The June 1 issue of Gusto will feature our annual summer concert guide, and I'll offer my thoughts then on what we have in store for us this time around. I'm guessing, however, that some of you have an inkling concerning what's coming to our various outdoor stages. You may have heard of this little thing called "the Internet," which has radically altered the game, in terms of embargoed concert announcements and the like. Information seems to trickle out without rhyme or reason these days.
Bearing that in mind, and factoring in the natural human tendency to lament what isn't coming our way, rather than simply celebrating what is, I'm sure you've pondered a road-trip or two for your summer vacation. Lord knows I have.
It seems a little silly, perhaps, to be contemplating packing up the van and heading out for parts unknown in search of something musically substantial when, let's face it, we are about to be slammed with more concerts than a mere mortal could possibly attend in one three-month period. That said, we must face up to the fact that the Buffalo area is still routinely skipped-over by what many of us might consider to be the most vibrant, must-see bands and artists going. And I'm not just referring to Radiohead. (Although I am referring to Radiohead, in part.)
What's worth blowing town for? That's a personal choice, of course. But I can offer you a few shows that have me frothing at the mouth already, even as our roster of local summer concerts remains incomplete.
Summer Camp Music Festival
Next Friday through May 27, Chillicothe, Ill. (summercamfestival.com)
Upside: Umphrey's McGee, Jane's Addiction, moe., Primus, and, oh, so many more. Reasonable price, reasonable crowd size.
Downside: The travel might deter some. Also, one would be well-advised to leave for Chillicothe from Buffalo midweek, which might be problematic for anyone who has an actual life!
Worth it?: I'd say so.
June 6, Blossom Music Center, Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio
Upside: Radiohead remains one of the most creative and interesting rock bands in the world. If I were a betting man, I'd put some serious money on the band never coming to Buffalo again, so if you want to see the band, you'll have to travel. Blossom Music Center is a beautiful place, though, and an easy ride.
Downside: Gas money.
Worth it?: Uh huh.
Bonaroo Music and Arts Festival
June 8, Manchester, Tenn. (bonaroo.com).
Upside: The lineup is absurdly strong and diverse.
Downside: Manchester, Tenn., ain't exactly down the street, is it?
Worth it?: Only for the devout festivalgoer.
June 11-17, various locations, Toronto, Ont., Canada (nxne.com).
Upside: The Flaming Lips are headlining! Followed by 649 other bands.
Downside: None, really. This is the option for folks not willing or able to venture to Austin, Texas, for the yearly SXSW Festival.
Worth it?: Yeah!
July 6-8, Saratoga Performing Arts Center, Saratoga Springs.
Upside: You get to see Phish, which you won't be able to do if you stay in Buffalo. Also, SPAC is one of the coolest venues in the state.
Downside: Good luck getting a room in Saratoga during the summer. And don't even think about trying to crash/camp in the state park housing SPAC.
Worth it?: Yup.
July 6, Constellation Brands Marvin Sands Performing Arts Center, Canandaigua.
Upside: Presently, there is no Furthur date booked for our immediate area. The band has grown over the past year into a force worthy of its members' histories.
Downside: You'll miss the first night of Phish at SPAC.
Worth it?: Definitely.
Aug. 10-12, Snow Ridge Ski Resort, Turin (moedown.com).
Upside: moe., Umphrey's McGee, Grace Potter and the Nocturnals, Aqueous and many more, all in an idyllic setting for a reasonable fee.
Downside: I wish moe., being from Buffalo, would hold its yearly festival here.
Worth it?: Yes!