Summer 2014 Music Festivals: Pros and Cons
Coachella (April 11-13 & 18-20 in Indio, Calif.)
Lineup Highlights: Arcade Fire, Beck, Muse, the Knife, Queens of the Stone Age
Pro: Bragging rights over the first OutKast (shown) gig in nearly eight years.
Con: Having your sight line blocked by a B-list CW starlet.
Bonus: The chance to catch big bands playing under pseudonyms in small area clubs between weekends.
Jazz Fest (April 25-May 4 in New Orleans)
Lineup Highlights: Eric Clapton, Bruce Springsteen, Public Enemy, Aaron Neville, and...Christina Aguilera?
Pro: Aside from the headliners, there are tons of legit jazz acts that won't be anywhere else.
Con: Phish are also playing.
Bonus: Clapton (shown) is kind of a festival unicorn these days; he's got only three other U.S. dates this year.
Stagecoach (April 25-27 in Indio, Calif.)
Lineup Highlights: Eric Church, Luke Bryan (shown), Jason Aldean, Florida Georgia Line
Pro: The greatest hits-per-dollar value of any festival ticket.
Con: The bro-centric roster — that's a whole lot of wallet chains.
Bonus: To help combat notoriously awful Indio traffic, prizes (including on-site food and merch vouchers) will be handed out to carpoolers.
Big Guava (May 2-4 in Tampa)
Lineup Highlights: Vampire Weekend, Foster the People, Tegan and Sara (shown), Cake
Pro: They actually let you bring in a bottle of water if it's sealed.
Con: Don't fight the drunk dude in the Porta-Potty line; Florida's ''Stand Your Ground'' laws are still in effect.
Bonus: Fairground rides! What better Tilt-A-Whirl soundtrack is there than Sleigh Bells?
Rock on the Range (May 16-18 in Columbus, Ohio)
Lineup Highlights: Guns N' Roses, Kid Rock (shown), Avenged Sevenfold, Slayer
Pro: It's one of the few fests where metal innovation gets to shine.
Con: It's also top-heavy with nonsense butt rock like Alter Bridge.
Bonus: Come a day early for the roast of Slipknot's Corey Taylor, hosted by Sebastian Bach.
Sasquatch (May 23-25 in George, Wash.)
Lineup Highlights: Queens of the Stone Age, the National, M.I.A. (shown)
Pro: The gorgeousness of the natural setting has not been oversold.
Con: Standard festivalgoers have to pay to use the showers.
Bonus: There are ''luxury yurts'' available for fans of oxymorons.
Electric Daisy Carnival (May 24-25 in Rutherford, N.J.)
Lineup Highlights: Calvin Harris (shown), Tiësto, Afrojack, Steve Angello
Pro: EDM crowds are way more upbeat than your average festival cluster. And face-painty.
Con: It's at a stadium in New Jersey, which cuts into the positive vibes.
Bonus: The lighting effects are seriously impressive (though the dance drugs probably help).
Bottlerock (May 30-June 1 in Napa, Calif.)
Lineup Highlights: The Cure, Eric Church (shown), Weezer, TV on the Radio
Pro: The fest touts its wine and food offerings, naturally.
Con: Purple teeth.
Bonus: There's also beer!
Governors Ball (June 6-8 in New York City)
Lineup Highlights: Jack White, Skrillex (shown), Vampire Weekend, Phoenix
Pro: The amazing views from the water ferry to Randall's Island.
Con: You're trapped on an island.
Bonus: You'll have all five boroughs for your after-party.
Vans Warped Tour (June 11-Aug. 3 in various cities)
Lineup Highlights: A rotating cast of punk and alternative acts, including Breathe Carolina (shown) and Devil Wears Prada
Pro: It comes to you!
Con: Realizing you're the oldest person in a three-mile radius.
Bonus: An excuse to bust the dusty Airwalks out of your closet.
Bonnaroo (June 12-15 in Manchester, Tenn.)
Lineup Highlights: Kanye West (shown), Elton John, Jack White, Lionel Richie, Frank Ocean
Pro: The super-remote location means no curfews and lots of surprise after-hours shows.
Con: The super-remote location means tent living and no indoor plumbing.
Bonus: A killer comedy tent, featuring all your favorite podcast hosts.
Summerfest (June 25-29 & July 1-6 in Milwaukee)
Lineup Highlights: Bruno Mars, Lady Gaga (shown), Brad Paisley, Nas, Fall Out Boy & Paramore
Pro: It's billed as ''the world's largest music festival.''
Con: It's billed as ''the world's largest music festival.''
Bonus: The à la carte option: You can buy single-day tickets for $16.
Essence (July 3-6 in New Orleans)
Lineup Highlights: Prince (shown), Lionel Richie, Mary J. Blige, Erykah Badu, Nile Rodgers
Pro: NOLA's famously lax booze laws.
Con: Louisiana can get real sticky-hot.
Bonus: Prince plays on July 4. Purple fireworks? Yes, please!
Pitchfork (July 18-20 in Chicago)
Lineup Highlights: Kendrick Lamar (shown), Beck, Neutral Milk Hotel, Giorgio Moroder
Pro: Experience next year's Coachella headliners this year.
Con: Only one headliner per night, so if you don't like Neutral Milk Hotel, better hit up the Art Institute.
Bonus: The awesome record fair gives you something to do while ignoring Death Grips.
Lollapalooza (Aug. 1-3 in Chicago)
Lineup Highlights: Eminem, Skrillex, Kings of Leon, Arctic Monkeys, Lorde (shown)
Pro: It's in the center of the city, so no mud-pit camping for you!
Con: The carbo-loading required to survive the roughly mile-long hike between main stages.
Bonus: Don't miss the dance stage.