Summer concerts: Top out-of-town music festivals

Road trip! Enjoy summer concerts at one of these multiple-day outdoor fests, all within driving distance of the city.

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  • Photograph: Virginia Rollison

    Newport Folk Festival

  • Photograph: Virginia Rollison

    Newport Folk Festival

  • Photograph: Virginia Rollison

    Newport Folk Festival

  • Photograph: Virginia Rollison

    Newport Folk Festival

  • Photograph: Virginia Rollison

    Newport Folk Festival

  • Photograph: Virginia Rollison

    Newport Folk Festival

Photograph: Virginia Rollison

Newport Folk Festival

We already tipped you off to tons of great summer concerts in New York City. But if you’re looking to rock out outside the five boroughs this summer, check out these driveworthy music destinations.

Clearwater Festival

1 hour from NYC

Clearwater, an environmental nonprofit founded by folk titan and activist Pete Seeger, hosts this shindig on the banks of the Hudson River. Brooklyn soul revivalists Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings, and alt-country group Son Volt (fronted by Uncle Tupelo’s Jay Farrar) headline Saturday and Sunday, respectively. The undercard is stacked with danceable acts such as Antibalas and Sierra Leone’s Refugee All Stars, as well as legends like Judy Collins, Mavis Staples and the 94-year-old Seeger himself. The riverside setting is beautiful—be sure to set out on the water for a two-hour boat tour ($45). Croton Point Park, Croton-on-Hudson, NY (clearwaterfestival.org). June 15, 16; day passes $80–$90, two-day passes $120–$150.

Solid Sound Festival

3 hours and 50 minutes from NYC

Chicago rock vets Wilco curate this weekend of tunes, which is back after a hiatus last year. Jeff Tweedy & Co. will take the stage twice—on Friday night, they’ll play a set of audience requests (sounds like a perfect setting for “Summer Teeth,” fellas)—while clever singer-songwriter Neko Case; Hoboken’s finest, Yo La Tengo; legendary Brazilian psychedelic outfit Os Mutantes; and comedy by the likes of John Hodgman round out the bill. MASS MoCA, North Adams, MA (solidsoundfestival.com). June 21–23; day passes $65, three-day passes $149.

Gathering of the Vibes

1 hour and 30 minutes from NYC

So many vibes. GOTV has served as a meet-up for Deadheads since Jerry passed into the astral plane in 1995. Mellow out in the Olmsted-designed Seaside Park and hear Phil Lesh & Friends (the Dead bassist with able hands John Scofield, John Medeski and Joe Russo) unearth the iconic jam band’s catalog over two nights. While most of the other acts are in the same groovy vein, soulful hip-hop group the Roots and LCD Soundsystem’s James Murphy, who spins a late-night DJ set, add a bit of variety. Seaside Park, Bridgeport, CT (gatheringofthevibes.com). July 25–28; day passes $42.50–$85, four-day passes $225.

Newport Folk Festival

4 hours from NYC

This iconic fest (you know, the one where Bob Dylan went electric and changed music forever) boasts calming views along Newport Harbor and an equally chilled-out lineup of acts. Of this year’s crop, we’re particularly pumped (in a laid-back fashion, of course) to check out sweet-yet-strong-voiced songstress Feist, Southern-flavored local Phosphorescent, My Morning Jacket main man Jim James, Beck in stripped-down Sea Change mode, and a set of Everly Brothers covers by Bonnie “Prince” Billy and Dawn McCarthy. Fort Adams State Park, Newport, RI (newportfolkfest.net). July 26–28; Fri passes $49, other passes sold out.

Made in America

1 hour and 50 minutes from NYC

Jay-Z lends his cred to this bash in downtown Philly, where (unsurprisingly) Beyoncé tops the bill. Less predictably, industrial-rock grinders Nine Inch Nails nabbed the other headlining slot. The rest of the schedule is rife with of-the-moment and veteran hip-hop acts: Public Enemy, Kendrick Lamar, A$AP Rocky, 2 Chainz and Macklemore. But there are also ventures into arena-sized rock (Queens of the Stone Age, Phoenix), R&B (Miguel, Solange) and a lot of EDM (Deadmau5, Calvin Harris, a bunch of dubstep DJs). Benjamin Franklin Pkwy, Philadelphia (madeinamericafest.com). Aug 31, Sept 1; two-day passes $150, VIP two-day passes $499.



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