The summer slate of festivals can surely get a little overwhelming, as year after year, more and more events are added to an already-saturated calendar. That growth, given the fact that most of these concert events are totally cleaning up from a bottom line perspective, probably won’t change in 2012 (although lingering issues associated with last year’s spate of stage collapses may escalate insurance or other associated costs). But, as the pileup of summer is now in the rear-view mirror, autumn offers its share of enticing festivals, and there’s a little more differentiation and niche interests represented, in general. Today, we’re picking our top ten North American festivals of the fall. In chronological order:
Fifty venues across Montreal, QC.
Proud Canucks like Fucked Up and Arcade fire join indie rock luminaries like Girls as well as newly-minted 40 Best New Bands of 2011 alums Araabmuzik, Dirty Beaches, Grimes, Sleep ? Over, Yuck and Purity Ring round out the citywide Pop Montreal fest.
Other notables: Japandroids, Frankie Rose, Moonface, The Raincoats, Laura Marling.
ATP NJ: I’LL BE YOUR MIRROR
Asbury Park, NJ
The masses come to ogle Jeff Mangum at this year’s US edition of the ever-rad ATP Festival, which is curated by Portishead. The fest just added Company Flow and Public Enemy to an already stacked lineup — Swans, Mogwai, Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy, Portishead (obviously) and Cults will all play over the course of the weekend. ATP is the most neighborly, friendly, weird festival experience around, so if you’ve written off festivals entirely, you might want to check out an ATP. Community vibes, no VIP.
Other notables: Colin Stetson, Beak>, Chavez, Deerhoof, Mogwai, The Horrors, Shellac, Ultramagnetic MCs.
EAGLE ROCK MUSIC FESTIVAL
Colorado Blvd. Eagle Rock, CA.
Gauge L.A.’s local scene at Eagle Rock’s annual community affair, which this year features Health, Flying Lotus and a smattering of local bands. Also, with the suggested donation price of $5, the event definitely falls under the “why the hell not?” veil, rationally speaking.
Other notables: Nosaj Thing, Rooney.
Multiple venues across Chicago, IL.
This year’s incarnation of Riot Fest features a pretty-damn-stellar lineup of heavy rockers — Danzig, the Descendents, Helmet highlight a bill that also features the likes of Weezer and Social Distortion.
Other notables: Nachtmystium, X, The Business.
TREASURE ISLAND MUSIC FEST
Treasure Island. San Francisco, CA.
Hopefully you’ll be there in the wake of another Giants World Series afterparty, but even if you’re not, SF’s Treasure Island has a lot to offer when it comes to grandiose indie rock and indie dance bands. Cut Copy, Beach House, Empire Of The Sun, Explosions in the Sky and the Antlers play across two days on San Francisco’s immensely odd manmade island, Treasure Island. For those in want of the singular, strange, and best of all outdoor events, you could certainly do worse.
Other notables: Dizzee Rascal, Shabazz Palaces, Warpaint, The Oh Sees.
CMJ MUSIC MARATHON
Multiple venues across NYC.
Though the entire list of announced attendees won’t be firmed up until October, if even then, the increasingly fractured CMJ music festival will offer its fair share of long-established stars (Wild Flag) as well as its upstart hype feeders (Purity Ring). With an unofficial slate that’s long since eclipsed the massiveness of the official CMJ Music Marathon, just about anybody can and will show up this week.
Other notables: Dum Dum Girls, Neon Indian, Purity Ring, Wild Flag, Talib Kweli, Zomby, Zola Jesus, Kendrick Lamar, Joker, Gauntlet Hair.
HALIFAX POP EXPLOSION
Multiple venues across Halifax, NS.
Once a pop-only festival, Nova Scotia’s Halifax Pop Explosion has extended into other independent genres. Spread over cool-looking venues, the festival is definitely in its own lane with regard to singularity.
Other notables: Fucked Up, Jeff The Brotherhood, No Joy, Titus Andronicus, The Thermals.
HARD HAUNTED MANSION
Shrine Expo Hall. Los Angeles, CA
Electro heavy-hitters like Fatboy Slim and Skrillex hit up the latest edition of the HARD Festival series in Los Angeles.
Other notables: Soulwax, Rusko, Major Lazer.
Asheville Civic Center and various other venues. Asheville, NC.
Asheville’s MoogFest boasts an impressive array of options, from Brian Eno’s “Illustrated Talk” to a confounding amount of notable indie acts like the Flaming Lips, TV On The Radio, St. Vincent, the Antlers and the Drums among many others.
Other notables: Chromeo, Araabmuzik, Glasser, Ford & Lopatin, Dan Deacon Ensemble, M83, Moby, Toro Y Moi.
FUN FUN FUN FEST
Auditorium Shores. Austin, TX.
Fun Fun Fest is organized into four, loosely arranged stages: an indie rock-centric stage, a heavy rock stage, a hip-hop stage and a comedy stage. So, it’s pretty hard, maybe even impossible, to go wrong here. With three famous fests now — Austin City Limits, SXSW and now FFF — Austin’s claim “Live Music Capital Of The World” isn’t in jeopardy.
Other notables: Black Milk, Baths, Cannibal Corpse, Cold Cave, G-Side, Hot Snakes, Death Grips, Passion Pit, Odd Future, Tinariwen, Tune-Yards, Spoon.
Which fall fests are you attending?