To make our picks for best summer festivals for 2013, we looked for those most connected to their host cities' identities in terms of theme, the experiences to be had and community participation.
"Festivals often highlight the distinctiveness of a city and help it establish its unique brand," says Lee Fisher, president and CEO of CEOs for Cities. "Every city must discover its authenticity and use it as a comparative advantage."
As we wrote on the Livability.com Best Places Blog, the best community festivals benefit cities in six major ways: create or reinforce branding efforts, increase tourism, educate, enhance community pride, encourage exercise and raise money.
Meanwhile, the American Bus Association, which represents the motorcoach tour and travel industry, suggested we also look for locations with attractions beyond the festivals that enhance itineraries for those who attend. The ABA releases its own annual festivals ranking, which is based on bus and tour operators' input.
With these factors in mind, we then consulted with a variety of festival organizers and travel professionals to identify festivals that fulfill most or all of these criteria.
Take a look at our picks for the 10 best festivals that connect with their cities.