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Must-See Music Fests of Spring-Summer ’15

The weather is getting warmer, and that only means one thing: summer is on the horizon. Music festivals have become synonymous with summer fun, and because of that, they’re a staple source of entertainment on everyone’s itinerary. Combining a fusion of genres ranging from hip-hop to EDM to street vendors, partying and “day drinking,” these festivals have become a source of cultural tourism in most cities.

But don’t be fooled. Music festivals can break the bank if you don’t plan in advance. With at least a dozen happening between now and Labor Day, we’ve created a list of favorites so you don’t have to do all the legwork when determining what to do this summer.

New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival (New Orleans, LA)

Dates: April 24-May 3, 2015

What’s better than a jazz festival set in the backdrop of the Crescent City? The New Orleans Jazz Fest lineup includes the O’Jays, T.I., Maze, John Legend and Lady Gaga. In addition to the festival, you can enjoy the French Quarter, the delicious Creole cuisine, and even sip a Hurricane (or two).

Cost: Advance adult ticket: $58; gate price: $70 (each ticket valid for any single day of the weekend); child’s ticket: $5 (available at the gate only, ages 2 – 10, adult must be present with child)



The Roots Picnic (Philadelphia, PA)

Date: May 30, 2015

Created by Philadelphia’s hip-hop hometown heroes The Roots, the eighth annual Roots Picnic is sure to be epic as ever. The event ,which takes place on Saturday, May 30, at Philly’s Festival Pier in Penn’s Landing features Erkyah Badu, the Weeknd, A$AP Rocky, Rae Sremmurd and the legendary leader of all things funk: Afrika Bambaataa.

Cost: General admission $81.75 (including all taxes and fees) on Ticketmaster.



Governor’s Ball (New York, NY)

Dates: June 5-7, 2015

With an incredible lineup such as Drake, the Black Keys, Lana Del Ray and DeadMau5, this is a show where you get a little more bang for your buck, if you’re into different genres of music. Last year, even the super-celebs were stage-hopping. Madonna made sure to catch Disclosure’s set and André 3000 brought his son Seven to the photo pit in order to get up close and personal with Childish Gambino. No concert snobs at this show—it’s fun for everybody.

Cost: Three-day general admission passes are $260. Just note: there are online purchase fees and shipping fees.



Summer Jam (New York, NY)

Date: June 7, 2015

You know summer has officially begun in New York City when they announce the Summer Jam lineup. Arguably the hottest and longest running hip-hop concert in New York, the show has become a summer staple for fans of the popular radio station Hot 97. Kendrick Lamar, Chris Brown, Trey Songz, Meek Mill, Fabolous and Childish Gambino will all rock this year’s main stage at the festival. Before the main event, Travi$ Scott, B.o.B, Joey Bada$$, DeJ Loaf, and Teyana Taylor will play the Festival Stage.

Cost: $63 – 250.00



Bonnaroo (Manchester, Tennessee)

Dates: June 11-14, 2015

Last year’s lineup included Kanye West and Lauryn Hill, and this year is sure to live up to that. None of the top few American festivals are as “hardcore” as Bonnaroo for most people who go. It’s one of the greatest camping experiences at any festival in the world, and Bonnaroo organizers constantly deliver a fantastic lineup.

Cost: Starts at $299.50 per person; mostly sold out.



Birthday Bash (Atlanta, GA)

Date: June 20, 2015

Now in it’s 20th year, Hot 107.9’s annual concert is sure to be BIG. With the first round of southern-inspired artists already announced—including Future, Ludacris and Wale— fans can look forward to a trip down memory lane to celebrate this momentous occasion. The weekend of June 19-21 will blast four concerts over three days to commemorate the station, including a throwback to its first Birthday Bash in 1996 (the station signed on in 1995) at Variety Playhouse. The headliner at that one? The Notorious B.I.G.

Cost: Tickets range from $10.79 – $189.



Lollapalooza (Chicago, IL)

Dates: July 31-Aug. 2, 2015

Paul McCartney and Metallica will headline this year’s Lollapalooza Festival, which hits Chi-town’s Grant Park later this summer. Known for its great reputation as one of the most organized festivals in the country, you’re sure to have a great time amongst the masses of partygoers and concert attendees. Last year’s festival featured headlining sets from Eminem, Outkast, Skrillex, Calvin Harris and the Arctic Monkeys. Nas, Lorde, Interpol and Chance the Rapper all killed it. Looking for a switch from your typical hip-hop concert this year? Check out the long-standing Lollapalooza.

Cost: Three-day passes start at $250 per person, but are currently sold out. Your best bet would be StubHub!



OVO Fest (Toronto, Canada)

Dates: August 2-3, 2015

The sixth annual OVO Fest is sure to be the hottest concert in Canada this year. With a star-studded lineup, such as J Cole, Big Sean, YG, Jeremih and Drizzy himself, the guest list is sure to be heavy. Last year, Drake surprised fans by bringing out Lauryn Hill, Trey Songz, Usher and 50 Cent during the finale of his annual two-day event, so this year fans can bet on some pretty big names to make the trip across the Northern border.

Cost: Two-day tickets range from CAD $238.80 – 366.30 on Ticketmaster. If you weren’t one of the lucky people to get a ticket when they went on sale, your next bet would be StubHub.



Made in America (Philadelphia, PA/Los Angeles, CA)

Dates: September 5-6, 2015

Curated by Jay Z, the Budweiser/LiveNation event has grown to one of the world’s premiere music festivals in just two years spanning two cities: both Philadelphia and L.A. In the past, the festival has boasted some of the best musical talent in the world, including Kanye West, Drake and Beyoncé, and stellar rock acts like Pearl Jam and Nine Inch Nails. While the lineup has yet to be announced, it’s sure to be an end-of-summer smash.

Cost: TBD


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