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Up for a festival? (Vol. 1)

The pandemic has certainly taken a toll on the music industry, like many other sectors, and fans have been missing the experience of going to concerts. So, when the organisers of Chicago’s Lollapalooza decided to hold the major festival in July 2021, with vaccination and negative test requirements in place, it proved that with the right precautions, outdoor music events could be restarted. While only a few big brands returned last year, this year we have the full slate of festivals to choose from again. Most of Europe doesn’t kick off its season until July, so let’s check out the most promising events overseas in the coming months!

Beale Street Music Festival is the official opening event of Memphis’ annual celebration, Memphis in May. The month-long event starts kicks off with a weekend of Beale Street (April 29-May 1), which always showcases the arts and culture of a particular country, this year Ghana. But for music fans, the main venue will be Tom Lee Park, where you can catch the legends and current stars of rock, country, folk, and rap. Megan Thee Stallion, The Smashing Pumpkins, Van Morrison, and Lil Wayne are all part of the lineup.

Las Vegas’ Lovers & Friends is a true unadulterated “nostalgia festival” featuring some of the biggest names in ’90s and ’00s hip-hop and R&B. There’ll be Usher, Lauryn Hill, TLC, Ciara, Ashanti, Lil Kim, and Eve, among others, but really, you’ll find almost every major artist in the genre here on 14 and 15 May.

The last weekend in May sees the return of one of the biggest American festivals, Boston Calling. The Memorial Day event is primarily for rock lovers, with names like Metallica, Nine Inch Nails, and The Strokes, but fans of other genres will also find a lot to love.

Also that weekend is BottleRock in Napa Valley, California, which has always been as much about food, wine, craft beers, and culinary demonstrations as it is about music, with a focus on folk-inspired performers but also a lot of pop music. There will be Metallica, but also The Black Crowes, Banks, Pink, and Kygo.

In June, the season continues in New York with Governors Ball, which was pushed back to September last year but will be back to its original June spot this year. The big apple’s summer launch event will take place at Citi Field with acts such as Kid Cudi, J. Cole, Ashnikko, Jack Harlow, and JPEGMAFIA.

From 16 to 19 June, Manchester, Tennessee, will host the Bonnaroo festival, which was also postponed until autumn last year. There will be Chris Lake, Denzel Curry, Ludacris, and Flume, but there will be over 100 other acts to choose from when you visit in mid-June.