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Wednesday, April 24, 2024

Summer Festival Preview 2012


With ticket price set at only $38 for the one-day festival, Soundset is a bargain for any underground and indie hip-hop fan. I have attended Soundset for several years now, and the lineup just seems to get better and better.

Fans can count on the classic Minneapolis-based headliner Atmosphere (with Rhymesayers entertainment, the organizers of the event), but should brace themselves for the absence of Brother Ali. Luckily, there are several other incredible headliners to look forward to: Lupe Fiasco, Ghostface Killah and Raekwon, Kendrick Lamar, P.O.S., Aesop Rock, Macklemore and Ryan Lewis, Grieves and Budo, Big K.R.I.T… the list goes on.

Soundset is a place to see your favorite hip-hop artists, but it is also an opportunity to hear up-and-coming rappers who you might not stumble upon otherwise. With several smaller stages scattered across the campsite, it will be well worth wandering away from the main stage. Astronautalis, who made an appearance on campus this semester, I Self Devine (another Minneapolis-based rapper), The Tribe & Big Cats and Audio Perm are all artists to keep an eye on.


There are no words to describe the glory that is the Bonnaroo 2012 lineup. Headliners include Radiohead, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Phish and unlikely enough, The Beach Boys. In addition to that, Bon Iver, The Avett Brothers, The Shins, Foster the People, Azis Ansari, the Roots, Feist, Skrillex and Santigold will be in attendance. Also, Kendrick Lamar, The Antlers and SBTRKT are all artists that have blown up in the past year and will most likely be getting some attention during Bonnaroo.

Bonnaroo has its own stock of excellent up-and-comers that you would be well-advised to check out if you are attending. Big Freedia is a transgender Bounce artist from New Orleans that graced the Union South’s Sett earlier this semester. If you missed the show and you’re looking for an opportunity to shake your ass, this is the place to do it.

Alabama Shakes are another artist to watch out for—they received a ton of attention this year, and will most likely only keep climbing the charts. Their debut album, Boys & Girls, came out this year, and lived up to the hype that followed its release. With incredible pipes on the lead singer and a down-home blues-y sound that just feels good, you will immediately fall in love.

The list goes on and on of performances I am looking forward to at Bonnaroo this year.


Break out your best denim staples before heading down to Union Park in Chicago, Ill. for three sweaty, glorious days of all the music everyone else will realize is awesome in about a year. This is not a pretentious statement, but rather a testament to the goals behind PMF (or P4k as the veterans have been known to call it). The online music resource that is offers reviews and previews of bands just cresting the music scene and generating buzz, and their music festival lineup is a great reflection of these breaking acts. From hip hop and ambient pop to shred guitar, this year’s attendees are in for the treats of many genres. Three stages (Red, Green and Blue) span these baseball-diamonds-turned-hip-gathering-grounds and play host to a fortuitous roster of bands: A$AP Rocky, Dirty Projectors, Sleigh Bells, Hot Chip, Beach House and Vampire Weekend are only a few shows on my list of must-sees. Just remember: Stay hydrated, and don’t be afraid to stick around a stage for an act you’ve never heard of. Some of my favorite shows at last year’s fest came from bands completely new on my radar.


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Despite the general grumblings of complaint or confusion that often emerge after Summerfest releases its annual lineup, the lakeside festival usually has at least one appealing band to offer enthusiasts of any genre. Its theme often seems to be freedom from a theme; rather, you’ve got a little something for every age and lifestyle.

Without even moving from their seats, indie fans can see Mayer Hawthorne, tUnE-yArDs and The Head and the Heart in the span of four hours on July 1. The most difficult part of this day might be deciding whether to switch stages to catch Civil Twilight or Trampled by Turtles at 10, since this year’s three headliners play in the same time slot.

Five days later, funktastic Fitz & The Tantrums will bring their magical tambourine powers to the Potawatomi Pavilion. They rocked Coachella, they will rock Bonnaroo and they will rock Summerfest for significantly less cost than those other pricey festival day passes.

Other bands also gracing Summerfest with its affordable presence: Death Cab for Cutie, Young the Giant, Grace Potter & the Nocturnals, AWOLNATION, Lupe Fiasco and the Dirty Heads. The list goes on, check the Summerfest website for these musical gems.

Electric Forest

If you want to rage in a forest pulsating with electronic happiness, Electric Forest is for you. Taking place in the conspicuously named “Sherwood Forest” in Western Michigan, Electric Forest boasts some of the most entertaining electronic acts in the U.S.

Although the headliners are The String Cheese Incident and Bassnectar (not favorites of mine, but still favorites to many), Santigold, Steve Aoki, STS9, Thievery Corporation and Major Lazer will be making an appearance on the main stages throughout the festival. I know—that right there is enough to buy a ticket, but luckily, there are more acts to look forward to.

I will definitely be checking out Big Gigantic, Beats Antique and Paper Diamond. Big Gigantic has toured extensively throughout the U.S. and has stopped over in Madison several times, but their high-energy performances have left me wanting more. Beats Antique bring a semi-Eastern sound to their jams, making for an entirely other-wordly listen. Paper Diamond is simultaneously ambient and danceable, intricate and simple, and will also be performing at this year’s festival.

For more information and the complete lineup, go to


To cater to diverse age groups and to the various levels of music immersion in attendance, Lollapalooza’s roster boasts acts as large as the Red Hot Chili Peppers, The Black Keys and Jack White as headlining acts, down to mid-level recognition bands like The Temper Trap and Little Dragon and delves all the way into to the up-and-comers. A recent addition to the Lolla experience, Parry’s, caters specifically to the electronic scene and occasional hip-hop act—you can expect to see it overrun by a lot of people named Molly and shaking with bass reverberations.

Now I’ve only been to Lollapalooza twice before, but when you’re wandering around 319 acres of park, separated from your friends and dehydrated, you learn what can make or break three days of what should be bliss real fast. Here are my tips for a great Lollapalooza: 1.)

Be willing to change plans for what band you want to see. You can waste a lot of time running between stages. 2.) If you’re going with a big group of friends do not, by any means, plan on staying together. 3.) Buy a Camelbak. The lines for water get crazy long and a Camelbak allows you to make one trip to everyone else’s four.

Stay hydrated, don’t take drugs from strangers and have fun. Lollapalooza is one of the most highly anticipated festivals of the summer season for a reason.

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