By Owen Hynes

With only a few more weeks left in the semester and summer just on the horizon, students are eagerly waiting a long break from the stressful academic pressures of school.

During the summer break, students will be spending their time doing many different things, such as working internships or summer jobs, visiting family and friends, going to the community pool and much more; however, for those students interested in music and watching their favorite artists perform live, there is a selection of exciting music festivals happening around the United States this summer.

Now, based on the large number of festival lineups already released, here’s what we decided were our top five U.S. music festivals to attend this summer…

#5: Moonrise Music Festival – Baltimore, MD (August 10 – August 11)

Given its close proximity to College Park, Maryland, on the grounds of Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore, Maryland, Moonrise Music Festival draws a large crowd of University of Maryland students each year.  

Highlighted by acts  such as 21 Savage, AC Slater, Big Gigantic, Excision, Illenium and Tiësto, Moonrise’s 2019 lineup pulls artists from a broad range of electronic music genres and seamlessly pairs them alongside artists from the rap/hip hop scene.  

Although rain and inclement weather has affected the festival in years past causing minor delays and cancellations, music fans, especially those from the University of Maryland and the surrounding schools in the area, should not be deterred by the chance of bad weather. They can expect to see a variety of memorable sets featuring artists from a wide range of electronic, rap and hip hop genres at Moonrise 2019.   

#4: Governors Ball Music Festival – Randall’s Island, NY (May 31 – June 2)

Since 2011, as one of New York City’s premiere yearly music events, Governors Ball has continued to produce a diverse and exciting lineup in order to kick off the festival attendees’ summers the right way.  

“Summer in New York doesn’t really begin until Governors Ball weekend,” wrote Rhian Daly of NME Magazine.

This year’s Governors Ball lineup features headline performances from Tyler, The Creator, Lil Wayne, Florence + The Machine, Major Lazer, The Strokes, SZA, Nas and The 1975 as well as performances from exciting undercard acts like Chelsea Cutler, Jeremy Zucker, Noname and Saba.  

In a June 2018 interview with Business Insider, Grammy-nominated Chicago rapper Vic Mensa reflected on his 2018 performance at Governors Ball and provided insight on the festival’s unique energy.

“I felt like Gov Ball had a uniquely strong energy, you know? It kind of felt like a ’90s Lollapalooza-type energy. I thought that it was an opportunity for me to say what I mean, to tell the world what I’m about,” said Mensa.

Those wishing to experience Mensa’s energy-filled description firsthand, will have to wait patiently until the 2019 Governors Ball kicks off on Friday, May 31.  

#3: Firefly Music Festival – Dover, DE (June 20 – June 23)

After Firefly 2018, global entertainment company AEG Presents, which also runs Coachella, purchased the Dover, Delaware music event, paving the way for the opportunity of bigger stages and a Coachella-level production value, more popular, highly-exclusive acts and much more.  

Hosted in the Delaware woods, Firefly draws in thousands of tri-state area music fans as well as many others from places across the United States and abroad. This year’s three-day lineup features headlining acts Panic! At The Disco, Tyler, The Creator, Zedd, Travis Scott, Kygo, Death Cab For Cutie, Post Malone, Vampire Weekend and DJ Snake, catering to a number of different tastes by blending a variety of music groups.

Those fans interested in watching the newest, buzziest acts from a range of genres, including alt-rock, pop, rap, hip hop and electronic music, should definitely look into attending Firefly this summer.   

#2: Lollapalooza Music Festival – Chicago, IL (August 1 – August 4)

As Chicago’s premiere summertime event, Lollapalooza consistently puts out one of the festival industry’s most diverse and multifaceted lineups each year.

This year’s lineup features exciting headlining acts Ariana Grande, Childish Gambino, Twenty One Pilots, The Strokes, Tame Impala, Flume, The Chainsmokers and J Balvin, as well as additional draws like Hozier, Meek Mill, Kacey Musgraves and 21 Savage.  

As for what Lollapalooza meant to him after his first performance there in 2013, Chicago rapper and activist Chancelor Bennett, known professionally as Chance the Rapper, said that playing the hometown festival was a very special accomplishment in his career.  

“When you’re a Chicago artist, to play Lollapalooza, that’s not a normal thing. It’s artists on a path to a certain place that do that. Chief Keef did it; Kids These Days did it; Cool Kids did it.  And I’m the next Cool-Kids-Chief, if you will,” said Chance in a 2013 interview with Rolling Stone.

Encompassing that youthful Chicago energy and spirit, Lollapalooza, especially led by its 2019 lineup, is a guaranteed summer highlight to be had.  

#1: Bonnaroo Music Festival – Manchester, TN (June 13 – June 16)

You might ask, ‘what could possibly be happening on a 650-acre farm in the middle of Tennessee?’ Only arguably the top United States music festival of summer 2019.  

Fronted by a pool of headlining acts such as Childish Gambino, Post Malone, three sets of Phish, ODESZA and The Lumineers, the 2019 Bonnaroo lineup is surely one to draw heavy attention and excitement when compared to other U.S. summer music festival lineups. It will also include performances from artists like Brockhampton, Griz, RL Grime, Solange, Hozier, Cardi B and Illenium.

On top of the impressive and diverse lineup, Bonnaroo offers an experience like no other.  

“People walk through the iconic arch … and shed their egos, often without even realizing. It creates the closest thing we have to the spirit of Woodstock, with a contemporary utopian twist where the jocks and the hippies get along, where the young and old can play together without ever getting caught up in preconceived opinions,” said multiple writers from Consequence of Sound in a 2016 article.   

For those music fans looking for a Woodstock-esque festival experience that features some of the industry’s biggest, most-exciting names, Bonnaroo is one of the most perfect options.     

Featured Photo Credit: Courtesy of Bonnaroo’s Facebook page.

Owen Hynes is a sophomore journalism major and can be reached at ohynes@terpmail.umd.edu.

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