KANSAS CITY, Mo.
Middle of the Map Fest: This may not be the first city that comes to mind when thinking about cool bands, technology, art, or culture. But why should Austin or New York have all the fun? Kansas City is not shying away from such an ambitious venture with its Middle of the Map Fest. Yes, there are forums on new technology and culture, but the main draw here is an eclectic mix of established bands such as Mission of Burma, Neon Indian, and Hooray for Earth. It’s also a mecca for up-and-comers such as Sleepy Kitty, mr. Gnome, Phantasmagoria, Broncho, Beacon, Ad Astra Arkestra, Thee Water MoccaSins, Deadringers, La Guerre, Motorboater, Everyday/Everynight, Maps For Travelers, and Spirit Is the Spirit. A music-only pass $35, for all events, $75. www.middleofthemapfest.com
Canadian Music Fest: This gathering could be the sole reason energy drinks were created. A total of 900 (!) bands play at 60 venues across Toronto, the country’s biggest music event, and comparable to the US South by Southwest festival. Not only are there massive shows with music heavyweights, but these concerts are also a forum for new bands to get spotted by record company executives. Unless you have successfully cloned yourself, there is no way you will hit all the shows, but some of the can’t-miss performers include Passion Pit, Slash, Jeff Beck, Fanfarlo, Martha Wainwright, Dragonette, the Cat Empire, and Train. Tickets for headliners are sold individually. canadianmusicfest.com
Electric Island: Most music festivals take place in muddy fields, oven-hot deserts, or dark clubs. Electric Island bills itself as a vacation and festival. Which means that when you’re not doing the pogo to Passion Pit, you can sprawl by the pool and sun yourself like an iguana or gamble away your 401(k) in the island’s 24-hour casinos. Other bands and DJs participating include Steve Aoki, the White Panda, Gorilla Zoe, Crespo, Full Haus, and Wale. General admission passes $115. www.electricislandmusicfestival.com
COSTA MESA, Calif.
MusInk: Given its portmanteau of a name, you may have deduced that MusInk is a festival that brings together tattoo artists and bands that are fond of tattoos. Some of the country’s top tattoo artists will be in attendance just in case you’re feeling fit to be dyed. You can also hear music from bands such as Tiger Army, Alkaline Trio, Against Me!, Yellow Card, and New Found Glory. Single-day tickets $25, weekend pass $50. www.musink.org
Punk Rock Bowling & Music Festival: Bowling and punk rock may appear to be a bizarre combination, but this wildly popular festival has been going strong since 1999 and this year will feature more than 200 bowling teams. When the pins aren’t flying, bands such as Rancid, NOFX, Pennywise, the Addicts, and the Briefs will play eardrum-shattering tunes. Tickets not yet on sale; check the website for details. www.punkrockbowling.com