Essential Northeastern Summer Music Festivals Guide

How far are you willing to go for a music festival? Zero miles? We can’t help you. But if you’re willing to go at least a few blocks there’s probably a music fest happening nearby. If you’re willing to travel all the way to Vermont or Maryland there’s definitely something for you. We’ve pulled together a guide to this year’s Northeastern music festivals starting in New York City and branching out to Delaware, upstate, Pennsylvania, and anywhere else within 500 miles.  This list is clustered by the distance from Manhattan as the starting point and within each distance cluster by date. It’ll be updated as new music festivals and performers are announced. (UPDATED MAY 21, 2018)

Note: This guide originally appeared on UpOut.com. That company has gone out of business and the site is no longer updating old content so I’ll be making updates here. Last update: May 21, 2018.

No Cars Go ::  25 Miles or Less

The Governors Ball
Randall’s Island Park
June 1 – 3

Governor’s Ball, when not dealing with the elements, is one of the finest music festivals in all the land. Traditionally, this New York City music festival tends to book acts that you aren’t likely to find at the top of the bill at other fests around the country. In 2018, the top of the bill includes Eminem, Jack White, Halsey, N.E.R.D., and Travis Scott. Tucked away in the middle of the lineup you’ll find gems like Cut Copy, Japandroids, Wolf Alice, Alvvays, Sylvan Esso, and so many more.

Northside Festival
Brooklyn
June 7 – 10

Brooklyn’s Northside Festival is massive in scale and essentially takes over Williamsburg, Greenpoint, and Bushwick. More than 30 venues participate in five days dedicated to not only music but also innovation. This year they expect more than 150 speakers, 300 bands, and 100 content creators. This is a music post, so we’ll mention you’re bound to find a new band to love. Some of our recommendations include Elle Barbara’s Black Space, Belle Skinner, OSHUN, and The Dollies. Seriously, though, just walk into a venue and discover something.

Panorama NYC Music Festival
Randall’s Island Park
July 27 – 29

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 Panorama NYC returns to Randall’s Island for year three. Janet Jackson and the Weeknd seem to be the “must book acts” of 2018. Also topping the bill for this New York City festival is The Killers. Surprisingly not headlining is David Byrne. Surprisingly not performing on the same day as David Byrne is St. Vincent. Some of the other acts include Charlotte Gainsbourg, Gucci Mane, Japanese Breakfast and many more.

Electric Zoo
Randall’s Island Park
Aug. 31 – Sept. 2

This is the 10th year for this EDM festival and the lineup is nothing short of amazeballs. A few of the many highlights include Alesso, Martin Garrix, Kaskade, and Marshmello.

The Meadows Music and Arts Festival
Citi Field
PENDING

We don’t know the date and we don’t know the lineup. Check back in a month.

The Roots Picnic
Bryant Park
PENDING

 

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Not sure if this will be a thing this year. Stay tuned.

 

Roadrunner :: 26 to 99 Miles

Hoagie Nation Festival
Festival Pier at Penn’s Landing
Philadelphia
May 26

Hall-and-Oates-Tonight-Show1

Hall and Oates decided they wanted to have a music festival in their hometown of Philadelphia. Hoagie Nation returns to celebrate everything great about the City of Brotherly Love. This year they’ll be joined by Train, Fitz and the Tantrums, and more.

Xponential Music Festival
Camden Waterfront
July 27 – 29

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Many public radio stations put on music festivals but few compare to WXPN’s Xponential Music Festival. This three-day festival features a who’s who of left end of the dial artists like David Byrne, Sylvan Esso, Lo Moon, Femi Kuti, Tank and the Bangas, and more.

Charm of the Highway Strip :: 100 – 199 miles

 

Firefly Music Festival
Dover, DE
June 14-17

Firefly is possibly the biggest music festival on the East Coast. This four-day beast is bringing headliners like Chromeo, Kendrick Lamar, Arctic Monkeys, Martin Garrix, Portugal. The Man and that’s just the top level. In fact, we’re just going to say it, Firefly is definitely on the verge of competing with the likes of Bonnaroo, Coachella, Lollapalooza, and Outside Lands for the title of biggest music lineups in the United States.

 

Camp Bisco
Montage Mountain
Scranton, PA
July 12-14

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We’ve noticed an East Coast festival trend where popular bands act as curators. Camp Bisco is no different taking its name from the infamous Disco Biscuits. This year the Philadelphia band will perform not one, not two, but SIX sets. When the Disco Biscuits aren’t on stage you can take in performances by Bassnectar, Bonobo, Lotus, STS9 and more than 20 additional acts.

 

Long Drive For Someone With Nothing To Think About :: 200 – 499 miles

Boston Calling
Harvard Athletic Complex
Boston, MA
May 25 – 27

Let’s get this out of the way: Natalie Portman’s “film experience” didn’t happen in 2017, but the actress and Harvard grad promised she’d be back in 2018 and we’re happy to report she isn’t a liar. It’s been a long time since Boston’s had a music festival it could call it’s own, but Boston Calling has delivered since 2013.  Top of the bill bands include Eminem, The Killers, and Jack White. Yep, those headliners are playing another festival one weekend later, so the real story of Boston Calling is down bill. Interesting names include Pussy Riot, Perfume Genius, Zola Jesus, and Field Report.

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