Playing to the crowds, wherever they roam.
HAVE MUSIC, will travel.
Almost anytime and anywhere, there’s a music festival worth building a trip around, from opera or chamber music to folk, rock and alternative music festivals.
But it’s the annual rock festivals, with both big-name and offbeat bands, that lure some of the biggest crowds.
In the West, those include the close-to-home Sasquatch extravaganza (May 24-27 at The Gorge in Central Washington, sasquatchfestival.com) and Bumbershoot (Aug. 31-Sept. 2 at the Seattle Center, bumbershoot.org). Or go for the total alternative lifestyle, with music and art, at Burning Man (Aug. 26-Sept. 2, burningman.com) in the Nevada desert, where an experimental arts community draws tens of thousands of devotees.
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Leave your musical heart in San Francisco at the Outside Lands festival (Aug. 9-11, sfoutsidelands.com) in Golden Gate Park. Last year’s dozens of groups included everyone from Metallica to Amadou and Mariam, a duo from Mali.
Go north to Vancouver, B.C., for eclectic music from almost every continent at the Vancouver Folk Music Festival, outdoors at a beach park (July 19-21, thefestival.bc.ca).
Go south to Texas for the giant South by Southwest festival (March 8-17, sxsw.com) with bands from all over playing all over Austin.
Fly away to Europe for the Roskilde Festival, a rock blowout in Denmark (June 29-July 7, roskilde-festival.dk).
But you’ll need to plan way ahead to join the crowd at England’s Glastonbury Festival (glastonburyfestivals.co.uk). Born as a hippie musical haven in the 1970s, it’s grown into a mega-festival drawing performers from David Bowie to The Who and Paul McCartney — and this year’s 135,000 tickets for the June 26-30 festival sold out in 1 hour and 40 minutes.
Kristin R. Jackson is The Seattle Times’ NWTraveler editor. Contact her at email@example.com.