Summer Rock Festivals 2016


The Musician’s Ear 2016 Summer Festival Calendar…

The summer is upon us, and so too are the onslaught of rock festivals that dot the June through September calendar. Fans of rock music rejoice as the heavy sound and fire of live music add heat to an already humid evening. Get ready for a sea of sweaty human beings, obscene amounts of devil horns, and the stringy merch peddler / food vendor, as we run through the best of the 2016 summer rock festival calendar.


Bonnaroo Music Festival – June 9-12 – Manchester, TN

Bonnaroo is Creole slang for “a really good time”. Past festivals have been known for being very diverse with acts including: James Brown, Tool, Wilco, Bruce Springsteen and the Beastie Boys. Outside of the music, there is a Comedy Tent, a graffiti wall for artists, and a Cinema Tent with happenings and events all through the night.

The 2016 lineup includes: Pearl Jam, Chris Stapleton, Clutch, Haim, The Claypool Lennon Delirium, Death Cab For Cutie, Third Eye Blind, Lord Huron, and Ween



The Riverbend Festival – June 10 – 18, Chattanooga, TN

Another diverse festival, the Riverbend Festival has been going 35 years strong. With past acts from country to hip-hop including Foreigner, Huey Lewis, and Cee-Lo, it has become one of the largest festivals in the Southeast garnering 650K+ in attendance over the course of 8 days.

2016 lineup includes: Heart, Blood, Sweat, & Tears Featuring Bo Bice, Salt N Pepa, Fishbone, 38 Special, and REO Speedwagon



The Firefly Music Festival – June 16-19, Dover, DE

A relatively new festival, the Firefly Music Festival has grown into its own over the last 5 years. The festival is located in the The Woodlands at Dover International Speedway, partners with Dogfish Head Brewery to brew the Firefly Ale made specifically for the festival, as well as a silent disco, with headphones only, known as The Thicket.

2016 lineup includes: Kings of Leon, Florence & the Machine, Fitz and the Tantrums, Moon Taxi, Mumford & Sons, Blink-182, The Struts, and Earth Wind & Fire



Summerfest – June 29 – 30 / July 5-10, Milwaukee, WI

Summerfest is an 11 day party held at the Henry Maier Festival Park on the shores of Lake Michigan in the heart of Milwaukee. Dubbed “The World’s Largest music Festival” by the Guinness Book of World Records, the festival attracts 800K to 1M people annually.

2016 lineup includes: Paul McCartney, Sting, Peter Gabriel, Weezer, Panic! At The Disco, Alabama Shakes, Chris Stapleton, Def Leppard, Tesla, Ryan Adams, Willie Nelson, Hollywood Vampires, Garbage, Neil Finn, Barenaked Ladies, Billy Idol, Joan Jett, Weird Al Yankovic, Cheap Trick, Joe Jackson, Chris Isaak, Kool and the Gang, Bruce Hornsby, Morris Day and the Time, Styx, Blue Oyster Cult, and many, many more




RockFest – July 14-16 – Cadott, WI

The behemoth rock and metal showcase in its 23rd year caters to the enthusiast who wants no frills, balls to the wall in your face rock n roll. The festival offers 60+ bands with sponsors including Bud Light, jack Daniels, and Captain Morgan.

2016 lineup includes: Slipknot, Alice In Chains, Marilyn Manson, Queensryche, Kix, Red Sun Rising, Faster Pussycat


Chicago Open Air – July 15 – 17 – Bridgeview, IL

The 3 day festival boasts some of the biggest mainstream rock acts in the world in one festival for 3 days of mind-numbing rock. Festival sponsors Jack Daniels, and Monster Energy Drinks offer venues away from the music with craft beer tastings, and a Music Experience tent where you can interact with the festival musicians.

2016 lineup includes: Rammstein, Ministry, Chevelle, Meshuggah, Periphery, Helmet, Korn, Breaking Benjamin, Disturbed, Baby Metal, Killswitch Engage, Corrosion of Conformity



Newport Folk Festival – July 22 – 24 – Newport, RI

The granddaddy of all festivals going strong since 1959. Founded by the iconic Pete Seeger, this is where Joan Baez made her first appearance on a large stage, as well as when Dylan turned electric. The 50th anniversary of the festival saw performances from Arlo Guthrie, Pete Seeger, and Ramblin’ Jack Elliot

2016 lineup includes: Flight of the Conchords, The Arcs, Violent Femmes, Patti Smith, Norah Jones, Graham Nash, Elvis Costello, Ryan Adams



Lollapalooza – July 28 – 31, Grant Park, Chicago

Every 90’s kids dream concert and first to bring Alternative music to the mainstream, Perry Farrell’s baby has moved from a touring event into a 3 day festival of epic proportions. The festival has also landed in 6 different countries in 2016 alone including the US, Germany, and Columbia, Brazil, Chile, and Argentina.

2016 lineup includes: Radiohead, Ghost, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Janes’ Addiction, LCD Soundsystem, Bloc Party, Foals



Outside Lands Festival – August 5-7 – Golden Gate Park – San Francisco, CA

Born in 2008 with a push to eco-friendly initiatives, the 2016 version of Outside Lands Music Festival will be situated in Golden Gate Park. The festival also features attractions focusing on food, wine, and art many powered with alternative energy including solar and wind power.

2016 lineup includes: Lionel Richie, Radiohead, Duran Duran, Rogue Wave, The Muppets’ Dr. Teeth and The Electric Mayhem



Lockn’ Festival – August 25-28 – Arrington, VA

The preeminent jam band festival in its 4th year has grown into the big leagues on the Oak Ridge Farm in the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains. This is a music lover’s festival with past acts such as Zac Brown, The String Cheese Incident, and Tom Petty.

2016 lineup includes: Phish, Ween, Peter Wolf, Moon Taxi, Gary Clark JR, My Morning Jacket, The Wailers



Riot Fest – September 2-4 – Denver CO / September 16 – 18 – Chicago, IL

Riot Fest is a punk leaning spitfire of a concert known for making reunions happen together on stage. Past incarnations have included The Offspring, Descendants, and Iggy and The Stooge. 2016 sees Glenn Danzig, Jerry Only, and Doyle Wolfgang von Frankenstein reunite the original Misfits lineup after 33 years.

2016 lineup includes: The Original Misfits, Rob Zombie, Deftones, Bad Religion, The hives, Chevy Meta, Bob Mould, Meat puppets, Social Distortion, Morrissey, Ween, The Specials



By Brain Furman