Top Summer Music Festivals of 2013

by Lesley Peterson

If you’re planning a road trip this summer, why not make your destination a live music festival? Here are some of North America’s hottest.

The Governors Ball, New York, New York

June 7-9

Combine a city break with this massive open-air party held at Randall’s Island Park, just a subway or ferry ride from Manhattan. This year’s blockbuster line-up of more than 60 performers is topped by Kanye West, Guns N’ Roses, Kings of Leon and Canadian singer-songwriter Feist. For a surreal experience, try the Silent Disco.

Bonnaroo, Manchester, Tennessee

June 13-16

Keep an eye open for celebrities both on and off stage at this ‘little bit country, little bit hippie’ happening held near the ranch of country music legend Loretta Lynn. The Bonnaroo 2013 experience is set to include 80, 000 positivity-radiating campers, 10 stages and headliners Paul McCartney, Björk and The XX.

Winnipeg Folk Festival, Winnipeg, Manitoba

July 10-14

Celebrating its 40th year, this beloved family-friendly festival encourages attendees to go green by pedalling out to the site in bike convoys. Enjoy gorgeous prairie sunsets and delicious vendor food along with the sounds of Serena Ryder, Leon Redbone and other Canadian and international folk musicians.

Pitchfork Music Festival, Chicago, Illinois

July 19-21

If you like new music, why not join 50, 000 other enthusiasts at Chicago’s Union Park for three days of alternative rock, rap, hip-hop, dance and electronica? Among the 40 artists and bands scheduled for Pitchfork 2013 are Belle and Sebastian, R. Kelly and M.I.A. A record fair organized by the Chicago Independent Radio Project is a chance to score rare vinyl direct from indie labels, local stores and independent vendors.

Reggae on the River, Humboldt County, California

August 2-4

Fans of Reggae on the River are thrilled that the festival is returning to its original French’s Camp site, one of the most scenic outdoor concert venues on the planet. The remote location, on a bend of the South Eel River in northern California, means staying overnight is essential. Campers can cool off in the river and mellow out to performances by Julian Marley, Morgan Heritage, Tarrus Riley, Les Nubians and Garifuna Collective. Children are welcome; there is a Kid Zone plus dozens of vendors.

Osheaga, Montreal, Quebec

August 2-4

No camping required for Canada’s biggest music and arts festival, held in Parc Jean-Drapeau on an island in the Saint Lawrence River, easily accessible from downtown Montreal. The Cure, Beck, New Order and Mumford & Sons top a stellar international line-up. Osheaga ends at 11 p.m. each night but Montreal’s nightlife and purveyors of poutine are only a subway or bike ride away.