Pitchfork’s 20 Essential Festivals of Summer 2012


The sun, good looking people, some refreshments, and great music. What else can you ask for? Our friends at Pitchfork created a TOP 20 list of this Summer’s festivals in North America and Europe. JUMP to check out what’s happening in North America…


WHAT: Roots Picnic
WHEN: June 2-3
WHERE: Philadelphia, PA
WHO: The Roots, James Murphy, St. Vincent, De La Soul, Danny Brown, Diplo, De La Soul, Major Lazer, Kid Cudi, tUnE-yArDs, Shabazz Palaces, Mr. Muthafuckin’ eXquire, and more
The Roots’ annual hometown festival offers a mix of rap and indie rock heavy hitters, performing on the waterfront. The Roots will back up De La Soul and Rakim will perform Paid in Full in its entirety.

WHAT: Hot 97’s Summer Jam
WHEN: June 3
WHERE: East Rutherford, New Jersey
WHO: Nicki Minaj, Rick Ross and Maybach Music, Waka Flocka Flame, 2 Chainz, Meek Mill, Young Jeezy, DJ Khaled, and more on the main stage, plus Azealia Banks, A$AP Rocky, Pusha T, Kendrick Lamar, Big K.R.I.T., Schoolboy Q at the pre-show.
New York radio station Hot 97’s legendary hip-hop fest will undoubtedly feature a raft of guest appearances. Plus: autograph signings, trivia contests, Summer Jam logo tattoos, and something called “the Eastside Gynecology Pavilion” (yikes!)

WHAT: Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival
WHEN: June 7-10
WHERE: Manchester, Tennessee
WHO: Radiohead, Bon Iver, Danny Brown, Kendrick Lamar, Flying Lotus, Feist, St. Vincent, the Shins, the Beach Boys, the Roots, tUnE-yArDs, Major Lazer, Santigold, SBTRKT, Kurt Vile, EMA, more
In addition to the bands, Bonnaroo also offers a Comedy Central-curated lineup of comedians, a silent disco, a movie tent, a shopping center, a hair salon, a poster show, a “big ass water slide,” and a beer festival. “The Academy” offers workshops in “art, theatre, percussion, break dancing, instrument building, and gardening.”

WHAT: Osheaga Music and Arts Festival
WHEN: August 3-5
WHERE: Montreal, Quebec
WHO: The Weeknd, Sigur Rós, M83, the Shins, Snoop Dogg, A$AP Rocky, the Black Keys, Feist, Atlas Sound, MGMT, Justice, the Walkmen, Yeasayer, Dum Dum Girls, Metric, Florence & the Machine, Franz Ferdinand, Bloc Party, the Jesus and Mary Chain, Amadou & Mariam, Passion Pit, more
The picturesque Parc-Jean Drapeau on Ile Ste-Hélène offers forested areas, flowerbeds, and open-air artwork. A nice, serene backdrop for a Snoop Dogg set.

WHAT: Lollapalooza
WHEN: August 3-5
WHERE: Chicago, IL
WHO: Black Sabbath, Jack White, the Weeknd, Justice, Frank Ocean, Black Sabbath, At the Drive-In, Passion Pit, Twin Shadow, Sigur Rós, Die Antwoord, M83, the Black Keys, Bloc Party, Chairlift, the Afghan Whigs, Franz Ferdinand, tUnE-yArDs, Twin Shadow, the Tallest Man on Earth, more
The alt-rock behemoth takes over Chicago’s Grant Park with local food, a kid’s stage, a dance stage, and more.

WHAT: Woodsist Festival
WHEN: August 4-5
WHERE: Big Sur, CA
WHO: Woods, Real Estate, Fresh and Onlys, Thee Oh Sees, White Fence, Sun Araw, Ducktails, Pierced Arrows, Mantles, Peaking Lights
Woodsist Records, run by the band Woods, brings out their stacked roster and a few friends for their annual festival at the Henry Miller Library

WHAT: Rock the Bells
WHEN: August 18-19, 25-26 and September 1-2
WHERE: San Bernardino, CA, Mountain View, CA and Holmdel, NJ
WHO: Missy Elliott and Timbaland, Dipset, A$AP Rocky, Kendrick Lamar, Schoolboy Q, Nas, Too $hort, Slick Rick, Salt-n-Pepa, RZA, Ice Cube, Atmosphere, Yelawolf, DJ Quik, more
The traveling hip-hop extravaganza hits three locations this year. Bone Thugs-N-Harmony will reunite to play E. 1999 Eternal in its entirety, Method Man and Redman will perform Blackout in full, and the Hit Squad (EPMD, Redman, Das EFX, K-Solo, and Keith Murray) will reunite.

WHAT: Budweiser Made in America Festival
WHEN: September 1-2
WHERE: Philadelphia, PA
WHO: Jay-Z, D’Angelo, Odd Future, Dirty Projectors, Passion Pit, Rick Ross, Santigold, Skrillex, Janelle Monae, Pearl Jam, Maybach Music (Rick Ross, Wale, Meek Mill), X, more
Jay-Z curates and headlines this new festival on Benjamin Franklin Parkway in Philadelphia. President Obama may or may not do his Al Green impression.

WHAT: Hopscotch Festival
WHEN: September 6-8
WHERE: Raleigh, NC
WHO: Jesus and Mary Chain, Danny Brown, the Roots, Yo La Tengo, Julia Holter, Liars, Lambchop, Zola Jesus, Built to Spill, Baroness, Sunn O))), more
John Darnielle will play a two-part solo Mountain Goats set: the first part will be acoustic Mountain Goats songs, and the second will be… all metal covers on piano. Megafaun will collaborate with Arnold Dreyblatt, Chris Corsano will serve as the “improviser in residence.” (Hopscotch is co-directed by Pitchfork Contributing Editor Grayson Currin.)

WHAT: ATP I’ll Be Your Mirror
WHEN: September 21-23
WHERE: Asbury Park, NJ
WHO: The Afghan Whigs, Louis C.K., Godspeed You! Black Emperor, the Roots, Factory Floor, Hot Snakes, the Antlers, Thee Oh Sees, Sharon Van Etten, the Make-Up, more
Co-curated by the Afghan Whigs’ Greg Dulli and ATP, I’ll Be Your Mirror returns to the Jersey Shore town. There’s a cinema, mini-golf, bowling, and unlimited play at the Silver Ball Museum Arcade and Pinball Hall of Fame.

Check out Europe’s Top 10 here.