10 Music Shows Not to Miss in 2018

What you will want to tune into in the upcoming year.

February: It will be a “Cruel Summer,” but even colder, because it’ll actually be February (not the summer) when Bananarama re-unites. The popular ’80s band will play on the 21st at San Francisco’s Warfield and the 24th at New York’s Playstation Theater. Yes, the very same band that racked up so many hits that they made the Guinness Book of Records as the most successful girl group of all time.

March: The Monterey Jazz Festival may be the marquee event (September 21-23) with accomplished musicians taking the stage. But who’s up next in the jazz world is what’s on tap at Next Generation Jazz Festival (March 9-11). It brings in 1,300 of the nation’s top students in the musical discipline.

20-a-monterey-jazz-festival-next-generation-ngjo_12-1-17Courtesy Monterey Jazz Festival

June: The West Coast has Coachella, New York’s got Governors Ball (June 1-3) and one does best to arrive by ferry. On East River’s Randall Island, the headliners this year include Jack White, Eminem, and Yeah Yeah Yeahs, with backdrop of art by New York City street artists. Yes, food, too. It’s not named because the governor presides but because it was originally held on Governors Island.

20-b-governors-ball-new-york-best-music-festCourtesy Governors Ball Music

Competition comes courtesy of the Chicago Blues Festival (June 8-10) when a half million listeners descend into Millennium Park to hear what musicians like Bonnie Raitt and Ray Charles belt out in the birthplace of Blues.

July: It’s not all music—in fact, Taste of Chicago (July 11-15) is mostly about eating. Nearly 70 restaurants handout bites … free of charge. Chefs give demos (not free). And you burn it off dancing to the music as in really good music. Erykah Badu has played.

August: We’re pretty sure you know this one. It rhymes with You-Such-a-Booza. Thanks to Perry Farrell not for Jane’s Addiction but for the Lollapalooza obsession (August 2-5). It’s spawned a whole new vocabulary, indie bands playing in Grant Park, the city as backdrop.

qCourtesy Lollapalooza

Mid-August is Golden Gate Park’s Outside Lands. Although no line-up, or dates have been announced yet, it’s hard to disappoint in the magical setting. Add to the soundtrack, access to Bay Area restaurants, wineries, breweries and a collection of the region’s best cocktail bars.

20-e-outside-lands-san-francisco-film-magic_hundredwatersCourtesy Outside Lands/ FilmMagic

The last weekend in August kicks off North Coast Music Festival, in  Chicago’s Union Park (August 31-September 2). This is a non-denominational festival where you can get an overview of many different genres from electronic and hip hop to jam band and indie.

September: The Monterey Jazz Festival is the premier event of its kind and now in its 61st year. If you can score tickets to the gala event, it will be close encounters with the best musicians in the business. The festival will take place September 21-23.

October: Three days of great music while sunning in Golden Gate Park? Three words: Hardly Strictly Bluegrass. It’s the event of the year for flower children of the 21st century.

20-g-hardly-strictly-bluegrass-san-francisco-musicCourtesy Hardly Strictly Bluegrass/ Kristen Wrzesniewski