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Summer festival season is coming – five festivals to put on your list

Summer is the time for outdoor music festivals.
Summer is the time for outdoor music festivals.
Nick Lobeck

February weather still feels like winter in Kansas City, but summer concert season is just around the corner. And we’re not talking about just the local concerts at Sandstone or the Sprint Center that you should be putting on your calendar. If 2013 is the year you want to combine music with a little vacation, you may want to consider one of these concert festivals.

Every June a farm in Manchester, Tennessee plays hosts to a four-day multistage camping festival known as Bonnaroo. The festival features performers from almost every genre of music known, but it’s not just music. The entertainment village has all manner of attractions including an arcade, cinema, comedy club, theater performers, and even a beer festival. There’s truly something for everyone. The 2013 Festival is scheduled for June 13-16, with the lineup to be announced February 19. Visit for more information on the festival, contest, and volunteer opportunities.

If you’re afraid you might be bored with just three days of music, maybe you should look at SXSW. This monster event in Austin, Texas, has over a week of not just music, but comedy, film, gaming, and technology. If you can’t find something to interest you at SXSW, there’s probably no hope for you. This year it runs from March 8 the 17. Visit for more information.

If you prefer to head north, consider Electric Forest in Rothbury, Michigan. Scheduled for June 27-30, you can enjoy not only dozens of musical acts and art installations, but check out horseback riding, a waterpark and even a golf course, including their first Electric Forest ‘celebrity’ invitational. For more information, see

More into beaches than forests? Then the Hangout Music Fest in Gulf Shores, Alabama might be just the ticket. Running May 17-19, there are dozens of musical acts as well as a public art competition. Unlike some festivals where camping is the norm, though, Gulf Shores offers everything from budget camping to luxury condos. More information is available at

For Kansas Citians, of course, the Wakarusa Music Festival is our hometown boy made good. Wakarusa began in 2004 at Clinton State Park near Lawrence, but five years ago moved to Mulberry Mountain near Ozark, Arkansas. From May 30 through June 2, toss away the high heels and the party dresses in favor of camping on a mountaintop. There’s plenty to keep you busy with the dozens of musical acts, including Widespread Panic. There’s also the interactive art installations and live painters, the Ferris wheel and the waterslide, disc golf, hiking, fishing and more. Wakarusa and The Conscious Alliance will also again be hosting an ‘Art That Feeds’ food drive to benefit the Arkansas Food Bank. For more information, go to


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