Who: Morrissey, Sonic Youth, PJ Harvey, Modest Mouse
Where: On Tour
When: Starts July
Talk about a 180 degrees; Lollapalooza resumed touring last year with its weakest gross in festival history at $7.4 million because of a cast featuring Snoop Dogg, Korn, Tool, Tricky and others. This year, however, the event seems to have taken its cues from the better European festivals by getting some of the best names in rock of the past 25 years. Other big names include PJ Harvey, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club and Le Tigre. With so many bands this year, the shows will last two days. — Harold Valentine
What: Bonnaroo Music Festival
Who: Bob Dylan, Willie Nelson, David Byrne, My Morning Jacket, Wilco, others.
Where: Manchester, Tennessee
When: June 11 – 13
Taking place on a 700-acre farm 60 miles south of Nashville, the Bonnaroo festival continues its grass-roots emphasis by adding such musicians as Nigerian afro-beat star Femi Kuti, reggae veteran Burning Spear and the classic rock sensibilities of My Morning Jacket. Just so that you know you’re in America, the festival will also include motorcycle stunts in “The Globe of Death,” a curious cover band tent and a “virtual village” for all future yuppie of America needs. — H.V.
What: Coachella Valley Music Festival
Who: Stereolab, Radiohead, Death Cab for Cutie, Flaming Lips, The Cure
Where: Indio, California
When: May 1 – 2
The Empire Polo Field becomes a musical United Nations for two days next month, and no one in attendance will be left in commercial radio homogeneity. Acts ranging from PJ Harvey to Belle and Sebastian to newcomer Dizzee Rascal will bask in the California sun, warming the ears of their devotees and pulling in new admirers. This before-the-solstice bonanza gave Ben Harper his start a few years ago, and now many trailblazers will get the exposure they so deserve. Critics had better kick-start their praise engines, because quite a few lesser-known performers at this year’s Coachella are due to drop mad flavor in every ear. — Adrian Dowe
Who: Further Seems Forever, Switchfoot, As I Lay Dying
When: May 7 – 8
Offering a healthy blend of metal, indie and punk, Cornerstone embraces a musical taste that the mainstream seems to shun. Beginning as an extension of Cornerstone magazine, an outreach of a Chicago-based Christian community, the festival started in 1984 and evolved into a massive outing encompassing a variety of music. The Friday stage alone features Dead Poetic and Norma Jean. If metal seems too harsh for the ear, Cornerstone offers indie-rockers Copeland, pop-punkers Relient K and the reformed Further Seems Forever. Blindside, Cool Hand Luke, Beloved and Project 86 will also be performing with more than 50 others bands. — Andrea Papadopoulos
What: Glastonbury Festival
Who: James Brown, Basement Jaxx, Kraftwerk, Paul McCartney, Morrissey
Where: Southwest of England
When: June 25 – 27
Is there anything else a concertgoer needs to have in mind than watching the King of Soul represent? Certainly not, and when Kraftwerk and Morrissey are included on the program, it becomes apparent that fans’ dreams have been incarnated on the summer earth just outside of Glastonbury proper. More often than not, events are mixed bags with substandard fare diluting talent pools. Not so with Glastonbury 2004, as one-fourth of The Beatles, the lead singer of the Smiths and dance-freak duo Basement Jaxx ensure that late June is spent with examples from the upper echelon of popular music. — A.D.
Who: Moloko, Muse, Franz Ferdinand, Goldfrapp, The Roots
Where: Landgraaf, Netherlands
When: May 29 – June 1
Just a bus ride from Amsterdam, you’ll reach three days of musical wonders including the original Pixies lineup, N*E*R*D, and the Black Eyed Peas. With 60,000 spectators packing the festival grounds, surrounded by 45,000 campers, Lenny Kravitz won’t be the hottest thing going down. This could be characterized as the ingenious-and-intrepid festival of the summer, or it could be a fantastic premise stretched thin. However, since this is the 35th annual Pinkpop, it is safe to say that a great concert is bound to happen this year as well. — A.D.