The Midwesterner’s Guide to Music Festivals Pt. 1: In Our Own Backyard


As the last of winter melts away and spring is set upon us, music fans the world over are joining in a collective daydream of something long lost to the months of cold. It is something loved and dearly missed. It is a sanctuary. It is a place for movers, shakers, and music makers. It is a long travel into the middle of nowhere. At the same time it’s just a short trip into the city. It is drum circle, and yet it’s a turntable and subs. It is an electric guitar, too. It is the great outdoors. It is sunny days and moonlit nights spent dancing under the stars. It is the unmistakable smell of patchouli and shenanigans. What is our dream, you ask? Simply put: Festie Season.

Here at IndyMojo, we’ve undertaken a project to help you decide where your summer mischief will be best spent. We’re compiling a festival roundup of sorts, detailing the ins and outs of America’s best music festivals. By no means should this be viewed as an all-inclusive or all-encompassing guide. Instead, it should be regarded as an informative look into festivals both large and small, created with the intent of helping you find your own unique path for the summer.

Because this is such an immense project to undertake, the guide will be broken up into a multi-part mini-series. For part one of the Midwesterner’s Guide to Music Festivals, the focus will be on festivals located in the heart of our home, the Midwest. Here goes…

1. Summer Camp Music Festival

Summer Camp Photo

When: May 23rd-25th, Thursday Pre-Party May 22nd

Where: Chillicothe, IL

Cost: $212 GA* (tier 2), $33 Thursday Pre-Party GA*

*Prices Include all facility and service fees

Style: Multi-genre focused on jam and EDM

Extra Attractions

Late night barn sets (extra ticket required), musician workshops, community activism workshops, Soulshine tent, and kid’s area.

Things to Know

No car side camping (be prepared to walk with your camping gear). Limited shade in most camping areas, no outside alcohol allowed.

One of the largest festivals in the Midwest, the 14th annual Summer Camp Music Festival will take place this year in Chillicothe, IL. Founded in 2001, Summer Camp has grown from an initial attendance of 1,000 to over 15,000 in recent years and has previously hosted acts such as Moe., Umphrey’s McGee, Widespread Panic, Pretty Lights, The Flaming Lips, Skrillex, George Clinton & Parliament Funkadelic, and many more.

As for Summer Camp 2014, the lineup has an incredible mix of both organic and electronic music, and one will be hard pressed to find a better combination of artists in once place this summer. To reiterate plainly, this year’s lineup is INSANE: Bassnectar, Umphrey’s, Lotus, Yonder, EOTO, and Trey, all on the same lineup. Say what!?

Some key things to remember, though, there are extremely limited forest camping spots so plan on bringing extra sunshades for your tent and camping area. Outside alcoholic beverages aren’t allowed in the park either, so plan accordingly if you want to get your buzz on over the weekend.

All in all, Summer Camp is one of the must-attend festivals of the summer, especially for those living within a few hundred miles. The acts listed below barely even scratch the surface of the Summer Camp, and there are still more announcements to come. There’s a little something for everyone in Chillicothe this year, head on over to the Summer Camp site to check the rest of the lineup out! 

Headliners (More to be announced)

-Moe. (x3)

-Umphrey’s McGee (x3)

-Bassnectar

-Trey Anastasio Band (x2)

-Primus

-Slightly Stoopid

-EOTO

-Zac Brown Band

Deeper Lineup Surprises

-Yonder Mountain String Band

-Lotus

-Keller Williams

-Gramatik

-Mimosa

-Beats Antique

-Lettuce

-The Werks

-The Devil Makes Three

-The Floozies

-Cosby Sweater

-UV Hippo

-Manic Focus

 

2. Electric Forest 

Sunset over Rothbury, MI

Sunset over Rothbury, MI

When: June 26th-29th

Where: Rothbury, MI

Cost: $265 GA plus ticket fees

Style: Jam and EDM

Extra Attractions

Sherwood Forest, silent disco, numerous workshops, additional curated events in the Tripolee area.

Electric forest is held at the Double JJ Resort, infamous for the whimsical Rothbury Music Festivals held there in 2008 and 2009. Since then, the festival has transformed into a new beast. For the fourth consecutive year, the Double JJ Resort will be converted into the Electric Forest, a vibrant playground for the mind, body, and soul. For those of you who been to the psychedelic Mecca known as EF, it is a sight to behold.

A mulit-genre festival that highlights both organic and electronic music, Electric Forest has top-notch artists from all styles to keep any music lover enthralled for days. Ranging from three nights of Cheese (with one night billed as the Ms. Lauryn Hill Incident) to sets by Xavier Rudd, Papadosio, and The Glitch Mob, there is a musical diversity on the EF bill that will keep everybody entranced. Whether you love jam, electronic, and/or everything in between; you will find what you’re looking for up in Rothbury.

The luminous Sherwood Forest

The luminous Sherwood Forest

Located in the heart of the festival grounds, Sherwood Forest is the optical masterpiece that Electric forest is named after; it comes complete with light, sound, visuals, and all things merry. It is a place of wonder, amazement, and indescribable astonishment that inspires awe to all who pass through it. Sherwood Forest alone is enough reason to go.

Car side camping is a big plus at Electric Forest, you’ll be able to pack a little more without worrying about carrying everything in and out of the festival. As with Summer Camp, though, the camping grounds are in an open field so plan to bring a source of shade.

Headliners (More to be announced)

-The String Cheese Incident (x3)

-Steve Angello

-STS9 (x2)

-Lauryn Hill

-Zeds Dead

-Flying Lotus

-The Glitch Mob

-Stephen Marley

-EOTO

-Zedd

Deeper Lineup Surprises

-12th Planet

-Papadosio

-Paper Diamond

-Bro Safari

-Emancipator Ensemble

-Conspirator

-Rising Appalachia

-Xavier Rudd

-Zoogma

 

3. Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival 

The 11th annual Bonnaroo, 2012

The 11th annual Bonnaroo, 2012

When: June 12th-15th

Where: Manchester, TN

Cost: $285 GA plus service fees

Style: Multi-genre encompassing all styles of music.

Extra Attractions

Silent disco, comedy theatre, cinema, on-site newspaper, The Academy (interactive arts experience and workshops), poster art exhibit, water slide, Centeroo fountain, yoga, kid’s area.

Things to Know

It’s freakin’ hot! Be sure to stock up on sunshades and water before this festival. Due to the dirt in the air, you might want to bring a gangster bandana as well.

What do Elton John, Kanye West, and Skrillex have in common? They’re all playing Bonnaroo! If you haven’t heard of the infamous ‘Roo yet, you’ve been buried deeper than just under a rock. For 4 days, Manchester, TN is home to one of the most eclectic and headliner-centric lineups in the world. Bringing heavy hitters in from too many countries to count, there’s something there for music lovers of all shapes and sizes.

If it’s EDM that works you up, check out Skrillex, Kaskade, and The Glitch Mob. If you’re big into the indie scene, head over to see Pheonix, The Arctic Monkeys, or Broken Bells. If it’s folk and Americana that gets you going, Neutral Milk Hotel, Yonder Mountain String Band, and Ed Helms’ Bluegrass Superjam will do quite nicely. For you metalheads, Meshuggah and Mastodon made their way onto the bill. Literally, every genre is represented here, and it’s beautiful.

The infamous Centeroo Fountain

The infamous Centeroo Fountain

In addition to the music, Bonnarroo offers some of the most creative extras that one may come across at a festival this summer. There’s a comedy theatre, an air-conditioned cinema, a solar powered stage, a waterslide, a salon (ha.), an on-site newspaper, a beer garden, a silent auction, and much much more.

Remember, though, that it’s almost guaranteed to be a scorcher. Bring out the sombreros, bandanas, and crazy lids to keep cool. Bring the tarps, tapestries, and easy-ups to provide shade. Bring extra gallons of water and bottles sunscreen to keep hydrated and safe. Basically, prepare for a middle Tennessee campout in June. Don’t let us scare you, though. If you’re prepared then there’s nothing to worry about.

After all, you’ll be dancing your ass off day and night to some of the best acts in the world. You’ll be basking in the mushroom fountain in Centeroo. You’ll be raving it up in the silent disco. And, on the ride home, you’ll be calling up your buddies to ask why they didn’t grab a ticket and come with.

Headliners (More to be announced)

-Elton John

-Kanye West

-Jack White

-Kaskade

-Arctic Monkeys

-The Flaming Lips

-Neutral Milk Hotel

-The Bluegrass Situation Superjam hosted by Ed Helms

-Superjam with Skrillex and Friends

Deeper Lineup Surprises 

-John Butler Trio

-Umphrey’s McGee

-Slightly Stoopid

-The Glitch Mob

-Yonder Mountain String Band

-Break Science

 

4. Paradise Music & Arts Festival 

Paradise Music and Arts Fesival 2014

Paradise Music and Arts Fesival 2014

When: July 11th and 12th

Where: Hustonville, KY

Cost: Early Bird, $60, GA at the Gate, $80

Style: Multi-genre focused on jam and EDM

Extra Attractions

25-30 minute professional fireworks show, yoga, workshops, live art/visual performances, hoop troupes.

Things to Know

There are only 500 total tickets available so plan on purchasing yours early!

Paradise Music & Arts Festival is a new kid on the block and a force to be reckoned with. For a first year festival, the lineup is chock full of insanely talented regional and national acts, and it’s near the top of the list for don’t miss smaller festivals this summer. A 2-day festival, lovers of jam, jamtronic, EDM, bluegrass and more will want to call this festival home for the weekend, and it’s looking to be a rip roaring good time!

Set in the rolling hills of Echo Acres in Hustonville, KY, the camping area is scenic and relaxed. The lineup boasts top acts such as: The Werks, Dopapod, Zoogma, Govinda, and Moon Hooch; lending an experimental vibe to this festival. Get your tickets quickly, though, with only 500 tickets to be sold you don’t want to sleep on this one!

Headliners (More to be announced)

-The Werks

-Dopapod (x2)

-Zoogma

-Govinda

-Kaleidoscope Jukebox

-Moon Hooch

-IndigoSun

Deeper Lineup Surprises

-Broccoli Samurai

-The Macpodz

-Blue Moon Soup

-Spankalicious

-The New Old Calvalry

 

5. Phases of the Moon Music and Arts Festival

Phases of the Moon Music and Arts Festival 2014

Phases of the Moon Music and Arts Festival 2014

When: September 11th-14th

Where: Danville, IL

Cost: $230 GA plus ticket fees (tier 1), extra costs apply depending on camping location.

Style: Multi-genre focused on rock/jam/bluegrass/funk

Extra Attractions

Tthe Sanctuary, numerous workshops, 170-acre lake on-site, hiking trails, fishing (with valid IL fishing license), and kid’s area.

Phases of the Moon is a first-year, 4-day, all jam/rock/bluegrass/funk camping festival held at the 3,000 acre Kennekuk County Park in Central Illinois. It will be a funky spot for a festival; the property comes complete with turn-of-the-century buildings, prairie lands, and several lakes, and streams on-site. The Sanctuary, and everything that goes with it, is an exciting little tidbit from the festival’s site preview too, head over to their page for an in-depth description of what it is!

Musically, the festival boasts an all-organic lineup, meaning that there isn’t a single DJ on the bill. Be prepared to jam out for days with Widespread (two sets), Bob Weir, Gov’t Mule, and many more. Art will also be a big focus of the festival with interactive sculpture, live art, and performance art playing an integral part of Phases of the Moon. 

Headliners (More to be announced)

-Widespread Panic (x2)

-Bob Weir & Ratdog

-Lunar Landing Conspiracy

-Railroad Earth

-Tea Leaf Green

-Tedeschi Trucks Band

-Gov’t Mule

Deeper Lineup Surprises

-Galactic

-Dumpstaphunk

-Soulive

-The Main Squeeze

-Moon Hooch

-Cornmeal

-The Rumpke Mountain Boys

Next in the series: The Midwesterner’s Guide to Music Festivals Pt. 2 : On The Front Porch