When It Comes to Music Festivals, There’s Something For Every Student


Published: April 22, 2010

Every year, throughout America, thousands of college students start checking hotel reservations and future flight plans for various areas throughout America and the world.  Many of these trips start in April and go throughout the summer. This isn’t your typical summer vacation, though.  These trips involve massive stages, earplugs and your favorite, faded band T-shirt.  The 2010 Music Festival season is underway!

Modeled after the rock star summit that was Woodstock, these festivals bring artists and fans together, typically bringing an entire weekend of live music that’s much cheaper than seeing the artists individually. It may seem steep at first, but $150 to see over 20 bands, including a typically huge headliner, is a good deal. Whether you want to explore the underground music scene and see what you dig up or you want to shout out every word of a hit single with thousands of fans, there’s a festival with your name on it.


For Those Who Can’t Afford to Travel: The Bamboozle
May 1-2, East Rutherford, N.J.

Unfortunately, the New York area is notoriously unlucky when it comes to large-scale music festivals.  Several festivals have tried to succeed in either the outskirts of the city or in New Jersey, only to falter after a couple of years (All Points West is the latest victim of this trend).  Luckily, The Bamboozle has survived for years, possibly due to its placement in Meadowlands Sports Complex instead of constructed stages and sound systems on an open field.  The rain-or-shine event definitely skews toward some of today’s most popular acts.  If the thought of mainstream music makes you shudder, stay away.  Otherwise, feel free to enjoy two days of music in a familiar arena/stadium setting.  Also think about checking out the pre-show on April 30 called Hoodwink, which features bands covering the catalogues of other artists, such as Motion City Soundtrack performing the music of Nine Inch Nails.

Tickets: $27 for single-day passes, $116 for three-day pass
Headliners: Paramore and Weezer
Other Acts: Drake, MGMT, Ke$ha, Girl Talk, Matt & Kim, Bullet For My Valentine
How to Get There: Rail service to the Meadowlands is your best bet.  The trains only run for major events though so check with njtransit.com before making your plans.
Web site: www.thebamboozle.com


For Those Who Love The Great Outdoors: Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival
June 10-13, Manchester, Tenn.

Along with Coachella and Lollapalooza, Bonnaroo is one of the “Big Three” music festivals in America.  Spread out over at least six stages, multiple tents and even cafés, there is something for everyone at Bonnaroo. Don’t look for hotel rooms, though.  The average Bonnaroo attendee opts for the wilderness instead, using the 700-acre farm that the festival sits on for camping. If you plan to attend, make sure you have all the materials required to build a tent along with plenty of food, liquids, a change of clothes, a sleeping bag, a backpack and even toilet paper.  If you can afford it, Bonnaroo is offering on-site tent rentals but these will cost you a steep $750. If you bring any valuables, do NOT leave them in your tent.  Keep them on you at all times to keep thieves away.  Some people try to lock their tent instead, but I wouldn’t advise this either.  It will just draw attention to your belongings by people looking to rip you off.  Keep your valuables by your side and you’ll be guaranteed to have a great, safe time.

Tickets: $234.50 plus fees if you register early, $249.50 once the cheaper tickets sell out.
Headliners: Dave Matthews Band, Jay-Z, Kings of Leon, Stevie Wonder
Other Acts: The Dead Weather, Damian Marley and Nas, Phoenix, The National, Norah Jones, Conan O’Brien
How to Get There: Get to Manchester or Nashville in whatever way you prefer. Then rent a car if you didn’t drive there, and get ready for a long haul. Traffic to Bonnaroo is known to be brutal due to the thousands of people attending and the large amount of checkpoints. Either get there really early on Thursday or really late (but make sure to see you’re not missing any acts you like first).  This won’t guarantee less traffic, but it’ll help your chances.
Web site: www.bonnaroo.com


For Those Metalheads Out There: Mayhem Festival
June 10–Aug. 14, Traveling Festival

While many of the festivals found throughout the U.S. feature a variety of acts, the heavy metal genre is usually ignored. While there’s a wide variety of indie music or rock music, heavy metal is an acquired taste that’s more difficult to pick up from seeing an unknown band at a festival.  Luckily for all of you headbangers out there, the Mayhem Festival will be coming to your neighborhood soon enough. One of the few traveling festivals around this year, Mayhem will take its entire lineup to most major markets in the country this summer.  Since the tour will be held in amphitheaters, there isn’t a date for New York. But those of you who don’t mind a little travel can head out to Holmdel, N.J. on July 28. The setup of the show has three different stages, but unlike at bigger festivals such as Bonnaroo, there aren’t many conflicts with two bands playing different stages at the same time.

Tickets: $26 for General Admission, $45 to $55 for Reserved Pavilion
Headliners: Korn, Rob Zombie, Lamb of God, Five Finger Death Punch
Other Acts: Atreyu, Chimaira, Hatebreed, In This Moment, Norma Jean, Shadows Fall
How to Get There: Depends on which show you go to, but most amphitheater venues should have a bus or rail leading there and back to the main city. In this case, driving may not be a terrible idea. The shows are small enough that traffic won’t be ridiculous.  Watch out for overpriced parking fees, though.


For Those Who Want An Overseas Adventure: Oxygen Festival
July 8-11, Eadestown, Ireland

The U.S. may have really great festivals, but if you feel like traveling and hearing some great music while you’re over there, then Oxygen Festival is for you. Besides being Ireland’s biggest music festival, it is also the largest 100 percent carbon neutral event in the country.  Managing this feat at any festival is a challenge.  Managing to do it at a festival with an attendance of 90,000 people per day?  That’s a mini-miracle. The show has taken on a somewhat legendary status in the world with many foreigners traveling to the festival. It’s generally viewed as Ireland’s version of Glastonbury, the legendary U.K. music festival that’s regarded as one of the best in the world. Sprawled out between the eight stages of music are three large areas for camping (see Bonnaroo for details about that).  While many festivals have the multiple stages and camping sites, Oxygen uniquely includes a fully functional carnival with a Ferris wheel and a roller coaster. So if you’re traveling to Ireland, are environmentally friendly and like carnivals, Oxygen is the place for you.

Tickets: $133 for a one-day ticket, $267 for a three-day pass, and $300 for a three-day camping pass
Headliners: Eminem, Muse, Arcade Fire, Jay-Z
Other Acts: The Black Eyed Peas, Fatboy Slim, Florence and the Machine, Kasabian, The Prodigy, Vampire Weekend
How To Get There: Being environmental, Oxygen recommends public transportation for getting to the festival. Parking space is also severely limited and shuttle buses will be given priority over regular cars when leaving the venue. For Oxygen transportation, go green.