Home  >  Music

Soundcheck

Your backstage pass to the DFW music scene and beyond.

Summer music preview: Festivals, hot tickets and more

Posted 9:19am on Thursday, May. 08, 2014

The coming months, with their long, hot days that melt into one another, are traditionally referred to as summer.

But one glance at the concert calendar, and we’re ready to rename this sun-blasted stretch Festivus (or something similar), since it seems like there’s a major outdoor music festival every weekend between now and fall.

North Texas already has a few sonic blowouts under its belt — Main St. Fort Worth Arts Festival, as well as the 2014 edition of Edgefest at Frisco’s Toyota Stadium and Plano’s inaugural, two-day Suburbia Music Festival — and this weekend, Homegrown returns to Main Street Garden in downtown Dallas. But those are merely appetizers to what will be nothing less than a full-blown feast for fans of every genre.

So pack plenty of sunscreen as we crowd-surf through some of the hottest summer music fests in DFW.

And don’t forget to hydrate.

Homegrown Music and Arts Festival (Saturday)

One of the most purely pleasurable festival experiences in North Texas, Homegrown, which has expanded its focus in recent years to incorporate talent from other Texas cities (see Page 26Z), sets up two stages at either end of the cozy Main Street Garden Park, lines the sides with vendors and food options, and welcomes music fans of all ages — it’s not unusual to see young children splashing in the fountains while a rock band bashes out songs a few feet away. Fort Worth’s Toadies headline, and Denton’s Sarah Jaffe is among an impressive lineup of artists that include Seryn, Sam Lao and the Phuss. ($20-$25; homegrownfest.com)

Sunday Music Jazz Series (Sunday)

What better way to ease out of the weekend and back into the daily grind than with a little jazz? Sundance Square is hosting, through June 29, a weekly concert series featuring some of the best musicians North Texas has to offer in a relaxed outdoor setting. Sunday, Adonis Rose and the Fort Worth Jazz Orchestra will perform, starting at 3 p.m. (Free; sundancesquare.com)

Fort Worth Music Festival (May 16-17)

The summer concert season kicks into high gear with this bounty at Panther Island Pavilion, just outside downtown Fort Worth. The two days are rather neatly divided along genre lines, with Friday leaning more rockin’ and rootsy (headliner Lucinda Williams, as well as Billy F. Gibbons, Justin Townes Earle, Ray Wylie Hubbard and Quaker City Night Hawks, to name a few), and Saturday skewing more hip and edgy (headliner Jimmy Eat World, plus the Airborne Toxic Event, Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. and Jackopierce, among others). Expect two stages stuffed with talented acts, along with food trucks, beautiful views of the Fort Worth skyline and more. ($25-$100; fwfest.com/tickets)

Wildflower! Arts & Music Festival (May 16-18)

If you can’t find something to listen to at Wildflower!, you’re just not trying hard enough. This Richardson institution at Galatyn Park features a whopping six stages and a wide variety of talent — everyone from Cheap Trick, the Wallflowers, Marc Broussard and Foghat to Fastball, Vertical Horizon, RTB2 and Jack Ingram. ($20-$30; wildflowerfestival.com)

Dave Matthews Band (May 17)

Fixtures of the summertime circuit, the Dave Matthews Band is trying something a little different for its tour this year, which makes a Dallas stop at Gexa Energy Pavilion. In lieu of enlisting opening acts for its summerlong run, DMB is opening for itself, performing an acoustic set, followed by an electric set. The veteran rock band, along with producer Rob Cavallo, is at work on the follow-up to 2012’s Away From the World. ($40.50-$75; livenation.com)

Colonial’s Frost Park Concert Series (May 22-24)

Fort Worth’s favorite golf tournament, the Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial, is getting into the music-festival biz. This year the tournament has added a trio of free shows at the new entry area, called Frost Park. The highlight is a performance Saturday, May 24, by local faves the Old 97’s. Reckless Kelly plays Friday, May 23. Best part? You don’t even need a Colonial ticket to enjoy the concert. (Free; crowneplazainvitational.com)

Downtown Arlington Center Stage Music Festival (May 23-25)

The Levitt Pavilion kicks off another summer of free music — bands from all over the state and country will perform for the glorious ticket price of zero dollars in downtown Arlington in the coming weeks — with this three-day festival featuring great local acts (Luke Wade & No Civilians, the O’s, Charla Corn) and top Texas talent like Jimmie Vaughan and Bob Schneider. (Free; levittpavilionarlington.org)

Radfest Music Festival (May 24)

Billing itself as “the first installment” of a “soon-to-be annual music festival,” this daylong event at the Shack, a new-this-year indoor space at Panther Island Pavilion, will feature some top-shelf local acts (A.Dd+, Sam Lao, the Orbans, Dustin Cavazos) and a terrific Houston act, the Tontons. Additionally, the inaugural Radfest promises “local vendors selling art [and] wares” as well as area food trucks. ($10 advance, $15 at the gate; prekindle.com)

Rockin’ the River concert series (starts June 5)

The fourth season of Rockin’ the River gets underway this year with Thieving Birds and Sam Riggs and the Night People, and will continue throughout the summer, every Thursday at Panther Island Pavilion. Attendees can bring their own chairs or hop into the Trinity River and float up to the stage. Food trucks will be on hand and fireworks will end every show. (And, thanks to the new structure on site known as the Shack, each show will happen rain or shine.) (Free; rockintheriverfw.com)

Concerts in the Garden (starts June 6)

Although much of the schedule for this annual outdoor concert series favors classical music, there are still a handful of pop, rock, country and jazz acts who will be appearing inside the Fort Worth Botanic Garden this year. Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue stops by June 13, with the UNT One O’Clock Lab Band on June 15, Green River Ordinance on June 21 and Asleep at the Wheel on June 29. ($21-$46 advance, $26-$51 at the gate; fwsymphony.org)

Vans Warped Tour (June 15)

The one-stop-shopping punk festival rolls into DFW once again this year, bringing with it the usual assortment of stages and a truckload of top bands: Bayside, Every Time I Die, Mayday Parade, Saves the Day, the Ready Set, We the Kings and Yellowcard are just a few of the dozens of acts that will perform. For the full lineup at Gexa Energy Pavilion, visit vanswarpedtour.com. (Note: This show was originally scheduled for Aug. 1, but moved to June 15. Tickets purchased for the Aug. 1 date will be honored.) ($38.50; livenation.com)

Jimmy Buffett (June 19 and 21)

North Texas Parrotheads are getting a double dose of Jimmy Buffett this summer. Although one of the gigs — an intimate June 19 performance at Coyote Drive-In, just outside downtown Fort Worth, which will be broadcast live to drive-in theaters across the country — sold out in the blink of an eye, those wishing to chow down on cheeseburgers in paradise can still make the trek to Frisco’s Toyota Stadium on June 21, where, along with veteran rocker John Fogerty, Buffett will continue his quest to find his lost shaker of salt. (Coyote Drive-In: sold out; margaritaville.com/liveatthedrive-in. Toyota Stadium: $44.50-$126; ticketmaster.com)

Blake Shelton, Neal McCoy, the Band Perry and Dan + Shay (June 21)

Riding high as a coach on the popular reality show The Voice, and coming off his platinum-selling 2013 record, Based on a True Story …, Shelton is hitting the road this summer, bringing his “Ten Times Crazier” tour to amphitheaters across the country. Expect a rowdy Gexa Energy Pavilion crowd, and plenty of wisecracks between the native Oklahoman’s hit singles. ($31-$60.75; livenation.com)

Willie Nelson’s 4th of July Picnic (July 4)

If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. That seems to be the mind set when it comes to Willie Nelson’s annual holiday gathering, as it returns to the Fort Worth Stockyards for the fourth straight year. Along with the Red-Headed Stranger headlining Billy Bob’s Texas as usual, the roster of artists tapped to perform in the North Forty includes Dierks Bentley, Ryan Bingham and the Josh Abbott Band, with more to be announced in the coming weeks. ($40-$250; williespicnic.com)

Lionel Richie and CeeLo Green (July 11)

What can you expect from Lionel Richie’s concert? It’s right there in the tour’s title: “All the Hits All Night Long.” (Give the people what they want, indeed.) So expect to hear all the classics — from Hello and Dancing on the Ceiling to, yes, All Night Long. Richie will be joined at Gexa Energy Pavilion by CeeLo Green, getting back into music full-time after a few seasons spent mentoring hopefuls on The Voice. ($25-$125; livenation.com)

Fall Out Boy, Paramore and New Politics (Aug. 5)

A pop-punk twofer with two of the more dynamic live acts around. Each group has its own live wire — Fall Out Boy has the whirling Pete Wentz, while Paramore relies on the wild Hayley Williams — and brings to Dallas’ Gexa Energy Pavilion catalogs stuffed with hit singles. Expect to be very sweaty by the time this show is complete — it’s not as if you’ll be able to just stand still and take it all in. ($26-$66; livenation.com)

Nine Inch Nails, Soundgarden and Death Grips (Aug. 17)

Sure to be one of the loudest and most intense concerts this summer, the lineup is pure heaven for ’90s rock geeks. Both bands on this co-headlining jaunt, making its Dallas stop at Gexa Energy Pavilion, are marking 20th anniversaries this year — Nine Inch Nails for the influential Downward Spiral album, and Soundgarden for its multiplatinum breakthrough Superunknown. Expect set lists heavily favoring both records, along with all your other favorites. ($29.50-$99.50; livenation.com)

Bedford Blues & BBQ Festival (Aug. 29-31)

This year’s celebration of good food and great music in the Mid-Cities features a pretty stacked lineup spread across two stages across from City Hall — Shemekia Copeland and Robert Cray headline, with Robert Randolph & the Family Band, Joe Louis Walker, and Royal Southern Brotherhood also scheduled to perform. Additionally, there will be barbecue pitmasters from across the United States vying for prize money. Individual day tickets, festival packages and more information is available at bedfordbluesbbq.com.

Mad Decent Block Party (Aug. 31)

This 18-and-up, daylong shindig gathers together some of hip-hop’s biggest underground names for a laid-back party heading into the Labor Day weekend. The lineups vary by city — the schedule in Dallas, to be held at Zouk, thus far includes Bro Safari, Bunji Garlin, Dillon Francis, Jack U, Jillionaire and Toy Selectah, with more acts scheduled to be announced in the coming weeks. ($45-$75; maddecentblockparty.com)

Kings of Leon, Young the Giant and Kongos (Sept. 12)

Call it the Return to the Scene of the Crime. Three years ago, Caleb Followill stormed off stage during a Kings of Leon performance at Gexa Energy Pavilion and didn’t return, forcing the band to halt the show and eventually scrap the remaining 26 dates of its U.S. tour. All that is water under the bridge now, as the band is back with a sharp new LP, Mechanical Bull, and, hopefully, a smoother go of it at Gexa this time around. ($29.50-$69.50; livenation.com)

Dia de Los Toadies 7 (Sept. 12-13)

Apart from the two-day festival’s namesake (and the fact that Toadies will be performing their 20-year-old major-label debut, Rubberneck, from front to back for the final time, according to the band), not much else is known just yet about this year’s Dia de Los Toadies at Panther Island Pavilion, although tickets are already on sale for those willing to gamble on the lineup announcement. As with previous Dias, the first night will be focused on acoustic music, with the second night given over to rock music at amplified volumes. Expect an eclectic lineup, curated by Vaden Todd Lewis and his bandmates — last year’s performers ranged from the incendiary blues of Gary Clark Jr. to the ethereal pop-rock of Eisley — along with food trucks and other fun on the Trinity River. ($35-$130; toadies.sonarmanagement.com)

More big outdoor concerts

Journey, Steve Miller Band May 25. Gexa Energy Pavilion. $36-$175. livenation.com.

97.1 The Eagle Presents BFD June 1. Gexa Energy Pavilion. $9.71-$55. livenation.com.

Jack FM Throwback Festival June 14. Gexa Energy Pavilion. $10-$25. livenation.com.

Goo Goo Dolls, Daughtry, Plain White T’s June 25. Gexa Energy Pavilion. $25-$95. livenation.com.

Rascal Flatts, Sheryl Crow, Gloriana July 12. Gexa Energy Pavilion. $31.50-$62.25. livenation.com.

KISS, Def Leppard July 13. Gexa Energy Pavilion. $36-$175. livenation.com.

Motley Crue, Alice Cooper July 16. Gexa Energy Pavilion. $25-$125. livenation.com.

Tim McGraw Aug. 8. Gexa Energy Pavilion. Tickets TBA. livenation.com.

Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem Festival Aug. 9. Gexa Energy Pavilion. $29.50-$79.50. ticketmaster.com.

Under the Influence of Music Tour: Wiz Khalifa, Young Jeezy, Tyga and more Aug. 14. Gexa Energy Pavilion. $27.50-$72.75. livenation.com.

OneRepublic Aug. 26. Gexa Energy Pavilion. $20-$75. livenation.com.

Clearfork Music Festival Aug. 30. Panther Island Pavilion. $20 presale. clearforkfest.com.

Brad Paisley Sept. 5. Gexa Energy Pavilion. Tickets TBA. livenation.com.

Linkin Park, Thirty Seconds to Mars, AFI Sept. 6. Gexa Energy Pavilion. $35-$119.50. livenation.com.

Preston Jones, 817-390-7713 Twitter: @prestonjones

We welcome your comments on this story, but please be civil. Do not use profanity, hate speech, threats, personal abuse, images, internet links or any device to draw undue attention. Our policy requires those wishing to post here to use their real identity.

Our commenting policy | Facebook commenting FAQ | Why Facebook?


Hey there. or join DFW.com. Your account. Log out.

Remember me

Events finder