Summer in the Midwest provides the perfect platform for catching some music outdoors. Whether it’s jam bands, electronica, indie rock or hip-hop that you seek, a variety of different festivals in Michigan, Ohio, Illinois and beyond offer different experiences.
Electric Forest, a festival that takes place in Rothbury, Mich., is a close option for NMU students. Collin Hampel, a senior outdoor recreation major, says it’s one of his favorite things to do over the summer.
“We usually get a good crowd to go for the weekend,” Hampel said. “It’s pretty close to Marquette and we can meet up with friends who live downstate.”
In addition to the music, festivals like Electric Forest offer activities like camping, glow-in-the-dark disc golf, extravagant art installations embedded in the festival grounds and horseback riding.
“Electric Forest is nice because you can catch more mellow bands during the day and hang out in the woods, and then watch the electronic sets at night,” Hampel said.
Most festivals are a weekend-long event and cost $200-300. However, some festivals like Pitchfork in Chicago offer single-day passes for as low as $45.
“I like Pitchfork because you aren’t obligated to camp,” said senior environmental conservation major Brad Grear. “You can just go for the day and check out Chicago after the music ends.”
No matter what your tastes are, this summer’s array of festivals is sure to fit your needs.
June 28–July 2nd, Rothbury, MI, $240 3-Day General Admission
It’s finally getting to be the time of year to venture back to the Sherwood Forest in Rothbury, Mich. for the Electric Forest Music Festival. For those who have attended one of the three festivals held at the Double JJ Resort, it’s hard to imagine anything but a great time. Away from the drag of daily life, the weekend of Electric Forest is spent exploring new music, artwork and ideas while spending time with new and old friends.
First used as the grounds for Rothbury Music Festival in 2008 and 2009, the Double JJ Resort is now home to Electric Forest after the 2010 hiatus. Attracting a crowd of over 30,000 in 2011, the number and variety of acts appeal to a diverse audience of music lovers. How will Electric Forest 2012 differ from last year’s festival? According to Jeremy Stein, Electric Forest producer and partner at Madison House Presents, there are lots of big things in store. This year’s lineup includes jam bands, such as The String Cheese Incident and STS9, dubstep artists including Bassnectar and Zed’s Dead, house artists like Wolfgang Gartner, hip hop artist Reggie Watts and nearly everything in between.
Standard tickets for the festival cost around $240 and include camping plus a four-day/three-night festival pass. There are no power hookups available to general admission campers and any food brought in needs to be stored and cooked appropriately. Complimentary showers are also unavailable to general admission campers; however, there are always shower trailers campers can pay to use. There are plenty of outhouses on site but it is a good idea to bring your own toilet paper. The festival will continue rain or shine; so be prepared for either extreme.
If that seems a little too rustic, campers can always upgrade to the Good Life VIP ticket. All Good Life packages include access to premium viewing areas, the Good Life lounge/private bar, shade, and air conditioned, flushable bathrooms. Another perk for Good Life campers is happy hour on Friday and Saturday during the festival, which includes free drinks. On top of this, campers get to choose where they want to camp. Choices include The Village, with early arrival to shows and air-conditioned bathrooms and showers; The Back 40, which includes access to swimming pools and a daily brunch, or The Frontier, which is a resort-style living area with your own kitchen and wireless internet. While these amenities are undeniably luxurious, they don’t come without a cost; each VIP residence costs $4000-8500 per six-person occupancy.
For more information on the Electric Forest, visit www.electricforestfestival.com.
August 17–19, Wellston, MI, $140 3-Day Pass
Tucked away in the Manistee National Forest each year is a celebration of music and art called Hoxeyville Music Festival. Held on 85 acres of Michigan forest, Hoxeyville highlights the regions variety of artists. Hoxeyville is an intimate festival where artists and campers alike spend the weekend collaborating to create a powerful, moving atmosphere.
Headliners this year include: 7 Walkers (feat. Bill Kreutzmann of The Grateful Dead), Greensky Bluegrass, BoomBox, Ultraviolet Hippopotamus, Seth Bernard & May Erlewine, The Macpodz, Naive Melodies (plays the Talking Heads) and many more.
Q&A with Jake Robinson, co-founder and director of Hoxeyville Music Festival.
NW: This the 10th annual Hoxeyville Music festival, how will this year’s festival differ from the last?
JR: We are working on a few new improvements to the camping areas, as well a possible permanent stage design that would serve as the second stage, or Cadillac stage, as it’s called in our case.
NW: Should concertgoers expect to see the same stages in the same locations as they were last year?
JR: The venue location will be the same as it was in 2011 with two open-air stages that will alternate allowing a nearly seamless flow throughout the day and into the evening.
NW: What volunteer opportunities are available for concertgoers on a tighter budget?
JR: Folks can sign up online through the website application for a variety of tasks before, during and after the festival. Most are related to setup and tear down, parking, trash and recycling, or helping in the merchandise booth.
NW: Does everyone in your group need to have a camping pass or just one person per car?
JR: Each person needs a camping pass. With RV passes, only one is required per vehicle. All others in that RV would need a standard weekend ticket.
NW: Approximately how late will the closing band play each night?
JR: The live stages end at 11:30 p.m., but this year we will be featuring a silent disco option where folks can rent a headset and dance the night away to DJs and other artists.
July 19–July 23, Thornville, OH, $199 3-Day General Admission
LINEUP: The Allman Brothers, Phil Lesh, The Flaming Lips, Yonder Mountain String Band, Lotus, Galactic, Shpongle, Trampled by Turtles, Railroad Earth, Papadosio, Greensky Bluegrass, Dirtfoot, The Macpodz.
This festival boasts no overlapping sets, two side-by-side stages and over 40 hours of music from bluegrass, electronic, jam and funk bands.
Sept. 1–2, Marquette, MI, $45 Weekend Adult Passes, $10 Daily Student Tickets for those 23 and under
LINEUP: Mid-Nite Storm, Hipps N Ricco, Jr. Boy, Trampled Under Foot, Travis & The St. Lous, Flat Broke Blues Band, The Jimmys, Levee Town, Carolyn Wonderland
The Marquette Area Blues Fest is an annual festival held in Mattson Lower Harbor Park. The festival draws in both award-winning regional and international performers, and offers a wide variety of local food and drink. Bands and artists perform from 1 to 8 p.m. on both Saturday and Sunday.
June 7–June 10, Manchester, TN, $259 3-Day Pass
LINEUP: Radiohead, RHCP, Phish, Beach Boys, Bon Iver, The Shins, Skrillex, Major Lazer, Tune-Yards, Umprey’s McGee, SBTRKT, Big Gigantic.
An annual, four-day festival that draws a crowd of nearly 80,000. Bonnaroo has multiple stages of live music and a wide variety of genres including indie rock, hip-hop, bluegrass, electronica and world music.
July 20–22, Marquette, MI, $60 Regular Weekend Advance Pass, $70 Weekend Gate Pass
LINEUP: Ray Bonneville, Dan Crary and Thunderation, Pert-Near Sandstone, Pat Donohue and the Prairie All-Stars, Lumber Jakki, Ruth Moody, Cedric Watson and Bijou Creole and The Wild Goose Chase Cloggers.
The Hiawatha Music Festival is an annual festival held in Tourist Park in Marquette. The festival features traditional music, including bluegrass, old-time, Cajun, Celtic, acoustic blues and folk. The mainstage acts at Hiawatha include nationally-recognized performers in addition to regional acts.
Aug. 31–Sept. 2, Chicago, IL, $110 3-Day Pass
LINEUP: Pretty Lights, Axwell, Steve Angello, Atmosphere, Big Boi, Modestep, Excision, Alesso, The Rapture, Com Truise, Dan Deacon, YACHT.
A three-day music festival in Chicago’s Union Park that hosts mostly electronic, hip-hop and jam artists.