Regional music festivals welcome spring season

From New Jersey to Maryland, music festivals are worth traveling to this spring.

With spring right around the corner, why not enjoy the nice weather with some great music? It’s the best of both worlds. And no, Hannah Montana won’t be making any appearances. Regardless, if you’re not sure where to go, here are some favorites within the region.

To start off, the widely popular Bamboozle is held at the Meadowlands Sports Complex, just outside of New York City in East Rutherford, N.J. Bumped up this year from two days to three, the rain-or-shine event is always guaranteed to draw a large crowd. The event features artists such as Lil Wayne, Taking Back Sunday, Wiz Khalifa, Circa Survive, Mötley Crüe and many other greats. Marking your calendar for April 30 to May 1 would make for an unforgettable experience.

Next to check off on the list is a festival dedicated solely to electronic music.

“I started going to music festivals for the love of electronic dance music, but once getting there, it’s so much more,” sophomore film and media arts major Robby Gross said. “I love the vibe everyone has at them. You meet the nicest people at music festival and just the best times in general.”

Fort Armistead Park in Baltimore is the site of the 13th annual Starscape Festival. This single day event held on June 4 involves a full day and night of music featuring more than 40 performers just off the shores of the Chesapeake Bay.

The lineup is yet to be released, but with last year’s festival consisting of artists, such as Pretty Lights, Rusko, Excision, Wolfgang Gartner and the Disco Biscuits, this year shouldn’t disappoint.

Heading north to Hunter, N.Y., is the 3rd annual Mountain Jam Music Festival. This alternative rock- and jam-based event features artists such as My Morning Jacket, Gov’t Mule, Lotus, Portugal. The Man and many others.

Also performing will be the No. 23 Greatest Guitarist by Rolling Stone, Warren Haynes, supported by his band. From June 2-5, pack your bags and tents for an unforgettable experience late this spring at Hunter Mountain.

Sticking with the camping theme, the 22nd annual Crawfish Fest held at the Sussex County Fairgrounds in New Jersey in August takes a different approach. Instead of your average campout and jam festivals, this one has a bit of a southern feel.

Starting June 3 and ending June 5, this New Orleans-based gathering provides both great music and food with a multitude of vendors and crafts also available for your entertainment.

This year’s lineup features George Porter Jr. and Runnin’ Pardners, Tab Benoit, Anders Osborne and more than 15 other performers. Several of these artists have won Grammys and have played or recorded with the likes of Paul McCartney, Willie Nelson, Jimmy Buffett, B.B. King and the Allman Brothers Band.

Looking for some jazz? The Berks Jazz Fest in Reading, Pa., has it covered. From March 25 to April 3, various jazz musicians will perform at local Reading venues, such as the Sovereign Performing Arts Center, Crowne Plaza and Gerald Veasley’s Jazz Base. This year’s lineup includes 2010 Grammy Award winners Stanley Clarke and Kirk Whalum and more than 50 other top jazz performers, composing one of the event’s best line-ups to date.

With this list of five easily accessible spring music festivals in the area, let the nice weather arrive and the music flow. But don’t wear yourself out too much – the festival season is just beginning.

Andrew Aiser can be reached at

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