Arts in New England

Contemporary music: 5 can’t-miss events

Together Festival

This sprawling celebration, running May 12-19, reaches its tentacles throughout Boston and across the Charles to Cambridge in a celebration of tunes, technology, and talent, with panel discussions during the day and performances at night. Once focused mainly on electronic dance music (EDM), the fest has expanded its scope. The international stew of a lineup this year includes EDM, hip-hop, rock, and more with appearances scheduled from over three dozen artists including Biz Markie.      


Solid Sound Festival

Wilco returns to the Berkshires June 21-23 for another installment of their eclectic music, comedy, and arts fiesta. In addition to the beloved Chicago rockers themselves, the festival at North Adams’s Mass MoCA will feature performances by other artists with vivid and unique musical identities including Neko Case, Yo La Tengo, Os Mutantes, and Medeski Martin & Wood. The same individualistic stripe colors the comedy choices as well, with folks like John Hodgman and Reggie Watts tasked with bringing the funny. 888-512-7469,


Newport Jazz Festival

For jazz fans, this annual celebration of the form, running from August 2 through 4 this year, can feel like the best of one-stop shopping. The lineup features no shortage of boldfaced names including Wayne Shorter, Chick Corea, Marcus Miller, Esperanza Spalding, Terence Blanchard, and the Dirty Dozen Brass Band. 800-745-3000, 


Grand Point North Festival


This jubilant, all-genre music celebration taking place September 14 and 15 in Burlington, Vermont, is top-lined and curated by Green Mountain native Grace Potter and her band the Nocturnals. In its first two years the event has boasted such names as blues legend Taj Mahal, contemporary Americana heroes the Avett Brothers, and Potter’s duet buddy, country superstar Kenny Chesney. Details on the lineup are not yet available, but expect a great mix of rock, pop, country, bluegrass, and soul. 888-512-7469,


Stone Mountain Arts Center

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A small sampling of artists scheduled to appear in Brownfield, Maine, at this unique and intimate venue, operated by singer-songwriter Carol Noonan, reveals a range of styles from country to reggae to R&B. One thing all of the acts have in common, however, is quality. Upcoming performances include Aaron Neville on May 26, Mavis Staples on July 13, Lori McKenna on August 16, and Ani DiFranco on November 13. 207-935-7292,