A music festivus for the rest of us

Three weeks ago, the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival in Indio, California, officially kicked off the glorious summer music festival season. After the annual Coachella Festival, there are always a slew of other music fests all over the country and it can be hard to choose which ones, if any, are worth attending. While the most ambitious music enthusiasts may be willing to travel varying distances to attend great fests such as The Gorge in Washington, Rothbury in Michigan, Bumbershoot in Seattle, or even the legendary Glastonbury in England, most students are limited to less expensive festivals closer to home. These limitations still leave students with some great options, though, so below are a few summer music fests, rated on affordability, location, accommodations, and, of course, the quality of the lineup. Bonnaroo Music Festival- Although this festival is quite pricey, with 4-day passes starting at $209, and it is farther from Ames than the others on this list, it offers a top quality experience that is hard to find anywhere else. Bonnaroo is located on a sprawling farm in Manchester, Tennessee, and will take place from June 12-15 this year. Unlike the music festivals in big cities, Bonnaroo’s isolation allows for the festival-goers to camp on site, which solves the usual accommodations problems. Bonnaroo has also recently decided to make their festival as “green” as possible, with additions like Planet Roo, an area of the farm dedicated to being environmentally friendly with a solar powered stage. Other activities special to Bonnaroo include a large market where artists and vendors sell an assortment of items, a silent disco, and yoga classes offered throughout the festival. The lineup this year includes several well-known performers, with headliners such as Pearl Jam, Jack Johnson and Kanye West, but also many great bands that are only well-known among their respective demographics, such as Broken Social Scene, Talib Kweli, Mason Jennings, Sigur Ros, and many more. This festival is not just a big concert, but a true music experience that is generally enjoyed by all who attend. If the 12 hour drive to central Tennessee doesn’t scare you off, this fest is definitely worth checking out. Lollapalooza- This is a huge festival taking place in the middle of Chicago, in Grant Park, from August 1-3. The price for a 3-day pass is around $200, depending on when purchased. While Lollapalooza offers the city of Chicago for an abundance of entertainment options, this means more expensive lodging than at other more rural fests. Hotel rooms can be very pricey in downtown Chicago, especially on the weekend of such a large festival. It does not provide as many distractions as Bonnaroo, and it doesn’t really need to. There are so many stages set up throughout the park, with bands playing at almost all times, that there is always something to do. The lineup this year has made headlines, with Radiohead and Rage Against the Machine headlining, along with other notable performers such as Gnarls Barkley, Bloc Party, The National, Lupe Fiasco, Explosions in the Sky, and many others. This festival might cost a lot of money, with parking, lodging, tickets, and eating in the city, but Lollapalooza is sure to entertain and could very well be worth it. Pitchfork Music Festival- Another festival based in Chicago, Pitchfork is a much smaller, cheaper, and more intimate festival experience than Lollapalooza. Located in Union Park, this fest provides three days of musical enjoyment from July 18-20, for the extremely reasonable price of $65. This low ticket price can make the lodging situation in Chicago seem less gruesome. The fest has only three stages set up, creating a more relaxed environment than the bigger music festivals. The lineup is based more on quality than quantity, with groups like Spoon, Dinosaur Jr., The Apples in Stereo, Animal Collective, and Public Enemy all performing. If you are looking for an affordable, comfortable, and high quality music festival, this might be the one. 80/35- This one is so close to home, it might not even feel like anything more than a regular concert, but it seems bound to be much more than that. Located in Des Moines’s Western Gateway Park, it is a two-day festival with tickets costing $50 for a 2-day pass. The full lineup has not been announced yet, but it has already been revealed that The Roots and The Flaming Lips will be headlining, to groups that Des Moines should be very proud to have. Andrew Bird, The Yonder Mountain String Band and several other local bands will also be performing. This outdoor festival on July 4 and 5 will most likely be a great triumph for the Des Moines music scene, and should please most music lovers. As far as affordability, lodging, eating, and travel is concerned, it does not get much better than 80/35.