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Stone Roses will play at Coachella.

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Ben "Macklemore" Haggerty of Macklemore & Ryan Lewis will headline Sasquatch! near their native Seattle and could be in demand at other summer fests.

Leslie Plesser, Star Tribune

Which rock fest is best?

  • Article by: CHRIS RIEMENSCHNEIDER
  • Star Tribune
  • February 15, 2013 - 9:07 PM

 

It’s not too early to make your travel plans for spring and summer — especially if you’re a music fan.

The lineups for many of this year’s big music festivals have been trickling out in recent weeks, with the largest, Bonnaroo, coming Tuesday. Proof that you can’t wait for the winter ice to start melting before setting your sights on one of these events, general-admission tickets for the Coachella and Sasquatch fests sold out the day they went on sale. And that despite Coachella’s decision to double up and offer the same lineup two weekends in a row (a plan the Austin City Limits fest in October will copy).

Twin Cities fans might be especially interested in comparing the offerings given the recent cancellation of St. Paul’s own River’s Edge Music Festival, which had disappointing crowds for its launch last June.

COACHELLA

When is it? April 12-14 & 19-21.

Where is it? Empire Polo Club in Indio, Calif. (near Palm Springs).

Who’s playing? Organizers went heavy on the British accent, with late-’80s psychedelic rockers the Stone Roses set to play their first U.S. shows in nearly 20 years and ’90s favorites Blur also doing their first in a decade, plus New Order, the XX and Hot Chip. Also: the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Lou Reed, Red Hot Chili Peppers, the Postal Service, Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds, Vampire Weekend, Sigur Rós, Phoenix, Modest Mouse, Descendents, Lumineers.

Who’s it really for? Aging hipsters who don’t mind sleeping in a tent in the desert or can afford the jacked-up hotel prices in Palm Springs.

How can I go? Save for the $6,500 Safari Tent packages (!). Three-day passes are only available from resale sites such as Stubhub starting around $400. Fly to Palm Springs, or fly and drive 1-2½ hours from other Southern California airports.

NEW ORLEANS JAZZ FEST

When is it? April 26-28 and May 2-5.

Where is it? New Orleans Fairgrounds.

Who’s playing? The rather vanilla array of headliners includes Billy Joel, Dave Matthews Band, Fleetwood Mac, John Mayer and Maroon 5, plus the hipper Black Keys, Frank Ocean and Willie Nelson. Jazz Fest diehards never go for the big names, though, and can instead take in Gary Clark Jr., Patti Smith, Jimmy Cliff, Band of Horses, the Mavericks and the usual who’s who of Louisiana musicians, including Dr. John, Trombone Shorty, Queen Ida, Irvin Mayfield and Galactic.

Who’s it really for? Really everyone. Dixieland-loving seniors and families with kids mingle with collegiate fans and Louisiana music purists around the eight stages and myriad food stands, whose grub is craved even by NOLA residents. Hotels are about the only way to go for non-residents, and can be costly.

How can I go? One-day tickets are $50 via nojazzfest.com (it’s a nonprofit event). Fly to New Orleans or Gulf Shores, Ala.

SASQUATCH

When is it? May 24-27.

Where is it? Gorge Amphitheater in Quincy, Wash., 150 miles east of Seattle.

Who’s playing? A little-fest-that-could for 10 years running, it reaches a new peak with Grammy winners Mumford & Sons, Ben Gibbard’s reunited Postal Service and Seattle’s own new No. 1 hip-hop stars, Mackle­more & Ryan Lewis. Also: Vampire Weekend, Arctic Monkeys, Sigur Rós, Primus, Tame Impala, Father John Misty and Minneapolis rapper P.O.S.

Who’s it for? Younger hipsters, hippies and underground hip-hop fans who would enjoy camping amid the stunning scenery of the Columbia River Gorge.

How can I go? Also sold out, passes are going for $550 and up at resale sites. Fly to Seattle or Spokane, Wash.

GOVERNOR’S BALL

When is it? June 7-9.

Where is it? Randall’s Island, New York City.

Who’s playing? The biggest lineup leap of any festival, the third installment features a trio of surprise headliners: Kanye West (his only gigs on the books so far this year), Kings of Leon (their first since going on hiatus) and Guns N’ Roses (who will test the park’s curfew policy). Also: the Avett Brothers, Grizzly Bear, Kendrick Lamar, Feist, Beach House, Erykah Badu.

Who’s it for? New Yorkers who get someone to pay their rent, friends who don’t mind piling up on their puny floor space, plus maybe a few rock fans with deep pockets to spend on hotel (no camping here).

How can I go? Passes are $220 (plus a $45 ferry pass) at GovernorsBallMusicFestival.com. Fly to any New York area airport.

T.B.A.

Bonnaroo (June 6-9, southeastern Tennessee): Organizers of the giant campout have been dropping clues leading up to Tuesday’s announcement; logical guesses include Kanye, the Dead, Mumford & Sons and A$AP Rocky.

Pitchfork Music Fest (July 19-21, Chicago’s Union Park): The űber-hipster urban rock fest has only released three names: Bjőrk, R. Kelly and Belle & Sebastian.

First Avenue Fest (July 20, Minneapolis’ Parade Athletic Fields): The club’s inaugural event hopes to pick up spillover acts from Pitchfork and add its own regulars.

Lollapalooza (Aug. 2-4, Chicago’s Grant Park): Always laden with big names, even its rumored headliners have been kept mum. And no, that’s not another Mumford reference.

 

Chris Riemenschneider • 612-673-4658 • Twitter: @ChrisRstrib

 

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