Summer, the season of festivals

Nothing says ‘summer’ like a good party. From coast to coast to north and south of the border, parties abound. Regardless of your personal preferences, there is almost certainly something planned that will appeal and, is, quite likely fairly close by.

Although the solstice is behind us and the first month of summer is almost over, there are still plenty of celebrations planned and underway.

Yesterday, June 23, marked the beginning of the Electric Forest electronic music festival in Rothbury, Mich., some 60 miles northwest of Grand Rapids. The festival features an extensive lineup of DJ and music shows and other curated events and runs through June 26.

Summerfest, the festival recognized as “The World’s Largest Music Festival,” starts June 29 in Milwaukee, Wisc., the same day the Festival International de Jazz de Montréal starts in Montréal, Que.

On the West Coast, San Francisco hosts the Pride Parade June 25, and the town of Quincy, Calif., about 145 miles north of Sacramento, hosts the High Sierra Music Festival starting June 30.

July is when temperatures and the festival scene really heat up.

Santa Fe Art Museum
Perhaps the most noteworthy is the Taste of Chicago. Starting July 6, the five-day food festival is expected to draw 1.5 million hungry visitors to Grant Park on the shores of Lake Michigan with its restaurants, food trucks and Celebrity Chef du Jour.

With the mission of celebrating and preserving living folk art traditions and creating economic opportunities for folk artists, the three-day International Folk Art Mart starts in Santa Fe, N.M. on July 8. On the same day, the rodeo, exhibition and festival known as the Calgary Stampede starts in Calgary, Alta.

Mid-month brings the Brooklyn Hip-Hop Festival, which starts July 13 and ends with a finale concert July 16. The yoga and meditation event Wanderlust starts in Squaw Valley, Calif., on Bastille Day, July 14 and runs through July 17 while the Pitchfork Music Festival in Chicago’s Union Park starts July 15.

An outdoor rodeo and western celebration that began in 1897, Cheyenne Frontier Days starts in Cheyenne, Wyo. July 19 and runs through the end of the month.

Comic-Con  returns to the San Diego Convention Center July 21 through 24, marking the 47th year for the show, making it the country’s longest continuously running comics and pop art convention.

Ending the month with music, The Newport Folk Festival, which began in 1959, graces Newport, R.I. July 22 through 24 while Lollapalozza graces the Windy City’s Grant Park July 28 through 31.

The action continues with two festivals starting Aug. 5. The Outside Lands music and arts festival starts in San Francisco while the annual electronic music festival known as Shambhala 2016 kicks off in Salmo, B.C., about 120 miles north of Spokane, Wash.

Seattle's Space Needle
Two of the most (in)famous festivals take place in August. The 76th annual Sturgis Motorcycle Rally comes to Sturgis, S.D., starting Aug. 8 and Burning Man kicks off Aug. 28 in Black
Rock City, a temporary community erected in the Black Rock Desert in Nevada.

Sept. 2 marks the beginning of Bumbershoot in Seattle and the 43rd Telluride Film Festival begins in Telluride, Colo.

Although most people regard summer as over once Labor Day weekend is behind us, as Yogi Berra said, “It ain’t over ‘till it’s over,” and festivals continue well beyond Sept. 5.

The 59th annual Monterey Jazz Festival starts in that northern California city on Sept. 16. Las Vegas holds the Life is Beautiful music, art and culinary festival starting Sept. 23, while the Austin City Limits Festival in that city’s Zilker Park and the Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park both begin Sept. 30.

Particularly in the larger cities, many hotel chains offer specials and package deals in conjunction with their festivals. Check the website of your favorite chain or call the hotel of your choice and ask for details.

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Photos by Carl Dombek
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