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I was never the girl who jumped with excitement when summer music festival lineups were announced. I couldn’t fathom why anyone would be inclined to stand or sit in the heat, or rain, around hundreds or thousands of drunk concert goers for hours on end. But thanks to the impact of social media and because I’ve watched Beyoncé’s Homecoming on a loop since it first debuted on Netflix, I’ve finally obliged and will be attending not one, but two music festivals this summer. Pray for me.
Aside from the chance to wear a throwback or sporty park outfit, and a chance to see multiple artists that I love perform at once, I truly look forward to the overall experience it appears a music festival will bring. Day drinking and eating from food trucks while sitting on a cute blanket in the grass zoning out to my favorite live R&B tunes seems like an ideal combo.
So for all of the first-time festival attendees like me, or for the pros who are itching for a new festival experience, here are five fierce summer festivals that you should try. To make it better, they are all female-led. Who runs the world? Girls.
ParkLife (June 8 – 9 – Manchester, England)
Looking for an excuse to travel across the pond? Besides a vacation in England, why not add a music festival to your itinerary? ParkLife has a stellar reputation, so much so that the tickets are apparently already SOLD OUT. Not to worry, the site promises that some ticket types may become available at the box office for purchase the day of. This is set to be the biggest one yet where Queens like Cardi B and Solange will battle against the boys of Migos (I see you Cardi and Offset).
Femme It Forward (Now – October 17- Most Major U.S. Cities)
Created for the R&B, soul and hip-hop lovers, attendees can enjoy the sounds of Cardi B, Teyana Taylor, Ashanti, Keri Hilson, Amerie, Brandy, City Girls and Jill Scott during Live Nation’s “Femme It Forward.” The tour is a US series of all-female concerts designed to “spotlight the entertainment industry’s most creative and accomplished female visionaries, both on the stage and behind the scenes,” according to the announcement. Now in its third year, artists will takeover in most major cities, including Washington, D.C. and Los Angeles.
Essence Festival (July 5 – 7 – New Orleans, LA)
Hopefully, we’ve all witnessed the magic of the chick-flick Girls Trip (Tiffany Haddish, Queen Latifah, Jada Pinkett-Smith and Regina Hall) and the hilariousness that ensued when four life-long friends reunited in New Orleans for Essence Music Festival. This year will be one not to miss as it’s the festival’s 25th anniversary! Held at the Superdome, the Essence Music Festival is truly the mecca for black girl magic, an homage to the black female experience with dozens of conference with your favorite celebs and business leaders treating audience members to advice on surviving and thriving in their careers, relationships, spiritual walks and beyond. There’s a wide range of festivals for all to enjoy in music, film, television and even food and wine. And for the shopping fanatics, enjoy experiences across fashion, beauty and wellness. Musical performances will include a joyous combination of everything from Hip-Hop to Jazz, R&B and Gospel with live shows from some of the biggest names in music including: Missy Elliott, Mary J. Blige, H.E.R., Big Freedia, City Girls, Davido, Ginuwine, Jacquees, Ledisi, Musiq Soulchild, Nas, Normani, Pharrell Williams, Queen Naija, Ronnie, Bobby, Ricky & Mike, Teyana Taylor, Timbaland, 702 and more…and that’s just on the main stage!
Lollapalooza (August 1-4 – Chicago, IL)
Truly for the millennial, Lollapalooza dates back to 1991. This annual 4-day music festival based in Chicago, Illinois takes place at the famous Grant Park. Performances include but are not limited to alternative rock, heavy metal, punk rock, hip hop, and electronic music. Fresh off of her Coachella performance, Ariana Grande will headline this year. Attendees can also enjoy music from H.E.R., Normani, Lauren Daigle, Childish Gambino and more. The festival features scenic photogenic spots, interactive areas with giveaways and tons of merch to swag out with. There’s even a mini-fest for the kids for all of the parents who can’t find a sitter!
Made In America (August 31 – September 1 – Philadelphia, PA)
The birth child of Jay Z and Roc Nation is only a few years old but has become quite the Labor Day shindig to look forward to. Now in its 8th year, the annual two-day extravaganza will take over the Benjamin Franklin Parkway in Philly. Cardi B must be in high demand right now as this is yet another festival lineup she is headlining this summer. Not the average festival, attendees have a lot more than music to take part in. MIA is known for its food and beverage vendors, art exhibits, photo booths and more. Festival-goers can also look forward to performances by Travis Scott, Juice WRLD, James Blake, Kaskade, Anderson Paak & The Free Nationals, Kodak Black, Bazzi, Jorja Smith, Blueface, Pink Sweat$, Jacob Banks, KAYTRANADA, Grace Carter, Kayzo, Tierra Whack, Roddy Ricch, Freddie Gibbs & Madlib and Hippie Sabotage. Don’t just confine yourselves to the Parkway either; while you’re in Philly, eat a few cheesesteaks, tasty cakes and soft pretzels and take a few tours throughout the city to learn about the birthplace of America.
If you’re not super into the festival scene, you might be interested in a more traditional concert experience. The legendary P!nk will be delivering her stunning vocals to Europe this summer, Carrie Underwood is celebrating her latest album, Cry Pretty with a North American tour, and Jennifer Lopez is celebrating her 50th (!!) birthday with her, It’s My Party Tour.