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SXSW ended just the other week, Coachella begins next weekend, and Bonnaroo/Lolla/whatever-trendy-forest-gathering continue to sell-out almost as fast as their websites load. Ah, yes, it’s music festival season.
Unfortunately, though, spending nearly $300 to sweat with 20-somethings on molly just to see a drunken Steven Tyler undulate to “Dream On” exceeds most reasonable budgets. What if we told you that you can find the same crazy-ass festivals, most featuring the same musicians, for half-price. Would you go now?
We decided to compile ten crazy-cool music festivals—whether it be rock, jazz, country, electronic, or “stoner”—for $150 or less.
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If your holiday weekend isn’t already filled with summer cookouts, fireworks, and trips to the beach then may we suggest a food festival? The National Cherry Festival kicks off in Traverse City, Michigan on July 5 and runs through July 12.
Parades, family goodies, and activities especially for the kids are just the beginning, as the festival does its thing along Lake Michigan's Grand Traverse Bay. There are races from a 5K to a half marathon, and there are even two airshows scheduled to take place this Saturday and Sunday—featuring the Navy’s Blue Angels among other performers and planes.
There’s only a few days left in July, but that’s fine with us. That’s because August welcomes the lobsters to Maine, as the annual Maine Lobster Festival does its thing between July 31 and August 4.
It’s not too late to make plans to head to Rockland to take in all the action, as all the boiling and buttering takes place at Rockland's Harbor Park. Obviously there’s going to be plenty of those tasty crustaceans on display, but there’s way more than that.
There’s a road race, a fun run, and even a chance to just complete a leisurely walk as part of the festival. Plenty of music keeps things going well into the evening, and there’s a few acts that you might even recognize from your iPod. David Cassidy does his thing on Saturday evening, and the Spin Doctors hit the stage on Friday night. Tickets to the concerts are a little bit extra—like $25 or so—but that does include your festival admission as well.
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The temperatures are warming up and that can only mean one thing for the city of Chicago; it's festival season! We don't know, but it might be that fact that the majority of the year Chicagoans are cooped up indoors to dodge the wintery weather, but very few cities around the world love their street fairs as much as Chi-town does.
Annual events like Taste of Chicago, North Halsted Street Market Days and Blues Fest will be in full effect on their respective weekends, but we've got some festival favorites. Pack some comfy shoes, sunscreen and social skills because it's time to hit the streets.
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While we we've busy enjoying the warmer weather it’s been all work for those responsible for tending to this year’s blueberry crop. Thankfully things must have gone according to plan, as it’s time to harvest. Before August slips into September it’s time to celebrate blueberry season, and here’s three of the best festivals where you can do exactly that:
National Blueberry Festival – South Haven, Michigan
Running August 9-12, this festival has everything and anything involved with the berries that are little and blue. All the events go down right on the shores of Lake Michigan at the town’s Riverfront Park. Blueberry Pie Socials, Lawn Tractor Pulls, Pie Eating Contests, and a Blueberry Cookout round out the weekend’s events.
Organizers are expecting at least 40,000 hungry visitors as the event celebrates its 49th year filled with live entertainment and way too many blueberry pancakes. If you need a blueberry break—like that’s even possible—just swing by the Sand Sculpture Contest scheduled to do its thing at North Beach on Sunday afternoon.
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This weekend country music's biggest stars, including Lady Antebellum, Blake Shelton, The Band Perry, Carrie Underwood, Zac Brown Band, and Faith Hill, will return to Nashville for the city's annual signature event, the CMA Music Festival.
Taking place between June 7th and June 10th, the fest will feature around the clock live performances at various venues including Riverfront Park, the Nashville Convention Center, and LP Field.
When you think of hot air balloons you might think of the big shindig over in Albuquerque, but for those in the Northeast there’s a pretty good festival coming up that might just require a little road trip rather than a flight. The QuickChek New Jersey Festival of Ballooning takes place in just a couple of weeks, as it’s set to run between July 29 and July 31 at the Solberg Airport in Whitehouse Station, New Jersey.
They’ve got like at least 100 different balloons of all different shapes and sizes—including a butterfly, a shark, and the biggest can of Pepsi you’ve ever seen—that will hit the skies altogether twice per day. Besides the balloons there’s a 5K, a lady who shoots herself from a cannon, and 200 different vendors selling crafts and other goodies.
Start preparing your competitve-eating-like skills for Los Angeles' brand-new foodie festival, The Taste. The citywide event will be served up from September 2 to 5, but you'll want to get your tickets now if you want to eat later.
This being L.A., of course celebrity chefs will be in attendance. Food truck godfather Roy Choi, Giada De Laurentiis, Ludo Lefebvre,Top Chef winner Michael Voltaggio, Oprah's personal chef Art Smith and Charm City Cakes' Duff Goldman are among some of the big-name chefs to be featured at the inaugural event.
Chicago, which used to be summer festival central, has taken some big hits lately, with a number of popular fests axed due to budget constraints. The city has had to say goodbye to the Chicago Outdoor Film Festival, the city's Fourth of July fireworks (Navy Pier gets the honors this year) and Gospel Fest, among others. Luckily, the standout summer soiree, Taste of Chicago, will go on—it opens tomorrow.
Those who miss the canceled fests will especially want to visit the Taste, since it is incorporating Viva! Chicago Latin Music, Country Music, Gospel and Celtic fests into the musical offerings.
Mashed potato wrestling at Minnesota's Barnesville Potato Days
There must be something about the hot air that brings out the crazies, because summer is when the weirdest festivals pop up all over the country. If you want some cray-cray in your life, TripAdvisor recently released its list of top wacky summer happenings, though some have passed so we added a couple of our own picks. Whether you want to do some mashed potato wrestling or eat bull balls, this calendar will keep you crazy through the warm-weather months.
See the top 10 wackiest summertime fests after the jump.
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Cinespia at Hollywood Forever Cemetery
The best thing about summer is that you can do everything outdoors, and that includes watch movies. Seeing a flick under the stars while huddled on a blanket is a favorite summer pastime, especially since the screenings are usually free. Pack your picnic baskets and pop a squat at one of these outdoor film festivals.
Check out the top five alfresco film festivals after the jump.
Chicago is a cosmopolitan city with lots of cultural offerings, but when summer rolls around, one of the must-do activities is to hit up a block party. The city's numerous neighborhoods have their own shindigs that focus on everything from food to hooking up.
Check out our top three block party picks after the jump.