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Which Summer Festival Is Right for You?

by Rob Harvilla

Which Summer Festival Is Right for You?

About this playlist

So this year you're looking to go to one of these long-weekend, crazy-lineup summer music fetes you've been reading so much about: your Lollapaloozas, your Bonnaroos, your Sasquatches. But these suckers are expensive, and time-intensive, and requiring of profound physical/emotional investment. There can be only one, probably, unless you're 22 years old and crazy loaded. So let's break down nine of the biggest names -- listed here in calendar order -- to try and find your perfect fit. Good luck, and as Kurt Vonnegut did not actually advise, "wear sunscreen."

Name: Sasquatch

Lineup Highlights: Jack White, Beck, Bon Iver, The Shins

Dates: May 25-28

Location: The Gorge in Washington state, which is probably farther from Seattle than you think.

General Vibe: Woodsy cordiality, like a Cracker Barrel for iPad-toting young professionals.

Clientele: Look, dudes, if you don't have a beard then you're probably gonna be super-uncomfortable.

How Muddy Am I Going to Get? Given the camping-heavy vibe, probably extremely, unless you're toting along one badass yurt.

Name: Bonnaroo

Lineup Highlights: Radiohead, Phish, The Beach Boys, Bon Iver

Dates: June 7-10

Location: Manchester, Tenn.

General Vibe: The loudest, scuzziest, raddest camping trip ever.

Clientele: Beach Boys fans mingling with Skrillex fans mingling with Kenny Rogers fans, which I think we can all agree will be hilarious.

How Muddy Am I Going to Get? So muddy you will be rendered unrecognizable, even to your parents.

Name: CMA Music Festival

Lineup Highlights: Carrie Underwood, The Band Perry, Rascal Flatts

Dates: June 7-10

Location: Nashville

General Vibe: Reverent awesomeness, whether the dude onstage is Kenny Rogers or Eric Church.

Clientele: Country radio fanatics with absolutely no interest in going to any of these other festivals. How Muddy Am I Going to Get? Given the high volume of pickup truck owners, look out for parking-lot peel-outs.

Name: Electric Daisy Carnival Las Vegas

Lineup Highlights: Tiesto, Avicii, Bassnectar, Afrojack.

Dates: June 8-10

Location: Sin City, dogg.

General Vibe: Like a living, breathing alarmist 60 Minutes story on Kids Today.

Clientele: Younger than you, cooler than you, higher than you in several senses.

How Muddy Am I Going to Get? This will be the least of your delights/concerns.

Name: Summerfest

Lineup Highlights: Kelly Clarkson, Train, and a cast of thousands. Dates: June 27-July 1, July 3-8

Location: Milwaukee, Wis.

General Vibe: Rampant, life-affirming eclecticism: Lady Antebellum! tUnE-yArDs! Tiesto! Iron Maiden! Aerosmith!

Clientele: Classic rock fanatics and modern country fanatics, abruptly realizing how much they have in common.

How Muddy Am I Going to Get? If you replace "muddy" with "drunk," then, well, uh, obliteratingly.

Name: Pitchfork

Lineup Highlights: Feist, Godspeed You! Black Emperor, Vampire Weekend, A$AP Rocky.

Dates: July 13-15

Location: Chicago

General Vibe: Elaborately crafted nonchalance.

Clientele: Reformed indie rock snobs who will show up for Feist/ Hot Chip/Godspeed etc., but will be willing to grudgingly admit it when Kendrick Lamar/( [AraabMUZIK]http://www.napster.com/goto?rcid=art.38581762)/ Danny Brown etc. turn out to be way better.

How Muddy Am I Going to Get? Mud is not permitted at the Pitchfork Festival under any circumstances.

Name: Lollapalooza

Lineup Highlights: The Black Keys, Black Sabbath, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Jack White.

Dates: August 3-5

Location: Chicago

General Vibe: Hot, crowded and nonetheless euphoric.

Clientele: Old-school (or just old) lifers who still remember the Jane's Addiction/ Pearl Jam fetes of the '90s, mingling with underage scamps who are only there to see Avicii.

How Muddy Am I Going to Get? Not terribly unless there's a reprise of last year's apparently biblical rainstorm that turned Deadmau5's set into the Second Coming.

Name: Gathering of the Juggalos

Lineup Highlights: Insane Clown Posse and a supporting cast of total weirdos.

Dates: August 8-12

Location: Cave-in-Rock, Ill.

General Vibe: Not as hedonistic/violent/uncouth as you're picturing, but still.

Clientele: All the kids you ignored/ridiculed in high school who actually turn out to be pretty cool, face paint notwithstanding.

How Muddy Am I Going to Get? Depends on how skilled you are at dodging projectiles.

Name: Outside Lands

Lineup Highlights: Metallica, Stevie Wonder, Neil Young, Grandaddy.

Dates: August 10-12

Location: San Francisco

General Vibe: Uneasy but relatively stable détente among Metallica fans at the very least willing to not actively riot during preceding sets by Norah Jones, Justice or Andrew Bird.

Clientele: Tall, gawky dudes who work for digital music services who are very, very excited to see Grandaddy.

How Muddy Am I Going to Get? Not very, but look up that old Mark Twain quote about summers in San Francisco.