Miss Bonnaroo? Check Out These Five Summer Venues Instead!

By Morgan Schwartz

Last night, the Black Eyed Peas were supposed to give those of us stuck in New York City a free concert in Central Park, but thunderstorms caused the show to be canceled.

But even if you’re not down in Tennessee for a fun-filled Bonnaroo weekend, don’t sweat it (although that might be impossible in this summer heat!). There are plenty of other opportunities to see bands take advantage of the beautiful weather and play outdoors throughout the summer. All over the country, there are great summer concert series and festivals going on. So get ready to get out (literally) and hear some great music.

Central Park SummerStage, New York
With performances by Florence and the Machine, Ratatat, Wiz Khalifa, Lykke Li, Sara Bareilles and Nas and Damian Marley — and tickets at $30-$50 — the Central Park SummerStage concert series is something you don’t want to miss. Most of the shows are on weeknights at around 5 p.m., but if you can head out of work a little early and make it to any one of these concerts, it will be worth it.

Hollywood Bowl, Los Angeles
Maroon 5 frontman Adam Levine is taking a break from his gig as celebrity judge on “The Voice” to team up with Train and give anyone in the Los Angeles area a great outdoor concert in the iconic amphitheater. Other concerts the venue is offering this summer include Dolly Parton, Sarah McLachlan and Phish. The experience is truly something special: Whether you’re sitting in the box seats enjoying a picnic-basket dinner or up on the hill looking down onto the stage, the Hollywood Bowl is one of my favorite summer concert venues.

Lollapalooza, Chicago
If you’re not at Bonnaroo and didn’t make it to Coachella (or if you went to both and are just extremely lucky), Lollapalooza is another great opportunity to head to a three-day festival filled with great music. Headlined by Eminem, Foo Fighters, Coldplay, Muse, My Morning Jacket and deadmau5, and featuring other great acts like Cee Lo, Marley and Nas, Arctic Monkeys and Black Lips, Lollapalooza has something for everyone. The beauty of the festival is the sheer amount of music you can expose yourself to when you’re there. Fest creator Perry Farrell told us a few years back about his desire to expose even more people to what Lollapalooza has to offer: “I’d love to see Lollapalooza travel around the world. … Before I die, I would love to see it make its way around the world. … Europe has never seen Lollapalooza or experienced it and people around the country often ask me if it will ever come back and so, for their sake, I’d love to see those wheels start to turn again and travel.” So would we!

Red Rocks Amphitheater, Denver
This natural amphitheater rocks (no pun intended). The beautiful stage is set into the mountains of Colorado. But the scenery is not the only reason to head there to see a concert this summer. The 2011 lineup includes shows by Peter Gabriel, Bassnectar, the Avett Brothers, Pretty Lights, Incubus, Death Cab for Cutie and Kings of Leon.

Electric Daisy Carnival, Las Vegas
The Electric Daisy Carnival is making the big move from L.A. to Vegas this summer. The lineup, which should be released in the next few days, has in the past included some of the most famous techno DJs in the world such as Armin Van Buuren, deadmau5 and Kaskade. Last year, the festival had more than 185,000 attendees. 2010’s headliner, Steven Angello of Swedish House Mafia, said to the massive crowd: “EDC, I’ve never seen anything like this in my entire life, and I’ve DJ’ed everywhere in the world.” This year is the 15th anniversary of the festival and the first year it will take place in Sin City. With so many people heading to the desert for electric music, one thing is for sure — what happens in Vegas will certainly not be staying in Vegas.

What concerts and artists are you most excited to see this summer? Let us know in the comments below!

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