It would be an understatement to say that summer music festivals have evolved from the Woodstock days. Long gone is the time when corn on the cob and funnel cake were the only food options in between musical stages. Wave goodbye to warm lemonade and stale popcorn and welcome the future of music festivals: food trucks, celebrity chefs, and divine local cuisine mixed into one fantastic event. Here is our ranking of this summer’s music festivals, ranked according to their grub.
7. Summerfest — Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Summerfest brings Midwestern charm to the music festival scene with Wisconsin restaurants such as AJ Bombers, a popular burger and bar food spot. Besides AJ Bombers, Summerfest offers pizza, ice cream, popcorn, and soft pretzels. It’s not quite the spread available at Gov Ball or Outside Lands, but the music makes up for it.
6. Firefly — Dover, Delaware
Nestled in the woods of Delaware, Firefly sets the scene not only with music, but with food and drinks as well. True to the name and the natural ambience of the festival, there are many healthy options for those looking for vegan, vegetarian, and gluten-free alternatives. Specifically, there is a section called Coffee House, a full-service cafe where attendees can listen to intimate musical performances while sipping cold brew. Delaware’s own Dogfish Head Craft Brewery will be selling beer at their on-site bar.
5. Bonnaroo — Manchester, Tennessee
Bonnaroo offers a “Food Truck Oasis” with different foods from across the Southeast. With over 125 food vendors, the sheer size of the food scene, including a specific station called “BaconLand,” provides festival-goers with endless options.
4. Lollapalooza — Chicago, Illinois
Graham Elliot, a Chicago-based celebrity chef, created Lolla’s “Chow Town,” a culinary experience offering delicacies from multiple restaurants in the Windy City. Specifically, look out for a few headliners: Lou Malnati’s Pizzeria, BURGER, Starfruit Cafe, Windsor Ice Cream, Tank Noodle, Billy Goat Tavern and Grille, BJ’s Market and Bakery, and Tiparo’s Restaurant.
3. Austin City Limits — Austin, Texas
With Austin, Texas heralded as the live music capital of the world, one should expect a festival that is accommodating in all aspects. Austin City Limits prides itself on offering more than just “funnel cakes and turkey legs” and brings in popular Central Texas restaurants as vendors. Restaurants like Woodshed Smokehouse offer a typical Southern flair, along with Tinos Greek Cafe, a local Austin speciality that offers fresh, cafeteria-style Greek food. Austin City Limits has its own farmers market courtesy of Hope Farmers Market.
2. Outside Lands — San Francisco, California
Located in scenic Golden Gate Park, Outside Lands is not only a celebration of music, but an eclectic collection of great food, wine, beer, and art. Unlike many other festivals, Outside Lands utilizes the nearby wine country to its advantage. Wine Lands offers over 120 different wines from top regional wineries. Concert-goers can fully utilize the California atmosphere as they go on their own little wine tour. If you’re not a wine person, don’t worry, because Beer Lands exists as well, offering brews from over 25 breweries. Besides just the beverage selection, Bacon Bacon, Curry Up Now, Rocko’s Ice Cream Tacos, Seoul on Wheels, and Homestead Cookies are just a few of the food options available at Outside Lands.
1. Governors Ball — New York, New York
In the lead, Governors Ball Music Festival, on Governor’s Island off of the island of Manhattan, has the most diverse range of food options. With fancy vendors such as Bluestone Lane, Ramen Burger, Momofuku Milk Bar, Juice Press, Burger Warrior, Arancini Bros, and others, festival-goers will feel as though they are dining on the streets of Manhattan. In a push toward accommodating a spectrum of dietary restrictions, Gov Ball offers vegan, vegetarian, and gluten-free options.