6 Summer Music Festivals You Don’t Often Hear About…But Should

By Alisa Hrustic on April 9, 2014

Although we here all about Lollapalooza, Coachella, Banaroo and Warped Tour, there are other summer festivals that deserve some major music cred…


Firefly Music Festival

Courtesy of thenervousbreakdown.com









When & Where: June 19-22—Dover, Delaware

Price: Only tickets left are General 4 Day Passes = $299

2014 Headliners: Foo Fighters, Outkast, Jack Johnson, Imagine Dragons, The Lumineers, Arctic Monkeys, Weezer (full lineup)

This is a festival within the ranks of Lolla and Banaroo, yet hardly gets any credit for the amazing opportunities offered to music lovers and forest dwellers. Firefly takes place in wooded landscapes and has been known to bring in huge names (Red Hot Chili Peppers, Vampire Weekend, Foster the People, Kendrick Lamar, The Killers, Death Cab for Cutie, and The Black Keys…. Just to name a few).

Along with amazing music, this year’s festival is offering tons of events and attractions for the lucky few who still have a chance to grab tickets. Some projected favorites from previous festivals include an on-site craft beer bar, “Style Your Sole” (customize your own TOMS shoe), an exclusive dance party known as “The Thicket” nestled away in the forest, light shows, hammock hangouts for relaxation, and tons of food options. New attractions will be debuting during this year’s festival as well.

Enter the forest here!

Hangout Music Fest

Courtesy of cmj.com









When & Where: May 16-18—Gulf Shores, Alabama

Price: 3 Day General Admission = $260 (+$30 service fee)

2014 Headliners: The Black Keys, The Killers, Outkast, Jack Johnson, Pretty Lights, The Avett Brothers, Queens of the Stone Age, Modest Mouse, Wiz Khalifa (full lineup)

Chill tunes plus the beach? Sign me up, please. Located just off the border of Florida, The Hangout draws over 30,000 people looking to soak up the sun with over 70 bands. The Hangout has also drawn some amazing acts in its previous lineups (including Stevie Wonder, The Shins, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, Dave Matthews Band,  Foo Fighters, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Imagine Dragons, Passion Pit, Ellie Goulding, and Portugal. The Man)

The Hangout offers several stages, amusement park attractions and games (like a Ferris wheel, and the Mega Drop), a fashion village of pop up boutiques, and this year’s newest and unique addition, a beach-side wedding chapel, which offers a getaway for those in search of their musical soul mate.

Get beachy here!


Sasquatch! Music Festival

Courtesy of muzzleofbees.com









When & Where: May 23-25—Quincy, Washington

Price: General 3 Day Pass = $325

2014 Headliners: Outkast, The National, Queens of the Stone Age, M.I.A., Foster the People, Kid Cudi, HAIM, Foals (full lineup)

This festival lures lots of bucket list acts to the Pacific Northwest.  Some previous Sasquatch! artists include Bon Iver, Explosions in the Sky, Silversun Pickups,  Iron & Wine, Childish Gambino, Mumford & Sons, The Postal Service, The XX, and Sigur Ros.

Sasquatch! takes place at the Gorge Amphitheatre, a 20,000 seat outdoor venue near the Columbia River in Quincy, Washington. Not to mention, standard camping arrangements are included with your ticket!  Get there early because spaces can’t be saved. Sasquatch! also provides…..showers? $3.00 a person! Some may say this goes against festival culture, but a shower after a long, hot day might be nice, eh?

Explore Sasquatch! here!


Wakarusa Festival

Courtesy of honesttune.com









When & Where: June 5-8—Ozark, Arkansas

Price: Full event pass = $194

2014 Headliners: The String Cheese Incident, Bassnectar, The Flaming Lips, STS9, Umphrey’s McGee, Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros (full lineup)

Wakarusa is a word derived from Native American culture that once described the depth of a river, according to the Wakarusa official site. Now, Wakarusa Festival uses it to “define the depth of an experience.” Four days, six stages, and over 150 acts! The festival itself takes plane in Mulberry Mountain, a campground and resort set in the Arkansas Ozark Mountains. Gather ‘round, nature lovers! This is an experience you don’t want to miss.

Wakarusa has been host to bands like Slightly Stoopid, Girl Talk, The Avett Brothers, Grouplove, Of Monsters and Men, The Black Crowes, Icona Pop, and Dispatch!

Because of its amazing location, Wakarusa incorporates tons of fun activities for festival goers. Fishing, disc golf, a ferris wheel, water slide, yoga, a costume parade, a hiking train, live painters, and shopping vendors all complement the music filled grounds. Wakarusa also offers showers (crazy), camping sites, and a free 24-hour shuttle bus!

Wander the mountains here!


80/35 Music Festival

Courtesy of vimeo.com








When & Where: July 4 & 5—Des Moines, Iowa

Price: General 2 Day Pass = $49

2014 Headliners: TBA April 15!

Don’t be fooled, this festival draws almost 30,000 people to downtown Des Moines every year! The name comes from two main interstates (I-80 and I-35) that meet at the corner of Des Moines. Although the Midwest isn’t always associated with a hot music scene, the Des Moines Music Coalition has made it its mission to change that perspective. The cool thing about 80/35 is that you don’t have to necessarily pay to enjoy it—free stages are included in the festival! Those who pay the low fee (compared to other festivals) get access to the headlining performers.

80/35 has welcomed bands like The Flaming Lips, Public Enemey, Modest Mouse, Spoon, Atmosphere, Death Cab for Cutie, David Byrne and St. Vincent, and most recently the ever-iconic Wu Tang Clan.

Along with the headliners, 80/35 incorporates local acts, dance parties, and a shut down street within downtown that plays home to merch, boutiques, amazing food (my personal favorite is the walking taco stand), henna tattooing, and various other entertainment for two (usually very sweaty) days.

Party with the Midwest (and keep an eye out for this year’s lineup) here!


The BUKU Music + Art Project

Courtesy of ourvinyl.tv









Although this festival just happened, add it to your list for next year!

When & Where: March 21 & 22—New Orleans, Louisiana

Price: General Admission 2 Day Passes = $119.50

2014 Headliners: The Flaming Lips, David Guetta, Ellie Goulding, Zedd, Kaskade, Tyler, the Creator, Explosions in the Sky (check out other bands that performed!)

Their Twitter hashtag, #toobuku, says it all. Portraying the classic New Orleans vibe, BUKU is nestled within the Warehouse District right off the Mississippi River. One of their five stages includes an underground dance party (why did I miss this, again?), and artists are allowed and even encouraged to use strobe lights, lasers, synthetic fog, and smoke.

BUKU has kept up with its crazy image by bringing in artists like Avicii, Wiz Khalifa, Skrillex, Kid Cudi, Kendrick Lamar, Flux Pavilion, Passion Pit, Best Coast, and Calvin Harris. Be prepared to dance if you plan on attending this festival!

Along with its high-energy acts, BUKU hosts several activities, creating two days of nonstop creativity. This year, the Bu-Katwalk was a fan-inspired fashion show that selected four stylish participants to walk down the VIP S.S. BUKU at the festival. The BUKookoff picked the four most creative (and delicious) dishes entered by participants in a contest to compete against one another at the festival. Speaking of food, BUKU holds pride on picking unique and New Orleans inspired dishes that are different from your normal festival choices.

Get toobuku here!



I'm a Journalism student at the University of Iowa. When I'm not reading and writing, I'm probably creating a playlist somewhere while trying to find something new to read and write.

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