Top 12 Summer Music Festivals in Smaller Cities 2015

By Raven Petty on May 16, 2014 at 6:00 am EST
What the Festival in Dufur, Ore., hosts the Northwest's largest pool party.

PHOTO CREDIT: Photo courtesy of What the Festival

Summer music festivals have entertained crowds of all sizes for decades. Sure, you've got your massive festivals like Lollapalooza, Cochellas and Bumbershoots, but there are dozens of alternatives in your neck of the woods. Don't miss out on the fun at these festivals:

Wakarusa, Ozark, Ark., June 4-7, 2015
Headliners: Ben Harper & The Innocent Criminals, Major Lazer, The Roots
Enjoy views from Mulberry Mountain and this four-day festival with six stages and more than 150 acts. Other activities include a Waka (ferris) wheel, Technaflora's Costume Contest and Parade, and yoga.

Bonnaroo, Manchester, Tenn., June 11-14, 2015
Headliners: Billy Joel, Mumford & Sons, Deadmau5
With 10 stages, more than 80,000 people spread out on 700 acres for music, fun and culture. Be sure to check out the Silent Disco, comedy theater, or watch a movie at the 24-hour Bonnaroo Cinema tent.

Snowmass Music Fest, Snowmass, Colo., June 12-14, 2015
Headliners: Tedeschi Trucks Band, Whitewater Ramble, Greensky Bluegrass
Brews and chili are what attendees will sample at this summer music fest. More than 25 breweries serve locally made brews, and the festival hosts two International Chili Society competitions.

Taste of Country Music Festival, Lanesville, N.Y., June 12-14, 2015
Headliners: Tim McGraw, Keith Urban, Toby Keith
In its third year, this is the only multiday country music festival in the northeast U.S. Take the SkyRide over the crowd, stop by the petting zoo, or try your luck with a bull ride.

What the Festival, Dufur, Ore., June 19-22, 2015
Headliners: Big Gigantic, ODESZA, GRiZ
The signature stage is the Splash Stage, where party-goers splash and dance to live acts, creating the northwest's largest pool party. Other must-try activities include the Oasis Spa and Sauna and the Illuminated Forest.

Telluride Blugrass, Telluride, Colo., June 18-21, 2015
Headliners: Janelle Monae, Kacey Musgraves, Sam Bush Band
This festival has showcased the best of Telluride Bluegrass for more than 40 years. Attendees can gaze into San Juan Mountain views, and be sure to check out the signature workshops and band contests.

Sierra Nevada World Music Festival, Boonville, Calif., June 19-21, 2015
Headliners: Jimmy Cliff, Thievery Corporation, Steel Pulse
For more than 20 years, this fest has brought the best in reggae and world music to two stages. The Festival Village features food and craft vendors, and night owls can groove in the Jamacian-style dancehall.

Electric Forest, Rothbury, Mich., June 25-28, 2015
Headliners: The String Cheese Incident, BASSNECTAR, Skrillex
Music and colorful lights set the energetic vibe at this summer party. The stages, tents, booths and even forest glow as people dance, eat and play the weekend away.

Rock USA, Oshkosh, Wis., July 15-18, 2015
Headliners: Alice Kooper, Def Leppard, Avenged Sevenfold
Party like a rock star with some of the biggest metal bands for four days of music, camping and food. Attendees can buy band memorabilia or browse vendor booths for accessories.

Gathering of the Vibes, Bridgeport, Conn., July 30-Aug. 2, 2015
Headliners: Wilco, Warren Haynes, Weezer
In its 20th year, festival-goers can lounge on the beach at Seaside Park while listening to their favorite artists. Be sure to bring extra nonperishable items and clothes for the food drive, which benefits the local community.

Summer Meltdown, Darrington, Wash., Aug. 6-9, 2015
Headliners: STS9, Iration, Tycho
This 15-year-old festival blends atmospheres, music and relaxing on the river. Kids have their own meltdown zone, complete with derby car races and a create-your-own costume center.

Bayfront Blues Festival, Duluth, Minn., Aug. 7-9, 2015
Headliners: Otis Clay, NRBQ, Charlie Musselwhite
This blues fest is one of the largest outdoor events in the upper Midwest. For 27 years, more than 500 blues and blues/rock performers have performed on the Bayfront Festival Park's two stages.

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