2016's 31 Hottest Country Tours and Festivals - Rolling Stone
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2016’s 31 Hottest Country Tours and Festivals

From Kenny Chesney and Luke Bryan’s stadium treks to Stagecoach and CMA Music Festival

Kenny Chesney

Kenny Chesney's Spread the Love Tour will be one of summer's biggest tickets.

Christopher Polk/Getty Images

As 2016 gets fully into gear, there will be myriad opportunities to catch one or more country stars on the road. From superstars Kenny Chesney and Luke Bryan to touring vets like Lee Brice and hot indie performers like Jason Isbell, there is something to please every taste. For maximum bang for the buck, there are also countless multi-day gatherings that package together top-tier talent on one bill, such as country's homecoming party CMA Music Festival in June. Here's the 31 must-see tours and festivals.

Kacey Musgraves

AUSTIN, TX - DECEMBER 31: Singer-songwriter Kacey Musgraves performs in concert at ACL Live on December 31, 2015 in Austin, Texas. (Photo by Rick Kern/WireImage)

Rick Kern/WireImage

Bunbury Music Festival & Buckle Up

Location: Cincinnati

Dates: June 3rd — June 5th

Headliners: TBA

Why You Should Go: Historically, Cincinnati has hosted two summer music fests, Buckle Up, which was all country (think: Willie Nelson, Marty Stuart, Emmy Lou Harris) and Bunbury, which was everything but. In 2015 the two were combined, offering a well-organized riverfront festival where Kacey Musgraves played one of her best shows of the year, along with a host of other acts, including Old Crow Medicine Show and Shakey Graves on well-spaced stages. This was a music fest for grown-ups, with decent food, decent drink, decent sightlines and enthusiastic acts. The festivals will be separate again in 2016, enabling Buckle Up to offer more country than it could as part of Bunbury, plus camping, so you can immerse yourself in the experience. Lineups have not yet been released for either festival. Buckle Up dates and ticket prices are still forthcoming.

Tickets: For Bunbury, starting at $135

Dwight Yoakum

CENTURY CITY, CA - AUGUST 08: Musician Dwight Yoakam performs onstage during the Annenberg Foundation and KCRW's 'Sound In Focus' Concert Series, with Dwight Yoakam and X at Annenberg Space For Photography on August 8, 2015 in Century City, California. (Photo by Chris Weeks/Getty Images for Annenberg Foundation)

Chris Weeks/Getty Images

Big Barrel Country Music Festival

Update: According to a statement on the festival's website, the event has since been canceled. No further details were available, but full refunds will be provided. 

Location: Dover, Delaware

Dates: June 24th — 26th

Headliners: Brad Paisley, Sam Hunt, Eric Church, along with Hank Williams Jr., Martina McBride, Kristian Bush and more

Why You Should Go: Delaware is a hotbed for country music, and this festival, held on the site of the eclectic rock Firefly Festival, boasts an especially varied lineup for fans in the DelMarVa area. Paisley, Hunt and Church bring radio hits and their own unique personalities as headliners, with an impressive allotment of country vets scattered about the weekend in Hank Williams Jr., Martina McBride, Mark Chesnutt and Dwight Yoakam. Jason Isbell is also on the bill, lending an air of Americana to the decidedly twangy proceedings.

Tickets: $149 for a general admission pass

Thomas Rhett

NASHVILLE, TN - NOVEMBER 01: Musician Thomas Rhett performs at the 10th anniversary "Miles & Music" concert on November 1, 2015 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by John Shearer/Getty Images)

John Shearer/Getty Images

FarmBorough

Update: According to a statement on the festival's website, the second annual FarmBorough has been canceled. Information on refunds can be found here.

Location: New York City

Dates: June 17th – 19th

Headliners: TBA

Why You Should Go: Last year was FarmBorough's first rodeo, which transformed New York's Randall's Island into the home of this major-league country festival, which hosted everyone from marquee names like Luke Bryan and Brad Paisley to then up-and-comers Chris Stapleton and Maddie & Tae. And despite some unseasonable downpours, 2015's inaugural run was a thrilling, if not very wet, display of talent and twang both old and new — and solid proof of the Big Apple's growing taste for all things southern. This year's lineup has yet to be announced, but expect to see a diverse representation of the genre including both indie kings and mainstream crooners.

Tickets: TBA

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