Headliners: Bon Jovi, Foo Fighters, Blink-182, Skrillex, Brand New, the Gaslight Anthem, All American Rejects, Jimmy Eat World, Incubus, Mac Miller
Where: Asbury Park, N.J.
When: May 18-20

Promoted as the largest beach-based music festival in the U.S., the 10th annual Bamboozle offers more than 100 acts. This year the sounds will continue well into the night, as the lineup has expanded to include afterparties at multiple venues.


Headliners: Rob Zombie, Chickenfoot, Creed, Megadeth, Slash, Queensrÿche, Chevelle, Jackyl, Theory of a Deadman, Hellyeah
Where: Pryor, Okla.
When: May 25-27

The sixth edition of the event organizers tout as “America’s biggest Memorial Day weekend party” serves up an eardrum-endangering smorgasbord of more than 70 hard rock and heavy metal acts spread across four stages. VH1’s Eddie Trunk returns as MC for the festival, which last year drew more than 35,000 fans to the concert site just outside Tulsa.



Headliners: Radiohead, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Phish,
the Beach Boys, Bon Iver, the Avett Brothers, the Shins, Foster the People, Feist, the Roots
Where: Manchester, Tenn.
When: June 7-10

Among the major acts performing at this year’s Bonnaroo will be the reunited Beach Boys lineup of Brian Wilson, Mike Love, Al Jardine, Bruce Johnston and David Marks, celebrating the legendary group’s 50th anniversary. Jam-band mainstay Phish is scheduled to perform two full sets during the festival.


Headliners: Brad Paisley, Lady Antebellum, Glen Campbell, Carrie Underwood, Dierks Bentley, Faith Hill, the Mavericks, Rascal Flatts, Blake Shelton, Martina McBride
Where: Nashville
When: June 7-10

Country legend Glen Campbell, currently on what he has said will be his final tour, will be among the artists at this year’s CMA Music Festival. Among the other country giants set to hit the stage are the freshly reunited Mavericks, who played their first major show together since 2003 at April’s Stagecoach Festival.


Headliners: Kid Rock, Willie Nelson, Sheryl Crow, Gov’t Mule, Tim McGraw, Zac Brown Band, Alan Jackson, Eric Church, Needtobreathe, Casey James
Where: Enterprise, Ala.
When: June 14-16

BamaJam offers a combination of rock and country acts, appearing on dual headliner stages mounted at the 1,600-acre BamaJam Farms location. The site also sports a newly opened water park, as well as ATV trails and a par-3 golf course. “The festival promises to be the premier multigenre event of the South,” says Nick Bogle of festival sponsor Pepsi.


Headliners: Feist, the Hold Steady, Archers of Loaf, Andrew W.K., Stephen Malkmus & the Jicks, Grimes, Timber Timbre, Thurston Moore, Reigning Sound, Tim Hecker
Where: Calgary, Alberta
When: June 20-23

More than 200 acts are set to perform at the sixth annual Sled Island, Western Canada’s largest independent music and arts festival. The event began in 2007 as a way to promote Calgary’s local entertainment offerings, which founder Zak Pashak felt had been undervalued.


Headliners: Beck, Fiona Apple, Passion Pit, Modest Mouse, Duck Sauce, Explosions in the Sky, Chromeo, Devendra Banhart, Santigold, Built to Spill
Where: New York City
When: June 23 and 24

For its second year, the Governors Ball Music Festival is expanding from one day to two. That means a full weekend of music on two stages, with no overlapping sets—meaning no tough choices to make about which of two favorite acts you’d prefer to see. Last year the festival focused on hip-hop and electronica, but the new edition will also offer indie rockers like headliners Beck and Fiona Apple.


Headliners: Diana Krall, Chris Botti, Trombone Shorty, Esperanza Spalding, Hiromi, Yellowjackets, Maceo Parker, Mingus Big Band, Michel Camilo, Christian McBride
Where: Saratoga Springs, N.Y.
When: June 30 and July 1

Legendary jazz impresario George Wein founded this festival in 1978, and more than a half-million fans have attended since then. “Thirty-five years later, his dream lives on,” says Marcia J. White, president and executive director of the event’s home venue, the Saratoga Performing Arts Center. “This festival remains a mecca for jazz and music lovers across the Northeast.”



Headliners: Aretha Franklin, Mary J. Blige, Charlie Wilson, Fantasia, Estelle, Keyshia Cole, Ledisi, Marsha Ambrosius, Eve, Yolanda Adams
Where: New Orleans
When: July 5-8

In addition to musical performances, the 18th annual Essence Music Festival will include empowerment seminars by Rep. Maxine Waters and comedian Steve Harvey. “Whether it’s Aretha Franklin, the Queen of Soul, commanding respect or Rep. Maxine Waters demanding better conditions for our community, these powerful voices resonate with our audience like no other,” says Michelle Ebanks of Essence Communications.


Headliners: Death Cab for Cutie, the Avett Brothers, Dinosaur Jr., Leftover Salmon, Freddie Gibbs, Dan Deacon, Greensky Bluegrass, Leslie and the LY’s, the Sundogs
Where: Des Moines, Iowa
When: July 6 and 7

The fifth annual 80/35 music festival (named for the interstate highways that meet in Des Moines) is set to feature almost 40 acts on three stages downtown. Each year more than 30,000 fans attend the festival, which is organized by the volunteers of the nonprofit Greater Des Moines Music Coalition.


Headliners: Vampire Weekend, Feist, Olivia Tremor Control, Cults, Hot Chip, Sleigh Bells, Wild Flag, Beach House, Chavez, Big K.R.I.T.
Where: Chicago
When: July 13-15

The taste-making music site Pitchfork’s seventh festival is set to feature dozens of acts at Chicago’s Union Park, as well as offerings from 50 individual vendors and specialty fairs.


Headliners: Primus, Phil Lesh & Friends, Bob Weir and Bruce Hornsby with Branford Marsalis, Mickey Hart Band, Sound Tribe Sector 9, the Avett Brothers, Dark Star Orchestra, Zappa Plays Zappa
Where: Bridgeport, Conn.
When: July 19-22

The 17th annual Gathering of the Vibes carries a distinctly Grateful Dead flavor, with alumni and followers of the beloved band well represented in the lineup. “The Vibes is a seminal gathering of the tribes, and should be supported by those who spawned it,” says former Dead member Hart. More than 40 acts in all are slated to play.


Headliners: Wilco, My Morning Jacket, Jackson Browne, Conor Oberst, Iron & Wine, Patty Griffin, Dawes, Deer Tick, Punch Brothers, Preservation Hall Jazz Band
Where: Newport, R.I.
When: July 27-29

The 53rd edition of this iconic event is already a hit—the Saturday and Sunday shows sold out three months in advance, the quickest sales in the festival’s history. “We are incredibly humbled that our festival has found such a prized place in the hearts and minds of music fans across the nation, and indeed around the world,” says producer Jay Sweet. The famed Newport Jazz Festival will follow on Aug. 3-5 (




Headliners: Black Sabbath, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Jack White, the Black Keys, Florence + the Machine, the Shins,
At the Drive-In, Justice, Avicii, the Weeknd
Where: Chicago
When: Aug. 3-5

The 2012 edition of Lollapalooza, held in Chicago’s downtown Grant Park, offers a who’s-who of alt-rock alongside the year’s only North American show by the reunited metal pioneers of Black Sabbath. The group had been scheduled to play at April’s Coachella festival, but pulled out when guitarist Tony Iommi was diagnosed with lymphoma.


Headliners: Stevie Wonder, Metallica, Neil Young & Crazy Horse, Jack White, Foo Fighters, Beck, Skrillex, Norah Jones, Regina Spektor, Justice
Where: San Francisco
When: Aug. 10-12

The fifth annual Outside Lands festival, held in San Francisco’s historic Golden Gate Park, emphasizes the city’s abundance of food and wine in addition to music. About 100 restaurants and wineries will be offering their wares on the grounds. A portion of each ticket sale goes to benefit the local Recreation and Parks Department.



Headliners: Pearl Jam, Foo Fighters, Florence + the Machine, Band of Horses, Ben Folds Five, Guided by Voices, Dwight Yoakam, Fishbone, Joan Jett and the Blackhearts, Superchunk
Where: Pensacola Beach, Fla.
When: Sept. 21-23

Named for that rockin’ Spanish conquistador Don Tristan de Luna, who landed on Pensacola Beach in 1559, the DeLuna Fest boasts four stages—two of them located right on the beach. The headliners include ’90s titans Pearl Jam and Foo Fighters, both of whom will also be playing at Atlanta’s Music Midtown festival the same weekend (   M


These days some artists aren’t just appearing at festivals—they’re starting festivals of their own. 


Headliners: Metallica, Arctic Monkeys, Avenged Sevenfold, Modest Mouse, the Gaslight Anthem, Cage the Elephant, Best Coast, Hot Snakes, Titus Andronicus, Gary Clark Jr.
Where: Atlantic City, N.J.
When: June 23 and 24

Venerable hard-rock band Metallica celebrated its 30th anniversary with a week of shows packed with special guests last December, inspiring the band to start its own festival. “Bringing the spirit of that week, the looseness of that week, the possibilities of that week, the fan interactive elements of that week, and the fill-in-your-own-blank-here of that week to a festival setting is so exciting we can hardly contain ourselves,” says drummer Lars Ulrich.


Headliners: The Allman Brothers Band, Zac Brown Band, Tedeschi Trucks Band, O.A.R., the Warren Haynes Band, Jaimoe’s Jasssz Band, Blackberry Smoke, the Wailers, Robert Randolph and the Family Band, the Blind Boys of Alabama
Where: Scranton, Penn.
When: Aug. 10-12

The Allman Brothers Band has been a staple of music festivals throughout its four-decade history. At last the group has its own festival, featuring two shows by the Allmans as well as offshoot acts including some of its members. “We’re happy to say we have it all, so to speak,” declares Geoff Gordon of Live Nation Philadelphia. “From ‘A’—the Allman Brothers Band—to ‘Z’—the Zac Brown Band.”


Location-based “destination festivals” dominate, but there are still some traveling shows hitting the road.


Headliners: Rise Against, All Time Low, Taking Back Sunday, Anti-Flag, Yellowcard, the Used, Four Year Strong, New Found Glory, Pierce the Veil, Falling in Reverse

The 18th annual Vans Warped Tour will kick off in Salt Lake City on June 16, bringing its eclectic lineup to 41 cities across North America before winding up in Portland, Ore., on Aug. 5. Says founder Kevin Lyman, “All signs point to a great summer to come in 2012.”


Headliners: Eric Prydz, Paul van Dyk, Wolfgang Gartner, Excision, Arty, Bingo Players, Doctor P, Madeon, Nero, Noisia

The second annual Identity traveling electronic music festival is set to hit 15 cities across the U.S. and Canada through July and August, including Boston, Atlanta, Miami, Toronto, San Francisco and New York City. Prydz will be making his first major North American appearances since 2007.

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