The Five Festivals You Need to Attend This Summer

Including one with a $1.3 million entry ticket? Come again?

May 4, 2016 9:00 am

Are all music festivals the same?

The question’s been asked.

Thankfully, in-between the 17,000 appearances by Radiohead and LCD Soundsystem this summer, music fans — and fans of culture in general — can enjoy some real variety.

Thusly, we present The Five Festivals You Need to Attend This Summer.

Talkin’ concerts in volcanos. Hemingway and Hunter S. Thompson homages. Six days and nights of the world’s greatest booze mixed by the world’s greatest bartenders.

Oh, and a $1.3 million concert experience that … might be worth it.

Coachella couldn’t say the same.

For the cultured drinker (who doesn’t mind a little sweat): Tales of the Cocktail
New Orleans in July? Not ideal summer travel. But the booze-tacular, six-day Tales is worth it, thanks to an all-star cast of mixologists and hundreds of “spirited” seminars (“The Art of the Beertail,” “Dangerous Drinks”), tastings, tours and parties. Favorite so far? “Booze, Brass and Burlesque” … which starts at 11 a.m. on a Wednesday. (July 19-24)

For the indie music fan with affluenza: Secret Solstice
Think Ticketmaster’s bad? Try a $1.3 million concert ticket. Iceland’s Solstice fest takes place over multiple days of 24-hour midnight sun, featuring an A-list lineup of alt-rock, hip-hop and dance (Radiohead, Deftones, Action Bronson, Die Antwoord, etc.), as well as the first concert ever performed in the dormant magma chamber of a volcano. And that ticket? It gets six people a privately chartered jet, luxury cars (with drivers and security), a private night at the Blue Lagoon and access to performing artists’ private backstage bar, among dozens of other ridiculous amenities. (June 16-19)

For Papa obsessives with a sense of kitsch: Hemingway Days
The annual Key West event features a Hemingway lookalike contest (dig those stocky white-bearded dudes!), assorted readings, a literary competition, a mock “Running of the Bulls,” exhibits of rare Hemingway memorabilia and a three-day marlin tournament for interested anglers. And drinking. Lots of drinking. Papa would be … amused. (July 19-24)

For a dance festival that doesn’t cater to 17-year olds: What The Festival
As much about art, culture and experiencing the outdoors as it is about the music, What the Festival takes place on the private Wolf Run Ranch near Mt. Hood, Oregon. This isn’t your hedonistic rave of yore: instead, think dance, meditation and yoga classes, hookah lounges, illuminated art forests, a sex seminar involving unicorns, a Japanese tea house, splash pool parties, glamping, a mobile spa and, for the late night crowd, a silent disco. Headlined by Thievery Corporation. (June 17-20)

For bourbon fans who dig music: Forecastle
A three-day fest at Louisville’s riverside Waterfront Park that features a dedicated bourbon lodge, a “Gonzo Bar” bar commemorating former city resident Hunter S. Thompson and, most importantly, three days with one of summer’s more versatile music lineups (think more Alabama Shakes and Ryan Adams, less LCD Soundsystem). (July 15-17)

This is the first installment of 37 Things a Man’s Gotta Do This Summer, our annual compendium of everything worth seeing, doing, eating, drinking and generally making time for in your neck of the woods between now and September

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