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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.

Eaux Claires; 30; Must-See; Summer; Music; Festivals; Rolling Stone

Mike Diskin

Eaux Claires

When: August 12th-August 13th

Where: Eau Claire, Wisconsin

Why Go: Bon Iver's Justin Vernon still lives and records in his western Wisconsin hometown, and last year he made an additional investment in his community, partnering with the National's Aaron Dessner to bring a new art and music festival to a farm just outside of the city. This year's Eaux Claires will be your only chance to catch a performance from Day of the Dead, Aaron and Bryce Dessner's all-star Grateful Dead tribute project.

Must-See Acts: Day of the Dead, Bon Iver, James Blake, Shabazz Palaces, Erykah Badu, Beach House, Vince Staples, Melvins, Unknown Mortal Orchestra, Mavis Staples, Bruce Hornsby and the Noisemakers

Official Site: eauxclaires.com

Lock’n; 30; Must-See; Summer; Music; Festivals; Rolling Stone

Clay Cook, Keith Moseley, Jimmy De Martini, Michael Travis, Michael Kang, Zac Brown, Bill Nershi,John Driskell Hopkins, and Kyle Hollingsworth of the Zac Brown Incident performs on day 2 of the Lockn' Festival at Oak Ridge Farm on Friday September 6, 2013 in Arrington Virginia.(Photo by John Davisson/Invision/AP)

John Davisson/Invision/AP

Lockn’ Festival

When: August 25th-28th

Where: Arrington, Virginia

Why Go: Don't come knockin' when Lockn' is rockin'. It's all about the music at this no-frills affair on a bucolic farm nestled in the Blue Ridge Mountains. Lockn's unique two side-by-side stage set-up ensure that the music never stops and you never need to make any tough scheduling decisions – the jamband-friendly event is noted for inventive act-to-act transitions. Expect late-night sets by Joe Russo's Almost Dead to give headliners Phish and Ween a run for their nugs.

Must-See Acts: Phish, Ween, My Morning Jacket, Joe Russo's Almost Dead, Umphrey's McGee, White Denim, Tedeschi Trucks Band, Donna the Buffalo, Hard Working Americans, Charles Bradley & His Extraordinaires, Twiddle

Official Site: locknfestival.com

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

BROOKLYN, NY - AUGUST 22: Grace Jones performs onstage at Afropunk Fest at Commodore Barry Park on August 22, 2015 in Brooklyn, New York. (Photo by Roger Kisby/Getty Images)

Roger Kisby/Getty


When: August 27th-28th

Where: Brooklyn, New York

Why Go: Afropunk began as a showcase for African-American punk rockers, often excluded from the predominantly white subculture. But over the years the festival, held in Brooklyn's Commodore Barry Park, has expanded to take in a greater variety of black music, while still maintaining its original edge. Among this year's highlights is a "Powerjam" featuring members of Eighties icons Bad Brains, Fishbone and Living Colour.

Must-See Acts: Ice Cube, Janelle Monáe, Tyler the Creator, TV on the Radio, Flying Lotus, the Internet, Cee Lo Green, George Clinton, Angel Haze, Kelela, Saul Williams, Skunk Anansie, Shabazz Palaces, Thundercat, Downtown Boys

Official Site: afropunkfest.com/brooklyn/

Kanye West; FYF Fest; 30; Must-See; Summer; Music; Festivals; Rolling Stone

LOS ANGELES, CA - AUGUST 22: Kanye West performs at FYF Fest 2015 at the LA Sports Arena & Exposition Park on August 22, 2015 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Gabriel Olsen/FilmMagic)

Gabriel Olsen/FilmMagic/Getty

FYF Fest

When: August 27th-28th

Where: Los Angeles, California

Why Go: Formerly known as Fuck Yeah Fest, this onetime showcase for the cream of the punk crop has evolved into a major stop for summer touring acts. King Kendrick headlines on Saturday, while a reunited LCD Soundsystem and legendary disco queen Grace Jones top the Sunday bill. Further down the lineup, check for sets by rising stars like Kamaiyah, Julia Holter, Bicep, Jagwar Ma and Kelela.

Must-See Acts: Kendrick Lamar, LCD Soundsystem, Tame Impala, Grace Jones, Air, Beach House, Grimes, Rae Sremmurd, Young Thug, Moby 

Official Site: fyffest.com

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

SEATTLE, WA - SEPTEMBER 07: General atmosphere of day 3 of the 2015 Bumbershoot Festival at Seattle Center on September 7, 2015 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Timothy Hiatt/Getty Images)

Timothy Hiatt/Getty


When: September 2nd-4th

Where: Seattle, Washington

Why Go: Long before music festivals became a regular summer ritual in the U.S., there was Bumbershoot. The Seattle Center, the sprawling public space located just north of downtown built for the 1962 World's Fair, has hosted a music festival in some form or another for more than 40 years. Seattle has grown alongside Bumbershoot, allowing festivalgoers to enjoy an eclectic and star-packed array of performers in the shadow of the Space Needle.

Must-See Acts: Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, Death Cab for Cutie, Kygo, Tame Impala, Halsey, DJ Snake, Bryson Tiller, Fetty Wap, Kamasi Washington, Margo Price, Explosions in the Sky

Official Site: bumbershoot.com

Beyonce; Made in America Festival; 30; Must-See; Summer; Music; Festivals; Rolling Stone

PHILADELPHIA, PA - SEPTEMBER 05: Beyonce performs onstage during the 2015 Budweiser Made in America Festival at Benjamin Franklin Parkway on September 5, 2015 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for Anheuser-Busch)

Kevin Mazur/Getty

Made in America Festival

When: September 3rd-4th

Where: Philadelphia, Pennsyvania

Why Go: Jay Z's annual Labor Day party on Philadelphia's Benjamin Franklin Parkway has yet to announce its lineup, but given that his streaming-music service Tidal is among its official partners, don't be surprised if artists who recently launched their albums there are among the headliners. (Kanye? Rihanna? Beyoncé? Speculation is fun!) Food trucks and beer gardens will satisfy any end-of-summer culinary cravings.

Must-See Acts: TBA

Official Site: madeinamericafest.com

Hopscotch Music Festival; 30; Must-See; Summer; Music; Festivals; Rolling Stone

Josh Brasted

Hopscotch Music Festival

When: September 8th-10th

Where: Raleigh, North Carolina

Why Go: Their 2016 line-up hasn't been announced yet, but while other music fests depend on stadium-filling acts and a forced mashing of eclectic styles, Hopscotch continues to provide bills that are a refreshing change during festival season. Who else could boast a group of headliners that ranged from the anarchic noise of Godspeed You! Black Emperor to country iconoclast Dwight Yoakum to classic punks X?

Must-See Acts: TBA

Official Site: hopscotchmusicfest.com

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