Let the Music Play!
What’s better than hearing great live music with the sun on your shoulder? Multiday outdoor festivals are a great opportunity to see performances by big-name artists, not to mention a chance to relax, meet interesting people and explore the local culture. Think of it as an all-inclusive vacay and a major city-revenue booster, which equal a win-win –and a good time– for all. Whether you fancy Philly hip hop, Chicago down-home blues or Jamaican dancehall, we’ve got you covered. So grab your flip-flops, your big blanket and your boo. Summer has arrived, and there’s no better time to hit a festival– or two.
Capital Jazz Fest
Washington, D.C. – Baltimore area June 1-3
The Beats: There’s nothing quite like an outdoor concert in Chocolate City, and the CJF is a bona fide summer must. Celebrating its 20th year, the festival features more than 30 national acts on two stages (jazz and soul). In between sets, browse the Marketplace, which offers fine art and crafts, and the food court where you can sample a genuine Maryland crab cake.
Headliners: Anita Baker, George Benson, India.Aire, Charlie Wilson, Four-Play, Musiq Soulchild and Valerie Simpson who will play tribute to her late husband, Nick Ashford
Attendance: Some 30,000 people from 44 states in 2011
Price per day: $$$ $52.50-$165
Where to stay: The festival takes place at Merriweather Post Pavilion in Columbnia, MD (28 miles from D.C. and 18 miles southwest of Baltimore). Marriott BWI Airport is the host hotel for the official “mix and mingle reception” and the “late night dance party,” but other hotels near the airport offer special festival rates.
Bonus Track: Get more information — and into the groove — at capitaljazz.com, which has its own radio station.
The Beats: This two-day festival hosted by The Roots, Philly’s own hip-hop band, encourages, attendees to bring a blanket and a picnic basket, and just chill. Now in its fifth year, the event is held at Penn’s Landing and has been expanded from one day to two.
Headliners: Kid Cudi, Wale, DeLa Soul and Major Lazer.
Attendance: In the thousands, though the Roots Picnic feels intimate. Attendees are able to get close to the stage and interact with performers.
Price per day: $$ $50
Where to stay: Downtown Philly is a great location, but any hotel off I-95 is in proximity to the festival or one of the many local cheese-steak dives.
SpeakEasy Comedy Lounge Presents: The Well Endowed Comedy Show
Scottsdale, Phx/ June 8-9
Comics: Avery Oliver and Jared Campbell will share the stage with
Headliner: Eric Dugar
Price per ticket: $ $7
Playboy Jazz Festival (PJF)
Los Angeles/ June 16-17
The Beats: Hugh Hefner once called jazz “the music of my dreams,” which may explain why the PJF feels so fairy dusted. Here are three reasons why: L.A. in the summertime; the Hollywood Bowl;and the legends. In its 34 years, the festival has showcased the talents of Ella Fitzgerald, Miles Davis, Marcus Miller and Robert Glasper, just to name a few. Come hear an array of jazz standards, blues, Latin and world fusion. One again, Bill Cosby returns as the master of ceremonies, a gig he’s only missed three times since 1979.
Headliners: Ramsey Lewis, Christian McBride, Sheila E., Boney James and Robin Thicke
Attendance: 35,000 in 2011
Price per day: $$ $20-$160
Where to stay: Get a special rate at the Renaissance Hollywood Hotel & Spa.
Bonus Track Don’t miss the festival’s famous conga lines!
ASU Project Humanities Summer Film Series
Phoenix Metroplex / June 20th and July 17th
The second in a series of three films addressing the question, “Are we losing our humanity?”
The film, Human Experience, will be showing at South Mountain Community Library, Wednesday, June 20th starting at 6 p.m. The film will be followed by a discussion with ASU faculty and community scholars.
The conversation following the first screening was incredibly engaging. There are no experts here.
The series is presented in partnership with ASU Center for Film, Media, and Popular Culture, ASU Emeritus College Faculty of the Humanities, Phoenix Public Library, and Seek First Entertainment.
The date for the final film, Baraka, is Tuesday, July 17th. More details to follow…
Please come out and share your thoughts with us!
The event is free $0 and open to the public, refreshments will be provided.
Montego Bay, Jamaica July 15-21
The Beats: Dubbed “greatest reggae show on Earth,” Sumfest is Jamaica’s leading music festival featuring performances by the biggest artists in the genre, as well as in dancehall, hip-hop and R&B. The five-day event kicks off with Sunday’s beach party; Wednesday is Sound Clash Night; Thursday is Dancehall Night; and Friday and Saturday are both International Nights. This year promises to be particularly special since it marks both the festival’s 20th anniversary and the 50th anniversay of Jamaica’s independence.
Headliners: Damian Marley, Beenie Man, and Mavado. Drake and Rihanna were rumored to be International Night acts at press time.
Attendance: A record 45,000 in 2011. Organizers expect 60,000 this year.
Price per day: $$ $15-$225
Where to stay: Several all-inclusive Mo’Bay resorts have Sumfest travel packages, but if you plan to roam the island by day and the festival at night, you might want to go as cheap as possible on accommodations.