When Aquarius-Gemini duo that is Antwan Patton and André Benjamin take the stage together for the first time in years… the festival season will officially be underway. Coachella kicks off a stretch of festivals that peaks in the summer months and gently fades out as the weather cools. The sad reality is, unless you’re super connected, you can’t make every one of them, as much as you’d like to turn this Outkast run into a modern day Phish tour and follow the duo’s every move. So, how do you decide? Location, lineups, accommodations?
We can’t make the decision for you, but here’s a few Pop ‘stache approved festival stops for 2014 to aid in you decision making.
1.Big Guava Festival – Tampa, FL – May 2-4
With all the dates Outkast has circled on its calendar, only three are in the Dirty South and only one in the duo’s hometown, kind of (Counterpoint). A few hundred miles down I-75 ‘kast you’ll find Tampa, FL, home to Big Guava. During the flurry of lineup releases in January, this festival sprung up out of nowhere and snagged a killer inaugural lineup, headlined by Dungeon Family members, alongside Foster The People and Vampire Weekend. The rest of the lineup isn’t exactly filler either. Hip-hop young guns Earl Sweatshirt and somebody’s everything, Chance The Rapper share the bill with indie darlings Haim, amp slayers Sleigh Bells and the always fun Grouplove. Throw in an urban setting and, well, some of the most beautiful beaches in the country, and you start to think that the folks behind Big Guava may be on to something.
2. Shaky Knees Festival – Atlanta, GA – May 9-11
The inaugural Shaky Knees looked disaster in the face… and kicked its ass. During what was basically a monsoon, the bands played on. For its second year the festival moves to a bigger location (Atlantic Station) and adds a third day… and steps up its headlining game. The National, Modest Mouse and Alabama Shakes will each close out a night in the Motown of the South. But, that doesn’t even scratch the surface. Cage The Elephant, The Gaslight Anthem, Portugal. The Man, Fly Golden Eagle, Apache Relay, The Weeks (!!!!), and the list goes on. Also, a first for 2014, there will be official Shaky Knees aftershows throughout Atlanta. Pound for pound, maybe the best top to bottom lineup of the season.
3. Bonnaroo – Manchester, TN – June 12-15
How do you top having a Beatle as a headliner? You don’t. But, scoring a knighted songwriting genius isn’t really a downgrade. Sir Elton John brings his piano to the farm this year. Who else? Well, after getting booed oFf stage in Manchester half a decade ago, Yeezus returns to ask for forgiveness. Kanye West will look to “radiate positivity” and will probably have the crowd of 90,000 plus in the palm of his almighty hand when it’s all said and done. As always, ‘Roo is filled with bands large and small that will pack the four days with incredible music. Highlights: Jack White, The Orwells, Phoenix, Diarrhea Planet, Frank Ocean, Phosphorescent, Vampire Weekend, Fly Golden Eagle, Ms. Lauryn Hill, Janelle Monae, Broken Bells, Disclosure, Washed Out, Hannibal Buress, Pusha T, Danny Brown, The Wild Feathers, Chvrches and so many more.
4. Lollapalooza – Chicago, IL – August 1-3
Alright, so, not everyone was super impressed with the headliners. But Lolla is filled with a solid lineup. Hip-hop wise, Nasir Jones will be celebrating the 20th anniversary of the masterpiece that is Illmatic, Childish Gambino will be taking the crowd even deeper into the web, Killer Mike and El-P will Run the Jewels and Vic Mensa and Chance The Rapper will both have insane homecomings. Lorde will make a rare appearance, Jhené Aiko will hypnotize the crowd into a trance and Manchester Orchestra will shine. Turn those frowns upside down, Chi-town.
5. Austin City Limits – Austin, TX – October 3-5 & 10-12
Even though the lineup isn’t out yet (it releases late this month), ACL never disappoints. Settings don’t get much better than Zilker Park overlooking the Austin skyline and no one throws a party like Texas’ capital city, especially since they’ve expanded the fest to two weekends.