for coming every year for more than half a century. If Drive-By Trucker sounds familiar to you, you’d be more than happy to hear that Jason Isbell, former singer/guitarist is the one who you’ll going to hear, among many others. A highly dinamic performer with brilliant lyrics and a quite sensitive artistic inclination, many times compared to a post-modern poet more than just associated with an artist. Pennsylvania is the heart of folk-rock music, and this year’s going to be held between the 15th and the 17th of August.

A bonus concert on the campgrounds is what’s going to be the ‚after-party’, for the ticket-holders who are going to attend the full festival. Sturgill Simpson is something more metaphysical than just blues or country, folk or bluegrass.

Besides the concerts on the Main Stage, the festival keeps people engaged in returning each year with workshops, showcases and all kinds of other things that sound appealing even for those who aren’t necessarily huge folk music fans. Gene Shay is one of the extra reasons for which people are highly excited about the event. A smile that could fight thunderstorms, quirky humor and a nickname worth a billion editions from now on, the Godfather of this festival is one of the little things bringing people together and giving a sense of belonging.

And since the festival’s past its middle age, families are welcome here as much as young people eager to live an experience close to a tribute of good music. Being family-friendly means a lot for many of the participants. Puppeteers, storytellers and jugglers are going to make your kid feel the magic of this event as much as you do.

Singalongs, bonfires and getting the chance to see amazing artists and not necessarily on the stage are just some of the other bonuses of the festival. Bob Dylan or Tommy Smothers are just some of the artists who showed up at the event as spectators, for the sake of good music.

2. Decibel Festival

It’s one of the most appreciated events of live electronic music, combined with visual art and new media. Leading-edge interactive artistic projects are presented to over 25,000 people who come every year. The event lasts 5 days and it’s a great occasion to experience state-of-the-art sound and tech-based education.

And the best thing is that if you somehow miss it, there’s no problem. There are other approximately 50 events a year that happen under the umbrella of this project, from festival stages that are internationally popular and appreciated, to intimate events happening in clubs, at different occasions.

Between the 24th and the 28th of September this year there’s going to be an explosive multimedia event, and over a hundred DJs make this event so worth going to. All Gone Pete Tong along with Tensnake are going to end the festival this year, and missing it would only be wrong for anyone who loves electronic music and would have the chance to go and experience an event of such dimensions. Pete Tong is what the music evolution of this genre is all about during the last 20 years, and this British artist’s not only legendary for his contribution per se, as he is for the music itself.

3. Monterey Jazz Festival

The 57th annual jazz festival is going to be happening between 19th and 21st of September. It’s probably redundant to speak of its reputation and I’m going to say some things about the atmosphere instead. Eric Harald, Herbie Hancock, Gary Clark Jr, Cecil McLorin Salvant, Robert Glasper, Marcus Miller, Billy Childs and Eric Harland are only a few of the most important names you’ll be hearing here.

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This type of event speaks for itself, and regardless of the organization, there are always going to be thousands of people attending. And while this doesn’t mean that the organization team doesn’t do its best, it’s highly important for you to understand the kind of scale we’re talking about. Some of the most resonant names of the kind, make it opulent by nature. But you shouldn’t think of something for pretentious snobs, rather of some sensitive (or stodgy for those who’ve got no idea of this music whatsoever) music, either way complex and deep in itself – the kind of music that it’s truly food for thought instead of white noise to relax on.

For all of those who understand this kind of vibe, the energetic, vivid performances are going to be not only substantial in essence, but playful in presentation as well. Don’t make plans and don’t forget that the festival’s had attendance of 40,000 people per edition only, so book a place whenever you’ve got some time!

4. Osheaga

It happens in Canada and it brings together the most popular artists of the day. Outkast, Lorde, Arctic Monkeys, Jack White, Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds, Chase and Status, Awolnation, Likke Li are just some of the headliners of the event. The best thing is that this indie music festival takes place on five stages with different capacities, and the band set depends on how appreciated the artists are in the international community, which means that if you’re only going to see the late night concerts you’re here just for the best.

Since you all know Canada for the Internet rumors as being populated by polite people exclusively, one of the aspects in which this reflects is the fact that any kid aged 10 or smaller doesn’t have to pay the ticket – of course, if he’s with an adult. From medical staff to food and drink places on site, there’s nothing you should be concerned of. Your only purpose here should be having fun and the organizers are giving their best to make sure you will.

Copyrights: Mark Young

The accommodation, if you find it by their agency department, is indeed going to be more expensive than if you look for it yourself. Everything you’ll see on their site is a little overpriced, but if you’re willing to go to Canada just for this event and you’re from some place else, you probably wouldn’t mind paying $210 per night at your accommodation either.

The festival is worth it, it’s almost impossible to find a bad review from someone who’s been here at least once, and beside this warranty, there’s the people – who do behave as a large community. Problems with drugs and alcohol shouldn’t be taken into consideration, since the organizers are pretty restrictive.

5. Boston Calling

It’s really surprising how this festival managed to grow so quickly and gather on its scenes some of the most representative singers of our time. It’s very, very dynamic and full of life. One of the secrects of this festival is being able to always be up to date with the youth – maybe because it’s organized by young people – and knowing exactly what to offer.

The National, Lorde, Nas & The Roots, are just a few of the stars you’ll be seeing. The good news is you can buy tickets for only two days and you don’t necessarily have to have a 3-day ticket, in case you’ve got something else to do or you’re simply not interested in all the headliners.

On the other hand, we think you should love it. It’s really colossal compared to its level of seniority, by which we’d like to mention it’s a fairly new project. Managing to make some thousands of people come back every year when your’re at your 50th edition is not as hard as being popular and credible enough to make them trust your first times.

6. Newport Folk Festival

So think of a place that brings together Jack White, Ryan Adams, Mavis Staples, Kurt Vile and the Violators, Robert Hunter and many others. In 1959, for the first time around these lands, a renowned folk festival was first organized. Since then, without exception, people happily leave all their lives and annually decide to experience folk music – no strings attached.

You can come here by car, or even by bike if you’re lucky enough not to come from very far. Either way, from the 25th to 27th July you’ve got to attend this. It’s not just the music – it’s the amazing people, all serene and sociable, the great view of the water around the stages, it’s the history. All of these make you a special client of the event and the festival one of the classics.

Photo Credits: NY Times

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