Every year, college students flock to amphitheaters, concert halls and theaters for a round of annual summer concerts.  With the warm summer wind crawling through the air and the carefree relaxation of the season dominating, artists invade cities melting with summer heat annually, selling out summer tours and festivals such as Bonnaroo, Summer Camp, Lollapalooza and Faster Horses Festival.

While the Wharton has plenty of concerts to see this summer, students are going beyond Michigan to see their favorite acts. Photo credit: Julia Grippe

“Summer concerts appear to be special because you are not only paying to hear an artist you enjoy, but you’re paying for the atmosphere,” said Lindsay Shafer, an education sophomore.  “I believe outdoor summer concerts and festivals are becoming more popular because they offer more than just a show.”

Since one of the most famous summer music festivals in 1969, Woodstock, festivals such as Lollapalooza (established in 1991) and Bonnaroo (established in 2002) have toured the United States with a treasure trove of varying musical acts each year.  These acts include hip-hop, rock, pop and even comedy troupes.

“This summer I will be going to Summer Camp,” said Kevin Smith, a media arts and information and communications junior. Summer Camp is a music festival in Chillicothe, Illinois.

Summer Camp sets up shop every Memorial Day Weekend.  At the festival, a variety of activities are also held. There are centers for children called Kids Camp, which allow children to be attended to during the concerts, as well as a family-friendly area in which most adults and children participate.

Since 2001, Summer Camp has expanded to more than 15,000 attendees, while hosting more than 100 bands on their seven stages over a period of three days.  This year’s headliners include Moe., Umphrey’s McGee, and the Trey Anastasio Band.  For the full lineup, see http://summercampfestival.com/lineup/.

“At many festivals there are extra activities, campgrounds, chances to meet people and an opportunity to see more than one artist,” said Shafer.  “I also think it has become a lifestyle for many people our age.  Going from festival to festival with a group of friends makes for a very exciting summer.”

For many college students, music festivals are the time to let their hair down, not shower for a few days and live as if there is no future or past.  With a warm breeze and cold refreshment, summer festivals may seem like a type of paradise.

Another popular music festival is Faster Horses, being held July 19, 20 and 21 in Brooklyn, Michigan.  This country music festival headlines with some of country music’s most famous names, including Jason Aldean and Luke Bryan.

At Faster Horses, audiences are able to camp in the “rolling Irish hills” of Michigan while enjoying some of their favorite country musical acts.  This year, the show is being dubbed the “three-day hillbilly sleepover.”

Not only are music festivals popular during the summer season, but also regular music tours.

“So far I’m going to see Grizzly Bear and The XX at The Fillmore in Detroit on June 12, and Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros at the Kalamazoo State Theatre on June 24,” said Amanda Heckenkamp, a sociology freshman.  “Any concert is special, regardless of the season, because there is absolutely nothing better than being able to support someone in what they love to do, and love the art that they are creating at the same time.”

Like Heckenkamp, Shafer expects to see some of her favorite bands in the warm and relaxed days of summer this season, including The Lumineers and Cold War Kids.

“Summer concerts are popular because it’s one of the few times of the year where you can fully enjoy them, meaning you don’t have to worry about classes,” said Smith.  “But more importantly, they create a distinct memory for that summer that will stand out from the rest.”

Heckenkamp agreed with Smith on this.

“Summer concerts are so popular because there is more time to be able to attend them and more time to have fun,” she said. “Summer concerts have a different vibe.  Regardless of the artist, the shows seem to be a little more upbeat and everybody’s feeling good and are more carefree.”

For a complete list of upcoming concert dates and ticket information in Michigan, check out: http://www.miconcerts.com.

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