advertisement

As spring turns into summer, the time to begin frolicking in and flitting about the outdoors is upon us. There is no better way to celebrate that then partaking in some live tunes. If you are a music fan -- and up for a little journey -- consider making a trip to one of these premier U.S. music festivals. From indie rock, to folk, to the blues and classical fare, you can get it all. And it's not only about the music: You'll find great art, film and food at these hootenannies. So pick your passion, pack up the iPod, and get ready to soak up some sun -- the good times are right around the corner.

Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival -- Indio, CA (April 27-29)
Frommers.com Coachella Festival event listing

Located outside of Palm Springs, California -- and on the grounds of the Empire Polo Field -- Coachella is the wildly popular desert festival that is celebrating its eighth year -- and is only getting bigger. Geared towards a hipster leaning crowd, it has now expanded from two to three days so you can get more bang for your buck with acts ranging from Bjork to the Arcade Fire to Willie Nelson. When you want to escape the blistering sun -- no worries, it cools down at night -- there are a wide array of video installations to keep you entertained. This year the three-day passes sold out in record time, but tickets are still available ($86) for Friday's musical mélange. Hurry though, they won't last for long. For more information on tickets, accommodations and things to do in the Coachella Valley visit www.coachella.com.

New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Jazz Festival -- New Orleans, LA (April 27-29 & May 4-6)
Frommers.com New Orleans Jazz Fest event listing

Only in the birthplace of jazz -- New Orleans -- could such a party go down. Over a two weekend period, throngs of top-tier jazz artists (including the Pharoah Sanders Quartet, Arturo Sandoval, the James Carter Organ Trio and more) will converge on the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Jazz Festival to take part in what has become a city institution. The celebration of jazz is at it core, but artists will range from adult contemporary fare (Norah Jones) to hip-hop (Ludacris) to country (Brad Paisley) and beyond. With eleven stages to choose from your head will spin, so pace yourself. Luckily there is a vast amount of amazing down home grub to be had here so you can keep that energy up when making those musical treks. So grab those Tums, get in line for the crawfish étouffée, and make sure your dancing shoes are on tight because New Orleans is firmly back in the game. Advance single day tickets begin at $35. For additional information about the festival, VIP passes, the full line-up and more visit www.nojazzfest.com.

Chicago Blues Festival -- Chicago, IL (June 7-10)
Frommers.com Chicago Blues Fest event listing

Chicago is a music town with more festivals that you can shake a drumstick at (Lollapalooza, Pitchfork Media Festival, Chicago Gospel Music Festival, and on and on) but the mother of them all is the Chicago Blues Festival located in Grant Park. Not only is it the biggest -- attracting over 750,000 fans during its four day run -- it's actually free. This year legendary blues titans include Koko Taylor, Irma Thomas, Bobby Rush and will feature a rousing tribute to Howlin' Wolf, who would have been 97 this year. Besides the music, this festival is smack dab in the middle of Chicago so there are a million other activities you can partake in during your visit that will keep you entertained when you want to shake off the blues. To learn more about the festival, lodgings and Chicago log onto www.chicagobluesfestival.us.

Festival of Contemporary Music at Tanglewood -- Lenox, MA (July 29-August 3)

Tanglewood is the summer home of the Boston Symphony Orchestra (BSO), and a first class destination for classical fans to hear new music from fellows at the Tanglewood Music Center, the BSO and other artists, all while tucked in the bucolic Berkshires. But don't think the Festival of Contemporary Music is strictly for the highbrow, this event offers incredibly affordable $11 lawn seating -- and a great place to lounge with a picnic basket and a loved one. When you are not busy getting your "civilized" on, this area is an antiquing paradise and boasts Kripalu, one of the most established yoga and holistic centers in the country that is a mere jaunt away. So no matter if you go more for the music or the meditation, your senses are bound to be soothed. Schedules, tickets, and more information about this and other events at Tanglewood can be found at www.bso.org. To request a catalog about Kripalu visit www.kripalu.org.

Dunkin Donuts Newport Folk Fest -- Newport, Rhode Island (August 3-5)
Frommers.com Newport Folk Fest event listing

Yes, this is that folk festival where Dylan went electric in 1965 and all hell broke loose. People got over it and continue to make the annual weekend long trek to the seaside town of Newport, RI to listen to not only folk, but bluegrass, the blues and other musical genres at the Dunkin Donuts Newport Folk Fest. Alison Krauss (who made her first national festival appearance here when she was only 14) is back with her band Union Station along with Emmylou Harris, the Allman Brothers Band, Amos Lee, the North Mississippi Allstars, Alejandro Escovado and many more. Folkie or not, you're bound to find exactly what you are looking for here. Three-day passes start at $135 and reserved single day tickets are $75. For additional information visit www.festivalproductions.net and www.gonewport.com.

Michigan Womyn's Music Festival-Walhalla, Michigan (August 7-12)
Frommers.com Womyn's Fest event listing

This female-only festival is set on 650 acres in rural Michigan and prides herself on sharing the experience of music, art and self-improvement in a womyn-friendly environment. The long running Michigan Womyn's Music Festival is definitely for those that love to camp and requires two shifts of on-site community service to give more of a commune feel. All tickets are on a sliding scale -- beginning at $395 for the entire week, $60 for a single day -- to benefit those of lower incomes and includes all concerts, meals, childcare and workshops (this year featuring Muay Thai kickboxing, salsa and meringue dancing, and more). More than just a festival, it's about getting in touch with nature, oneself and loving thy neighbor with music as the soundtrack to it all. Learn more about the Michigan Womyn's Music Festival -- including artist line-up, ticket prices, and travel -- at www.michfest.com.

Talk with fellow Frommer's travelers on our Road Trip Message Boards today.