Summer Sounds: Your Ultimate Music Festival Guide
With Coachella firmly planted in our rear-view mirror, it’s time to turn our attention to the slew of summer music festivals that will be coming to cities near you. From shows that embody a more grown and sexy vibe to ones that will make you feel like you’re in college again, MadameNoire has you covered on the best ways to spend your summer.
Essence Music Festival
Going down June 29-July 2, Essence Music Festival is a can’t miss celebration of the best in hip-hop, R&B, soul, blues, reggae, gospel and rap. This “party with a purpose” has been held at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans every year except 2006 when it was moved due to Hurricane Katrina. The festival has welcomed some of the biggest names in music to its stage and 2017 is shaping up to be no different. Diana Ross, Solange, Chance the Rapper, Mary J. Blige and John Legend are all expected to lay down a set.
Celebrating its 10th anniversary, Roots Picnic is once again giving the Philly area something to look forward to in early June. Masterminded by one of the best bands in the game, The Roots, Roots Picnic gives established performers and those on the come-up a chance to shine in front of thousands who gather at Festival Pier. Attendees will be treated to a pairing of Pharrell and The Roots, 21 Savage, Virgil Abloh and Solange (who is clearly making the rounds on the summer music festival circuit this year).
HOT 97’s Summer Jam
The preeminent hip-hop throwdown for the New York area, HOT 97’s Summer Jam has brought some of the biggest names in the game to MetLife Stadium. In the past, Summer Jam has seen the Wu-Tang Clan, the Fugees and other icons hit the stage along with up-and-coming performers. Scheduled for Sunday, June 11, Summer Jam is bound to welcome another impressive line-up of talent.
Just around the corner, Rolling Loud will go down May 5-7 in Miami. Headlining this year’s festival are Kendrick Lamar, Future and Lil’ Wayne. The festival will also see the likes of Mac Miller, Run The Jewels and a host of other performers take the stage at Bayfront Park.
Afropunk will once again take over Brooklyn to bring some of the best in hip-hop and R&B to the area. This year’s performers, so far, include Gary Clark Jr., Macy Gray, Sampha and many more. Two more special guests are set to be announced in the coming weeks. In addition to the great music going down August 26 and 27 in Commodore Barry Park, Afropunk also features a food and arts festival called Bites and Beats that’s sure to make the weekend a good one.
At FYF Fest, the worlds of hip-hop, indie rock and electronic music collide at the Los Angeles Sports Arena & Exposition Park in memorable fashion. Taking place July 21, 22 and 23, FYF Fest will feature the likes of Missy Elliot, Bjork, Frank Ocean, A Tribe Called Quest and many more. In addition to the incredible acts taking one of the festivals’ four stages, FYF Fest also has art installations and a night market that attendees can enjoy.
Firefly Music Festival
More than 140 bands will play over four days on nine stages at this year’s Firefly Music Festival. While Dover, DE doesn’t really scream fun weekend to us, we make the exception when it comes to this awesome festival. The Weeknd, Chance The Rapper, Busta Rhymes and T-Pain are just some of the hip-hop acts that will be entertaining attendees. The festival will take place from June 15-18, but we would caution that Firefly definitely has more of a rustic vibe compared to some of the other music fests on our list, so prepare appropriately.
We’re going international for this one. Drake’s OVO Fest has typically lit up the town in Toronto, but rumors are swirling that the show could potentially be heading across the pond to London. But regardless of where it ends up being, we know OVO Fest won’t disappoint. We’re still waiting on this year’s line-up, but in the past this summer music festival has seen the likes of Jay Z, Kanye West, and Nas perform. Needless to say we’ll be anxiously awaiting this year’s announcement and will definitely entertain some international travel for the right acts.
On the later side of summer, ONE Musicfest is worth the wait. Going down in Atlanta, ONE MusicFest will be celebrating its eighth anniversary September 8-9 with what promises to be a host of incredible musical acts. Last year, ONE was the site of the reunion of hip-hop groups Dungeon Family and Organized Noise. The festival also saw Ice Cube, Erykah Badu, Big Boi, and A$AP Ferg perform. They’ve got quite a lot to live up to after ONE Musicfest 2016, but we’re confident we won’t be disappointed.
Made in America
Labor Day weekend (September 2-3) will see Made in America return to Philadelphia. While if you want to score early bird tickets you’ll be flying a bit blind (the musical acts for this year haven’t been announced yet), we really suggest throwing caution to the wind and securing these bad boys. Made in America has consistently brought huge, awesome acts to the table and we are sure this year won’t be any different.