Crowds Enjoying Themselves

Our Summer Guide to Music Festivals Under $75

When you think of summer, what comes to mind?

  1. No school
  2. Short-shorts
  3. Sandy beaches
  4. Festival season
  5. All the above, dummy

If you answered “e”, you are correct (though technically you’re correct if you answered anything else, too).  Summertime equals festival time. So if the Bonnaroos and Coachellas and Lollapaloozas are a bit out of your price range, fret not; we’ve compiled a list of 5 awesome summer music fests for under $75.

Chicago Blues Festival

John Lee Hooker, Bluesman

John Lee Hooker Blues Fest 1986 via Flickr

  • Genre: Blues
  • Price: Free!
  • Where: Chicago, Illinois
  • When: June 12-14
  • Who: Austin Walkin’ Cane, Buddy Guy, Cash Box Kings, Jarekus Singleton, Johnny Rawls, Lurrie Bell, Marquise Knox, Paul Oscher Trio, Taj Mahal Trio, Toronzo Cannon, Vickie Baker and more.
  • What: Why not honor BB King’s legacy with the largest free blues festival in the world? Since 1984, the Chicago Blues Festival has been a Windy City staple. Did we mention it’s free?

Telluride Bluegrass Fest

Willie Watson Telluride

Old Crow Medicine Show Telluride 2011 via Wikimedia

  • Genre: Bluegrass/R&B
  • Price: $70 for a 1-day pass
  • Where: Telluride, Colorado
  • When: June 18-21
  • Who: Hot Rize, Janelle Monáe, John Butler Trio, Lake Street Dive, Mustered Courage, Ricky Skaggs, Rhiannon Giddens, Rhonda Vincent & The Rage, Robert Earl Keen, Robert Ellis, Ry Cooder, Sam Bush Band, Sharon White, Trampled By Turtles and more.
  • What: Yee-haw! Telluride’s 42nd annual Bluegrass Fest is sure to be a whopping, rollicking fun time. The festival runs from 10 a.m. to midnight each day, so be sure you come prepared.


Judas Priest 2799-2010-30-01

Judas Priest Summerfest 2010 via Wikimedia

  • Genre: Rock/Alt/Country
  • Price: $19 for 1 day; $45 for a 3-day pass; $80 for 11-day pass
  • Where: Milwaukee, Wisconsin
  • When: June 24-28; June 30 – July 5 (What’s the deal with the 29th? Is Garfield on the planning committee?)
  • Who: Ed Sheeran, Keith Urban, Kings of Leon, Linkin Park, Lupe Fiasco, Mates of State, Motion City Soundtrack, Sheryl Crow, Smash Mouth, Stevie Wonder, The Flaming Lips, The Rolling Stones, Zac Brown Band and more
  • What: Referred to as “the world’s largest music fest,” Summerfest offers more than 800 acts over 11 days and 11 stages. The price is certainly right, and what else is there to do in Milwaukee (besides the obvious visit to Laverne’s and Shirley’s Shotz Bottling factory)?

Loudwire Music Festival


Weezer 2011 via Flickr

  • Genre: Rock/Metal
  • Price: $79 (We know it’s $4 over, but c’mon, it’s Weezer!)
  • Where: Grand Junction, Colorado.
  • When: June 26-28
  • Who: A Day to Remember, All That Remains, Chevelle, Hinder, Hoobastank, Linkin Park, Righteous Vendetta, Rob Zombie, Scarlet & The Harlots, Splitfist, Wayland, Weezer and more.
  • What: This one’s new, so be sure to hop on the bandwagon before it gets too crowded. Loudwire offers 3 jam-packed days of rock ‘n’ roll mayhem. You’ll laugh. You’ll cry. Your ears will probably bleed from all the noise.
New Kids on the Block

New Kids on the Block 2009 via Wikimedia

Mixtape Festival

  • Genre: Pop/R&B
  • Price: $70
  • Where: Hershey, Pennsylvania
  • When: June 27th
  • Who: New Kids on the Block, Nelly, Salt-N-Peppa, Sugar Ray and Vanilla Ice.
  • What: Talk about a blast from the past. Hershey’s generically-titled Mixtape Festival features all your favorite groups from yesterday, plus Vanilla Ice! Does Joey McIntyre ever age?
Ty Segall at Bumbershoot Festival 2012

Ty Segall at Bumbershoot 2012


  • Genre: Rock/Pop/Hip-Hop
  • Price: $65 for 1-day pass
  • Where: Seattle, Washington
  • When: September 5-7
  • Who: Cake, Brand New, Brandon Flowers, Chance the Rapper, Ellie Goulding, Faith No More, Flying Lotus, Mikal Cronin, Minus the Bear, Motopony, Neko Case, Social Distortion, The Airborne Toxic Event, The Melvins and more.
  • What: For 45 years, Seattle’s Bumbershoot has been bringing some of the biggest, baddest names in music, so grab a coffee and your umbrella and enjoy one of the summer’s best (and cheapest) festivals.

Can’t make these festivals? No problem! Here’s the next best thing: We’ve created a Spotify playlist with some of our favorite songs.

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