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10 Summer Music Festivals Featuring Classic Rockers

Rock in the great outdoors

By

Since the earliest days of the classic rock era, at places that have become legendary -- Woodstock, Monterey, Altamont, Isle of Wight -- summertime outdoor rock festivals have been crowd magnets. Of course, we're rather partial to those that feature classic rock artists, and those are the ones that make our 2012 (classic) rock festival list.

June 8-10 - Download Festival - Donington Park, England

Download Festival
Download Festival

Originally, Download was to have been the first stop on a reunion tour of the oirginal Black Sabbath lineup. They will be minus Bill Ward, who bowed out because he was unhappy with the contract he was offered. Metallica and Megadeath are also among bands booked for the 10th anniverary edition of the heavy metal festival.

June 7-10 - Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival - Manchester TN

Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival
Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival

In just a few years, Bonnaroo has become one of the largest and most popular multi-genre festivals. When 2012 tickets went on sale, the ticket vendor's system overloaded, and sales had to be suspended for several days. Alice Cooper will be the classic rock banner carrier. This will also be one of the stops on The Beach Boys' reunion tour.

June 8-16 - Riverbend Festival - Chattanooga TN

Riverbend Festival
Riverbend Festival

Chattanooga's Riverbend Festival has been around since 1982, though never attaining the notoriety of their Tennessee neighbor, the newer but larger Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival near Nashville. Multiple genres are represented at Riverbend, including classic rockers Foreigner, Foghat, and Commander Cody. Also featured: The Happy Together Tour including The Monkees, The Turtles featuring Flo and Eddie, The Grass Roots, The Buckinghams, and Gary Puckett and The Union Gap.

June 22-24 - Isle of Wight (UK) Festival

Isle of Wight Festival
Isle of Wight Festival

Originally held in the years 1968-70 (1970 attendance was even greater than Woodstock's the previous year) the Isle of Wight festival was revived in 2002 and has been held each year since. Headliners for the 2012 edition include Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers, Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band, Steve Hackett and Joan Armatrading.

Glastonbury (UK) Festival of Contemporary Performing Arts

Glastonbury Festival
Glastonbury Festival

Beginning in 1970, Glastonbury (Glasto, to its ardent admirers) is the world's largest outdoor music and performing arts festival -- sort of like an annual Woodstock (including the mud, which Glasto often has.) There is no Glastonbury festival in 2012 because of potential conflicts with the Summer Olympics in London. Tickets for Glasto 2013 are already on sale.

June 27 - July 8 (closed 7/2) - Summerfest - Milwaukee WI

Milwaukee Summerfest
Milwaukee Summerfest

This is the 45th year for Milwaukee's Summerfest. There's always an eclectic musical mix, as evidenced by the list of headliners which includes The Beach Boys, Megadeath, and Alice Cooper.

July 19-21 - Moondance Jam - Walker MN

Moondance Jam 21
Moondance Jam 21

Heart, John Fogerty, Grand Funk Railroad and Kid Rock are headliners for the 21st annual Moondance Jam in Minnesota, the self-described "campin' and jammin' event of the summer."

July 19-22 - Rock Fest - Cadott WI

Rock Fest
Rock Fest

Def Leppard, Iron Maiden, Alice Cooper and Lita Ford will represent classic rock at Cadott, Wisconsin's Rock Fest. This one is especially popular with festival fans because of the opportunities to take photos from directly in front of the stage, and the number of beer pavilions.

July 28-29 - Newport (RI) Folk Festival

Newport Folk Festival
Newport Folk Festival

Jackson Browne is a headliner at Rhode Island's Newport Folk Festival 2012. Newport has been around since 1959, making it one of the oldest summer festivals, and one credited with propelling artists like Bob Dylan and Joan Baez into the national spotlight.

August 3-5 - Lollapalooza - Chicago IL

Lollap0alooza
Lollapalooza

Lollapalooza is another of those festivals that doesn't book many classic rock artists, but in 2012 it will be one of only three dates still on the books for the original Black Sabbath lineup (minus drummer Bill Ward.) Not-quite-classic rock artists will include Red Hot Chili Peppers, The Black Keys, and Jack White.

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