Best in Show
Kahbang Festival (Bangor, Maine)
Music, artwork and film converge on the waterfront in celebration of creation's many forms. For nine days (August 6-14) this New England town revolves around the arts and artists. On the musical program are up-and-coming acts, often just before they take off for the larger circuits. Catch OK Go, Hey Marseilles, Grand Hotel, Bad Rabbits, and the legendary hip-hop artist Biz Markie performing this year. Tickets are shockingly affordable and the diversity of events means there's something to interest even non-music lovers, who may just discover a band that'll change their tune.
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French band Phoenix hits Mile High heights.
Mile High Music Festival (Denver)
Nine miles northeast of Denver, jam band aficionados gather with alt rockers at the feet of the Rockies. Dave Matthews Band is a regular performer at this festival. In 2010 they'll be joined by other crowd pleasers like Weezer, Cypress Hill, Keller Willliams, Jack Johnson, My Morning Jacket and Ozomatli. Upstarts such as the French band Phoenix share space with industry veterans (Susan Tedeschi, Jimmy Cliff and The Steve Miller Band) making for a five-stage, two day (August 14 and 15), motley music spectacular.
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The Capitol Hill Block Party (Seattle)
Capitol Hill gets rocked to its core during two days each summer. The already club-centric intersection of Pike and 10th teems with people meandering between three stages to witness over 50 performances. They haven't told us who will be playing July 23 and 24, yet (the lineup will be released June 1). But we're anticipating a strong follow up to last year's headliners Sonic Youth, The Gossip, The Jesus Lizard, Built to Spill and Deerhunter. Affordable tickets and easily accessible liquor make this a bustling, sometimes annoyingly crowded street celebration. The most coveted seats are the rooftops and apartments overlooking the jam-packed corridor. Best to make friends with a locationally privileged pal now.
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Siren Music Festival takes place on the boardwalk.
Siren Music Festival (Brooklyn, N.Y.)
It may take place over just one day (July 17), but Siren Music Festival is notorious for breaking new talent on the East Coast. Matt and Kim, Ted Leo and The Pharmacists, Surfer Blood, and The Pains of Being Pure at Heart are several established indie acts already announced. Produced by Village Voice Media, Siren is one of the few remaining free festivals. Expect it to be crowded. But just make way for the masses: Coney Island in the summertime amid clusters of frenetic music fans offers ample opportunities for people watching that rivals the performances on stage.
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View our summer live music preview photo gallery.