Summer 2016’s 30 Must-See Music Festivals – Rolling Stone
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Summer 2016’s 30 Must-See Music Festivals

From Newport Jazz Festival to Electric Daisy Carnival and beyond

30; Must-See; Summer; Music; Festivals; Rolling Stone; Hangout; Essence Festival; Pitchfork Music Festival; The Governors Ball

Music festivals will rock all corners of the continental United States this summer.

Illustration by Ryan Casey

No matter what you like or where you live, this summer almost certainly has a festival for you. Below are the 30 American summer festivals we're most excited about.

Lollapalooza; 30; Must-See; Summer; Music; Festivals; Rolling Stone

CHICAGO, IL - AUGUST 01: DJ/Producer Alesso performs during the 2015 Lollapalooza music festival at Grant Park on August 1, 2015 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by C Flanigan/FilmMagic,)

C Flanigan/FilmMagic/Getty


When: July 28th-31st

Where: Chicago, Illinois

Why Go: This year's Lollapalooza headliners trace the musical evolution of many a millennial: The Red Hot Chili Peppers (middle school), Radiohead (high school) and LCD Soundsystem (college and the abyss thereafter) will all be coming to Grant Park, pushing the acts that usually headline these things off to the second stages. Meanwhile, the side stages could draw some of the biggest crowds of the weekend. Major Lazer and Disclosure are the biggest EDM names, J. Cole and Future are the biggest rappers and Lana Del Rey could possibly upstage everyone. Come early for newcomers like D.R.A.M. and Potty Mouth, but stock up on sunscreen at the Walgreens across the street.

Must-See Acts: Radiohead, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Lana Del Rey, Halsey, Jane's Addiction, Haim, the 1975, Major Lazer, Chris Stapleton, Grimes, Nathaniel Rateliff & the Night Sweats

Official Site:

Newport Jazz Fest; 30; Must-See; Summer; Music; Festivals; Rolling Stone

Douglas Mason/Getty

Newport Jazz Fest

When: July 29th-31st

Where: Newport, Rhode Island

Why Go: This three-stage daytime festival located in a seaside state park has hosted some of the jazz world's most legendary performances since its establishment in 1954. Envy the free view enjoyed by local yachters as the cream of the international jazz scene's soloists, combos and big bands celebrate jazz's majestic past, present, and future. Savor the fact that liquor has only been served since 2007.

Must-See Acts: Chick Corea Trilogy, Norah Jones, Charles Lloyd New Quartet, Kamasi Washington, Steve Coleman and Five Elements, the Bad Plus, Gregory Porter, Darcy James Argue's Secret Society, Nels Cline, Mary Halvorson, Angélique Kidjo

Official Site:

Hard Summer; 30; Must-See; Summer; Music; Festivals; Rolling Stone

POMONA, CA - AUGUST 01: A general view of atmosphere and the girls of HARD Summer at the HARD Summer Music Festival 2015 at Fairplex on August 1, 2015 in Pomona, California. (Photo by Gabriel Olsen/Getty Images)

Gabriel Olsen/Getty

Hard Summer

When: July 30th-31st

Where: Fontana, California

Why Go: Hard cordially invites you to a world where dubstep never died, trap's still hot and "tropical house" is someplace where L.A.'s one-percent go to escape the stressful Beverly Hills lifestyle. On the last weekend of July, Angelenos can head east to rage and rave on the lawn of the Auto Club Speedway. Here, rap isn't just source material for EDM to co-opt and repackage but a neighboring zone on a shared continuum. Ice Cube and Major Lazer headline a lineup that includes Travis Scott, Boys Noize, Dizzee Rascal, Felix Da Housecat, Kaytranada, Flosstradamus and DJ Khaled, whose Snapchat will likely provide the definitive festival commentary.

Must-See Acts: Ice Cube, Major Lazer, Pretty Lights, Dillon Francis, Dizzee Rascal, Lil Uzi Vert

Official Site:

Outside Lands Music and Arts Festival; 30; Must-See; Summer; Music; Festivals; Rolling Stone

Andrew Jorgensen

Outside Lands

When: August 5th-7th

Where: San Francisco, California

Why Go: Outside Lands is set within San Francisco's expansive and dusty Golden Gate bowl, encompassing four stages, a comedy tent, a DJ tent, and a stellar assembly of food booths and wine tastings. There are plenty of last-minute surprises, too: In 2015, Deltron 3030 reunited for an unannounced set, while Hot Chip knocked out a DJ set before their main stage performance. This year, Radiohead — who headlined the first Outside Lands in 2008 — returns for a Friday he