Brand name events like the Roots Picnic and Made in America will bookend a 2023 summer festival season in Pennsylvania that features something for every music fan.
New York’s Governors Ball, Bonnaroo in Tennessee, and Chicago’s Lollapalooza and Pitchfork music festivals may get the headlines, but Pennsylvania has established itself as a major player on the summer festival circuit, delivering quantity, quality, and diversity.
Brand name events like Philadelphia’s Roots Picnic and Made in America will bookend a 2023 summer festival season in Pennsylvania that features something for every music fan, whether you favor hip-hop, R&B, rock, punk, electronic music, country, or jam bands. And if you dig all of it, you are definitely in for a treat this summer.
Let’s take a look at nine of this summer’s biggest music festivals in Pennsylvania.
Roots Picnic: June 2-4, Mann Music Center/Fairmount Park, Philadelphia
The Roots began their annual hometown summer festival, as a humble one-day affair on pavement; before they were the “Tonight Show” house band, and before drummer Amir “Questlove” Thompson was an award-winning filmmaker, author, and all-around music ambassador. Now, it’s a three-day event in one of the greenest spots in the city. Things kick off this year with a Friday show from comedian Dave Chappelle (across town at the Wells Fargo Center), before moving westward, where R&B royalty like Ms. Lauryn Hill and Usher headline a bill filled with more legends (Isley Brothers) and newer artists like Ari Lennox.
Peach Music Festival: June 29-July 2, Montage Mountain, Scranton
The Peach Music Festival has been a summer rite of passage for jam band enthusiasts in NEPA (and beyond) since 2012. It began as an Allman Brothers Band-centric event and has evolved into a weekend-long celebration of the Allmans’ adventurous musical spirit. This year’s show features several Allmans-adjacent acts, like headliners the Tedeschi Trucks Band, along with Ween, My Morning Jacket, Goose, and plenty more.
Briggs Farm Blues Festival: July 6-8, Briggs Farm, Briggsville
A few days after the noise (and smoke) from the Peach Festival settles, another long-running music fest will descend upon NEPA with the Briggs Farm Blues Festival. This year marks the 26th running of the festival that features local and national blues artists along with on-site camping. Robert Randolph headlines this year’s edition.
Big Dub: July 25-30, Four Quarters Farm, Artemas
Big Dub was born out of a rave and has grown into a multi-day camping festival that features dubstep, bass music, drum & bass, and EDM right near the Maryland state line in Bedford County. There’s more than music and camping as the festival features video games, along with yoga and arts workshops.
Ameriserv Flood City Music Festival: Aug. 4-5, Peoples Natural Gas Park, Johnstown
This festival has been running in various iterations since it was originally mounted in 1989 to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Great Johnstown Flood. These days, the festival focuses on roots and jam bands, evidenced by this year’s headliners, Los Lobos. Fun fact: Los Lobos multi-instrumentalist Steve Berlin is a Montgomery County native.
Muskifest: Aug. 3-13, various venues, Bethlehem
One of the largest and longest-running festivals in the country celebrates its 40th anniversary this year, with a mix of ticketed and free shows throughout downtown Bethlehem. Musikfest truly is one of the best-kept secrets on the summer festival circuit, offering something for all music fans. This year’s headliners include R&B singer Keith Sweat, alt-rockers Walk the Moon, country star Walker Hayes, and rock vets Goo Goo Dolls.
Four Chord Music Fest: Aug. 12-13, Wild Things Park, Washington
While the Warped Tour is a thing of the past, its spirit lives on at the punk/emo-centric Four Chord Music Fest. What started in a Pittsburgh club in 2014 has grown into a two-day stadium show in nearby Washington. This year’s bill includes headliners Yellowcard and the Gaslight Anthem, with plenty of depth on both days including Philly native Dave Hause, Alkaline Trio, and Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness.
Camp Punksylvania: Sept. 1-3, Circle Drive-In, Scranton
While the punk world tends to be a boys club, Camp Punnskylvania is a girl-powered event, from those booking the show (Riot Squad Media), to many of the acts performing like Tsunami Bomb, the Dollyrots, War on Women, and Bad Cop/Bad Cop. The D.I.Y. spirit of the festival is also reflected in its venue, the grounds of Scranton’s very cool Circle Drive-In.
Made in America: Sept. 2-3, Benjamin Franklin Parkway, Philadelphia
How popular is Jay-Z’s annual Labor Day weekend festival? The lineup for the 2023 edition still hasn’t been announced as of this writing and early bird tickets are selling swiftly. The festival’s early days featured rock acts (Pearl Jam headlined one night during the inaugural MIA in 2012) but it’s become decidedly more of a hip-hop/R&B/dance thing in recent years. Last year’s headliners were Bad Bunny and Tyler, the Creator. We should know soon who’s heading up this year’s lineup.
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