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12 Terrific Music Festivals to Hit (in Person!) This Year

Feeling vaccinated and ready to rock? Have we got a lineup for you

spinner image The Foo Fighters perform
The Foo Fighters will be performing at Lollapalooza this year.
Theo Wargo/Getty Images for DIRECTV

The pandemic may have wiped music festivals off the map in 2020, but they're back this year with a volume-up vengeance. Many of the festivals forced into hibernation by COVID-19 are returning in 2021 with packed lineups and quick sellouts, while others like New Orleans’ famed Jazz & Heritage Festival are pushing back into fall and still working out the details. And a few (like Coachella) are waiting until 2022 to come back to the stage.

Meanwhile, there is a whole lot of musical fun to be had out there. Here's the cream of the concert crop for the rest of the summer and through the end of the year. Get out your calendars, crank up the volume and book some tickets.

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Chicago: Lollapalooza (July 29-Aug. 1)

The granddaddy of hipster festivals entices with more than 170 acts on eight stages in historic Grant Park on the Lake Michigan shoreline. Tickets range from $130 for a single day to $4,200 for a four-day Platinum package.

  • Book here: Lollapalooza
  • Acts you already know: Foo Fighters, Journey, Jimmy Eat World, Miley Cyrus, Modest Mouse
  • Acts you'll discover: Roots rocker Brittany Howard, rapper/singer Post Malone, funk/soul singer/songwriter Omar Apollo

Telluride, CO: Telluride Jazz Festival (Aug. 13-15)

Set in an awe-inspiring Rocky Mountain canyon, the secluded gathering offers three days and nights of jazz, funk, soul, folk and gospel, plus free morning yoga, second-line parades, walking tours and entry to the Telluride Historical Museum. Single-day tickets are $65 to $75, a three-day pass is $190, and an all-inclusive pass that includes after-dark shows is $215.

  • Book here: Telluride Jazz Festival
  • Acts you already know: Galactic, Robert Glasper, Preservation Hall Jazz Band, Bonerama, Poncho Sanchez
  • Acts you'll discover: Saxophonist Rico Jones and CounterCurrent, Kelly Finnigan & the Atonements

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spinner image The Avett Brothers perform onstage at the 2019 Bonnaroo Arts And Music Festival
The 2019 Bonnaroo Arts And Music Festival
FilmMagic/FilmMagic for Bonnaroo Arts And Music Festival

Manchester, TN: Bonnaroo (Sept. 2-5)

The laid-back festival, staged on a 700-acre farm, leans into Americana, country and indie sounds and indulges its huge camping clientele with a waterslide, microbreweries, a Ferris wheel, yoga and parades. Tickets are sold out, but the website hosts a resale section.

  • Book here: Bonnaroo
  • Acts you already know: Jason Isbell, Janelle Monae, My Morning Jacket, Flogging Molly, Foo Fighters, Lana Del Rey, Grace Potter
  • Acts you'll discover: Canadian singer Lennon Stella, British electro-pop band Glass Animals, indie rock singer/guitarist Phoebe Bridgers

Napa, CA: BottleRock Napa Valley (Sept. 3-5)

This Wine Country fest has a diverse lineup, night concerts, a spa, art installations and a culinary stage. Tickets are sold out, but the website offers a ticket exchange for the sale of returned tickets.

  • Book here: BottleRock Napa Valley
  • Acts you already know: Foo Fighters, Stevie Nicks, James Murphy, Guns N’ Roses, Mavis Staples, Miley Cyrus, Digable Planets
  • Acts you'll discover: Country singer Maren Morris, jazz/R&B artist Jon Batiste, soul duo Black Pumas, singer/songwriter Finneas

Las Vegas: Life Is Beautiful (Sept. 17-19)

The downtown Sin City music fest books hip acts and hot comedians, as well as speakers, chefs, mixologists and visual artists. Tickets are sold out, but the website hosts a ticket exchange.

  • Book here: Life Is Beautiful
  • Acts you already know: Green Day, Haim, St. Vincent, Ludacris
  • Acts you'll discover: Alt-rock band Half Alive, singer/poet Jamila Woods, electro-pop band Cannons, British electronic duo Gordon City
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Pryor, OK: Born & Raised Music Festival (Sept. 17-19)

Making its debut this year, the country music/camping experience arrives two weeks after the same site's epic Rocklahoma. Tickets are $109.50 for general admission, $255.50 for reserved, and more for VIP packages, camping and parking.

  • Book here: Born & Raised Music Festival
  • Acts you already know: ZZ Top, Lucinda Williams, Cody Jinks, Robert Earl Keen, Blackberry Smoke
  • Acts you'll discover: Americana singer Nikki Lane, Lubbock folk-rock band Flatland Cavalry, alt-country singer Zach Bryan

Louisville, KY: Louder Than Life (Sept. 23-26)

The mammoth rock festival expands to four days with 70 acts on three stages, plus food concessions and award-winning bourbons, whiskey, spirits and craft beer. Single-day tickets range from $99.50 to $209.50, with some days sold out.

  • Book here: Louder Than Life
  • Acts you already know: Metallica, Nine Inch Nails, Judas Priest, Cypress Hill, Anthrax, Jane's Addiction
  • Acts you'll discover: Punk/metal band Fever 333, hard rock band Starset, Canadian alt-rocker Grandson

Monterey, CA: Monterey Jazz Festival (Sept. 24-26)

Founded in 1958 by disc jockey Jimmy Lyons, the nonprofit toast to jazz, blues and rock will be scaled back to two stages, with seating limited to 50 percent capacity. Three-day tickets will go on sale in early July. No word yet on single-day tickets or prices.

  • Book here: Monterey Jazz Festival
  • Acts you already know: Herbie Hancock, George Benson, Pat Metheny Side-Eye, Terri Lyne Carrington
  • Acts you'll discover: Son jarocho band Las Cafeteras, Japanese musician Miho Hazama

New York: The Governors Ball (Sept. 24-26)

Celebrating its 10th anniversary, the Big Apple music shindig has lined up 70 acts for four stages, along with tower murals, gargantuan inflatables and pop-up performances. Three-day general admission tickets are $319. VIP tickets are sold out.

  • Book here: The Governors Ball
  • Acts you already know: Ellie Goulding, Portugal, The Man, Carly Rae Jepson, A$AP Rocky
  • Acts you'll discover: Soul singer Leon Bridges, indie pop band Bleachers, country singer Orville Peck
spinner image Stevie Nicks performs
Stevie Nicks will be playing at Austin City Limits.
Kevin Winter/Getty Images for iHeartMedia

Austin, TX: Austin City Limits (Oct. 1-3, 8-10)

The multi-genre happening, inspired by the PBS series, serves up music on eight stages in Zilker Park, plus bars, free water stations, art vendors and food from 35 local chefs and restaurants. Tickets are sold out, but a resale option is available on the website.

  • Book here: Austin City Limits
  • Acts you already know: George Strait, Stevie Nicks, Erykah Badu, Tanya Tucker, Asleep at the Wheel, Miley Cyrus
  • Acts you'll discover: Grammy magnet Billie Eilish, Australian trip-hop artist Chet Faker, Irish singer Dermot Kennedy

San Francisco: Outside Lands (Oct. 29-31)

The huge Golden Gate Park festival focuses on pop's hottest acts as well as the best of the area's wine, outsider art and cuisine from local restaurants and food trucks. Tickets are sold out but can be found on secondary market sites.

  • Book here: Outside Lands
  • Acts you already know: The Strokes, Vampire Weekend, Tame Impala, Lizzo, the Soul Rebels
  • Acts you'll discover: Spanish garage rock band Hinds, pop singer Trevor Daniel, indie folk singer Angel Olsen, hip-hop duo EarthGang

Fort Lauderdale, FL: Tortuga Music Festival (Nov. 12-14)

The beachside fest spotlights rock, country and roots music while partnering with the Rock the Ocean Foundation to raise awareness of marine conservation. Tickets range from $138 for a single day to $1,999 for a three-day Super VIP pass.

  • Book here: Tortuga Music Festival
  • Acts you already know: Miranda Lambert, Pitbull, Tim McGraw, Barenaked Ladies, Luke Bryan
  • Acts you'll discover: Country pop singer Niko Moon, country group Runaway June

Edna Gundersen, a regular AARP music critic, was the longtime pop critic for USA Today.

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