I love summer. Pools are open, flowers are in bloom, and tons of bands are touring! If you have the disposable income, I would highly recommend attending one of the many upcoming summer musical festivals, each of which are overflowing with some of the best emerging bands and also throwback acts from the 90s. The closest option to D.C. (with the exception of DelFest and AllGood) is the All Points West Festival in Liberty State Park, New Jersey, but I'm going to risk some potential backlash here by saying I think this is the worst option for your money. Although it requires a bit more travel since many of the best festivals are spread far and wide across diverse regions of the U.S., I think the best bang for your buck in 2009 is Bonnaroo, Lollapalooza, Sasquatch!, and Pitchfork. Pitchfork is definitely 100% of the hipster, indie persuasion, but offers some great acts nonetheless with Grizzly Bear, The National, Built to Spill, The Flaming Lips, Yo La Tengo and other indie powerhouses as headliners. Bonnaroo is going to be pretty epic, if for nothing else than the two-night headlining performances from the recently reunited Phish.
I myself will be jumping two planes on May 21st out to Portland to meet up with my friend Janelle for Sasquatch! I attended Bonnaroo in 2005, and am highly anticipating my 2nd multi-day camping-oriented music festival. Bonnaroo is a logistical and mental stability nightmare for several reasons, the foremost being the endless commotion and noise, making it near impossible to sleep at times, so we'll see if Sasquatch brings more of the same, or is a little more manageable. I am familiar with roughly 50% of the bands scheduled to perform, but I plan to really chart as much unfamiliar territory as time will allow before I make the cross country jaunt. So far, I'm really digging Death Vessel, which is pretty indefinable in terms of genre, but these hyper-melodic songs are definitely rooted in very early Americana, but also possess a very modern, breezy, psychedelic quality. It's oddly twisted music, but it's very very infectious. I'll post more on some of the Sasquatch bands as I continue to plow through the schedule in digital form.