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Classic rock fan's guide to 2013 music festivals

21 good reasons to go outside and play


There's something about the combination of rock music and the great outdoors that has kept music fans flocking to festivals from early Spring through late Fall since back in the mid '60s. A surprising number of bands and artists who performed at some of the first outdoor music festials -- Monterey, Isle of Wight, Glastonbury, Altamont, Woodstock -- can still be found on stages (both outdoor and indoor) today. Here's our 2013 guide to the festivals with the potential to make any classic rock fan happy.


SXSW (music) - Austin TX - March 12-17

Elvis Costello at SXSW 2005
Elvis Costello - SXSW 2005, photo by Jana Birchum/Getty Images

You may remember last year at Austin's SXSW Music Conference when Bruce Springsteen praised Eric Burdon, then brought him on stage for a duet. Now it's Burdon's turn -- he will be a featured speaker at SXSW in March. The music portion of the annual music-film-interactive conference will feature artist showcases spread throughout downtown Austin, giving indie bands and artists a chance for potentially career-changing exposure. John Fogerty and Bob Seger are among the artists who will be performing.

Watch Springsteen and Burdon at SXSW 2012

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Coachella - Indio CA - April 12-14 and 19-21

Roger Waters - Coachella 2008
Roger Waters - Coachella 2008, photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images

Always one of the biggest and best, Coachella is nevertheless not a festival where you're likely to find many classic rock artists. In this year's lineup, Lou Reed would pretty much be the only one who qualifies. Of course, classic rock fans are often modern rock fans, too, so Red Hot Chili Peppers, Stone Roses and Blur are nothing to sneeze at.

Watch Paul McCartney perform at Coachella 2009

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Jazz Fest - New Orleans - April 26-May 5

New Orleans Jazz Fest 2010
New Orleans Jazz Fest 2010, photo by Richard Diamond/Getty Images

Yeah, they still call it Jazz Fest after all these years, even though the dozens of artists performing during the seven day event range from jazz to country to classic rock. Of particular interest to classic rock fans in at this year's New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival: Fleetwood Mac, Billy Joel, Hall & Oates, Earth Wind & Fire, B.B. King, and Patti Smith.

Watch Jeff Beck perform at Jazz Fest 2011

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Stone - Sydney, Australia - April 20-21

Stone Music and Arts Festivals
Stone Music and Arts Festival Society

It's already well into Summer in the Southern hemisphere, and will be almost over when Australia's first Stone Music Festival debuts (Stone festivals have been staged in the UK since 2008.) Van Halen, Billy Joel and Richie Ramone are among the artists announced so far. There will be more to come.

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Mountain Jam - Hunter Mountain NY - June 6-9

Mountain Jam
CHET-5 Entertainment

Just up the road from where the 1969 Woodstock festival made history in 1969, Mountain Jam turns the Hunter Mountain ski resort into a haven for fans of rock, classic and newer. The 9th annual edition counts among its headliners, Phil Lesh (ex-Grateful Dead) and Friends (Warren Haynes, John Scofield, Joe Russo, Jeff Chimenti) and for those who like new southern rock that sounds like classic southern rock, Gov't Mule.

Watch Steve Winwood and Warren Haynes at Mountain Jam 2012

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Riverbend - Chattanooga TN - June 7-15

Riverbend Festival Chattanooga
© Riverbend Festival

Chattanooga's Riverbend Festival is one of the largest, typically drawing upwards of 600,000 lovers of multiple musical genres over the course nine days. Lynyrd Skynyrd are on the early list of 2013 performers, with more to come.

Watch Foghat perform at Riverbend 2012

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Bonnaroo - Manchester TN - June 13-16

Sting at Bonnaroo 2007
Sting at Bonnaroo 2007, photo by Jeff Getner/Getty Images

The almost-every-genre Bonnaroo festival is always well represented in the classic rock category. Among 2013 headliners: Paul McCartney, Bob Seger, ZZ Top, with more announcements yet to come. Bonnaroo, on the Rolling Stone list of 50 Moments That Changed Rock & Roll, is in its 12th year.

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