The Best Fests: 2017 Summer Festival Guide

Summertime brings us a wealth of music festival options, but which ones are really worth your precious time and dollars? Here’s our recommended rundown of the best summer fests in ‘17.

Essence FestivalEssence Festival
When: June 30th – July 2nd
Where: Mercedes-Benz Superdome (New Orleans, LA)
Who: Diana Ross, John Legend, India.Arie, Moses Sumney, Gallant, Yuna, Ro James, Mary J. Blige, Jill Scott, Chaka Khan, Jazmine Sullivan, Jhene Aiko, Chance the Rapper, Master P, Mystikal, Solange, Leela James
What: Celebrating its 23rd anniversary this year, the Essence fest sports not only a stellar nightly musical lineup, but also a free, daytime series of inspirational speeches and experiences promising “a fresh outlook on how to build a better future for yourself and for your community.”

FYF FestivalFYF Fest 2017
When: July 21st – 23rd
Where:
Exposition Park (Los Angeles, CA)
Who:
Missy Elliot, Bjork, Frank Ocean, Nine Inch Nails, A Tribe Called Quest, Anderson.Paak, Erykah Badu, Iggy Pop, Solange, Run The Jewels, Flying Lotus, MGMT, Little Dragon, Thundercat
What:
If you value eclecticism in your festival lineups, this LA fest is the one for you. Safe to say that Missy, Little Dragon, and Nine Inch Nails won’t be sharing too many other bills this year.

Summer Spirit FestivalSummer Spirit Festival
When: August 5th – 6th
Where:
Merriweather Post Pavilion (Columbia, Maryland)
Who: Babyface, Bell Biv DeVoe, Fantasia, SWV, De La Soul, The Internet, Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue, Guy featuring Teddy Riley, Common, En Vogue, Ro James, DJ Kool, Experience Unlimited featuring Sugarbear, Tish Hyman, Moonchild, Wisdom Speeks, Jazmine Sullivan
What: You’ll be hard pressed to find a better mix of soul, R&B, jazz, go go, and new jack swing than in this Washington metro festival’s lineup.

AfropunkAfropunk
When: August 26th – 27th
Where:
Commodore Barry Park (New York, NY)
Who:
Raphael Saadiq, Anderson.Paak, Sampha, Gary Clark, Jr., Michael Kiwanuka, Kaytrandada, SZA, Soul II Soul, Thundercat, Dizzee Rascal, NAO, Willow Smith, Macy Gray, the Cool Kids, serpentwithfeet, Pure Disgust
What:
Soak in the mix of music, art, and politics at what has been dubbed “the most multicultural festival in the US.” And rememder, Brooklyn’s just one of your Afropunk Fest options this year—there are editions in Atlanta, Paris, and London also on tap. Or flash your passport and jet off to AP Joburg in Johannesburg, South Africa to close out 2017 with an unforgettable concert experience.

TrillectroTrillectro
When:  August 27th
Where:
Merriweather Post Pavilion (Columbia, Maryland)
Who:  TBA

What:
For hip-hop heads in the DC metro, Trillectro’s lineup will deliver both massive stars and hungry young talents with plenty to prove.

Made in America FestivalMade in America Festival
When: September 2nd – 3rd
Where:
Benjamin Franklin Parkway (Philadelphia, PA)
Who:
J. Cole, The Chainsmokers, Kaskade, Marshmello, Migos, Solange, Run The Jewels, Little Dragon, 21 Savage, Sampha, Cash Cash, R3hab, Pusha T, Vic Mensa, DMX
What:
If The Roots Picnic only whetted your appetite for live music in the 215, Made in America will hit the spot. They don’t shut the Ben Franklin down for just any festival, you know.

meadows music and arts festival

The Meadows Music & Arts Festival
When: September 15th – 17th
Where:
Citi Field Queens (New York, NY)
Who:
JAY Z, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Gorillaz, Future, Weezer, Nas, Run The Jewels, M.I.A., Erykah Badu, Migos, TV on the Radio, Joey Bada$$, 21 Savage, Sleigh Bells, Broods, Lizzo, Jacob Banks
What:
Praised by Stereogum as the best NYC festival of 2016, The Meadows Fest returns to Citi Field. New this year: a third festival day, packed with even more musical heavyweights.

Camp Flog Gnaw Carnival

Camp Flog Gnaw Carnival
When: October 28th – 29th
Where: Exposition Park (Los Angeles, CA)
Who: TBD
What: Any festival curated by Tyler, The Creator promises to be a uniquely exciting experience. The 2017 lineup is yet to be announced, but last year’s bill featured Lil Wayne, Schoolboy Q, Chance the Rapper, A$APs Rocky and Ferg, Anderson.Paak, and Kaytranada, to name a few.