Kate Krader (@kkrader on Twitter) is Food & Wine's restaurant editor. When she tells us where to find our culinary heart's desire, we listen up.
You don’t need me to tell you that food festivals have gotten exponentially better since the days when a foot-long corn dog was big news. You also know that, beverage-wise, music festivals aren’t just about bad beer in plastic cups that you hope someone doesn’t throw at your head.
Still, the improvement is mind-blowing. The only problem, besides getting into some of them, is deciding whether to describe these events as food festivals or music festivals. It’s your call.
Lollapalooza: Chicago, Illinois August 2–4
If you were lucky enough to score a ticket to the sold-out Lollapalooza, you’ll be rewarded with three dozen awesome food vendors chosen by its culinary director, Graham Elliot. Among those vendors: himself, serving his signature lobster corn dogs, and truffle-and-Parmesan popcorn.
At Tony Mantuano’s Italian Bar Toma, you’ll find potato chips with Calabrian licorice powder, and the One-Hitter sandwich with smoked prosciutto and mozzarella. The local brewer Goose Island Brewpub offers grilled cheese-stuffed pretzels, plus the Goose Island beer brat. Festival headliners include The Cure, Mumford & Sons, The Killers and Nine Inch Nails.
Outside Lands: San Francisco, California August 9-11
The great thing about having three fields of space for the festival is that there’s plenty of room for food. There’s a food truck roundup including Bacon Bacon (bacon burgers, spicy pork fries), and the excellent mobile pizza truck Del Popolo. Check out the brand-new Cheeselands (an entire cheese-dedicated area), and Chocolands, featuring the Guittard Golden Bar scavenger hunt.
All that space means there’s also room for lots of music, including Paul McCartney, Grizzly Bear and Red Hot Chili Peppers. We hope you have your tickets already, because Outside Lands just sold out.
Cultivate Festival: Denver, Colorado August 17
Food, ideas & music: That’s the tagline of this free, Chipotle-sponsored festival. For food, there are cooking demos from the likes of Top Chef winner Richard Blais and Chopped judge Amanda Freitag, plus lots of dishes such as soft tacos and gorditas. Musicwise, the L.A. band Cold War Kids is scheduled to headline. And then there are the ideas, which include the California Avocado Experience, and the Farm Facts Experience, which teaches about livestock (free-range versus confined, and more).
This being Colorado, the craft brew scene will be off the hook, represented by the likes of Avery Brewing Co., Oskar Blues Brewery and Strange Brewing Co.
Boston Calling: Boston, Massachusetts September 7-8
Boston is lucky: The town has already had one Boston Calling festival this year, in May. The food lineup for the fall edition is still a secret, so let’s talk about what happened at the spring show, which featured a roundup of the city’s best food trucks, including Roxy’s Grilled Cheese, the Shuckin’ Truck (lobster and scallop rolls, fish tacos, clam chowder) and Kickass Cupcakes (cupcake–ice cream sundaes).
As far as the fall music lineup, Vampire Weekend and Passion Pit are headlining. Solange and Kendrick Lamar are scheduled to be there, too.
Music City Eats and Petty Fest Nashville: Nashville, Tennessee September 21-22
It might be easier to list the cool chefs who aren’t part of this subset of Nashville’s terrific Music City Eats festival, whose creators include Kings of Leon’s Caleb and Nathan Followill, and chef Jonathan Waxman. (Full disclosure: Food & Wine magazine is a sponsor.) The festival features chefs’ demos and panel discussions with Michael Symon, Tim Love, John Besh, Nancy Silverton, Ed Lee and Donald Link.
On September 21, you’ll also find the fourth annual Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers–dedicated Petty Fest, hosted by the Kings of Leon and the Cabin Down Below Band, with special guests. The website promises: “If you love Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers you’ll be in heaven. If you don’t, you will. Petty Fest will do you like that.”
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how can jazz fest in new orleans not be on this list? bollocks, say i.
Are you kidding me? Festival International de louisian isn't the greatest food and music festival in the history of the world?
I wish there were an event in Los Angeles coming up!
A good addition to this article would also be the Life is Beautiful Festival in Vegas in late October, they have tons of good music and big name chefs lined up.
Petty Fest? How did I NOT know about Petty Fest! ;) Thanks for the info.
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