On the Road Again

Despite some casualties, there's more than enough music to go around this summer.

by Beth Rowen
Source: Archive Photos

Lilith Fair organizer Sarah McLachlan accepts one of her two 1997 Grammys.

With only days left in the school year, it's time to start penciling in the dates for this year's summer music festivals. This summer, however, the pickings are slim.

Indeed, summer festivals seem to be on their way out, with radio-station-sponsored concert events dominating the roster. The fate of Lollapalooza, H.O.R.D.E., and Smokin' Grooves is still up in the air, and Further Festival will go no farther, having bowed out of the circuit.

The survivors continue to satisfy all musical tastes, from folk to hip-hop to metal to ska. In addition to hours of music and sun, the shows offer everything from condoms to software to tattoos. Here's a look at the hottest tickets of the summer.

Guinness Fleadh

While the lineup has an international flavor, the Guinness Fleadh (pronounced "flah") celebrates Irish culture. The four-city tour stops in San Francisco (June 5), Chicago (June 12), Boston (June 19), and New York (June 26).

The four-stage festival includes the main stage for headliners, a premiere tent for up-and-coming Irish and Irish-American performers, a Heritage stage featuring traditional Celtic music, and an Irish Village Stage, which incorporates dance, literature, and drama for a true Celtic experience.

The lineup includes Van Morrison, Hootie & the Blowfish, Elvis Costello, Taj Mahal, John Lee Hooker, Shawn Mullins, Black 47, and many more.

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Lilith Fair

After two enormously successful tours, Lilith organizer Sarah McLachlan has decided to go out on top and make the 1999 fest the last. The 34-show tour kicks off July 8 in Vancouver and wends its way across Canada and the United States.

The fair is named for Adam's first wife, who, in Jewish folklore, was booted from the Garden of Eden for refusing to subordinate herself to her husband. Along with chanteuse McLachlan, other performers include Hole, Liz Phair, The Pretenders, Me'shell NdegeOcello, Luscious Jackson, the Indigo Girls, Sheryl Crow, Monica, Mya, the Dixie Chicks, and many more.

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Newport Folk Festival

Last year, the Newport Folk Festival hit the road, stopping at 14 U.S. cities. The 40-year-old fest is staying put this year, with artists performing August 6-9 on the sea-surrounded, expansive lawn of Rhode Island's Fort Adams State Park.

Special attractions this year include a new connoisseurs' series, which features contemporary masters who work with traditional styles. The lineup includes Joan Armatrading, Wilco, Beth Orton, Mary Black, Ladysmith Black Mambazo, the Indigo Girls, Suzanne Vega, Susan Tedeschi, Cry Cry Cry, Patty Griffin, Bill Morrissey, and more.

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The tour for suburban white boys who continue to assure us that loud metal is not dead. Black Sabbath, who only played one date last year, headlines, with Rob Zombie, Deftones, Slayer, Primus, Godsmack, Slipknot, and others joining the fun.

If 15 hours of mind-numbing metal is too much, Never-Never Land, a circus-like concourse, provides a colorful respite, with a wide variety of exhibitors and diversions, including a mechanical bull, body piercing, and body painting. The 28-show tour kicked off early this year, on May 27 in Florida.

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Tibetan Freedom Concert '99

The fourth annual Tibetan Freedom Concert goes global this year, taking place June 13 in Chicago, Sydney, Amsterdam, and Tokyo, providing 24 hours of continuous music. The event is the brainchild of the Beastie Boys. Beastie Adam Yauch spearheaded this year's international event, with the band's Milarepa Fund, an organization that promotes universal compassion and nonviolence, with a focus on Tibet.

The lineup for Chicago includes the Beastie Boys, Outkast, Run-DMC, the Roots, Blondie, the Cult, Live, Tracy Chapman, Biz Markie, and Eddie Vedder. Amsterdam's roster features Blur, Alanis Morissette, Luscious Jackson, the Dutch punk band NRA, Garbage, Ben Harper, and Rage Against the Machine.

Set for the Tokyo show are Audio Active, Brahman, Buffalo Daughter, Hi-Standard, and Kan Tagaki. Sydney's band list includes The Avalanches, Neil Finn, The Living End, The Mavis's, and Regurgitator.

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Vans Warped Tour

The extremely rad place to hang this summer, the Vans Warped Tour not only features more than 50 acts, ranging from thrash, ska, punk and grunge, but also a diverse subculture, weaving together gender issues and extreme sports.

An assortment of professional and amateur extreme athletes compete in street and vertical skateboarding, inline skating and BMX events. There are climbing, skateboarding and other sports activities set up for enthusiasts.

The lineup includes Black Eyed Peas, Blink 182, Cypress Hill, Ice-T, Pennywise, Zebrahead, and many other bands. The 31-show festival kicks off June 25 in San Antonio.

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Woodstock '99

While 1969's Woodstock boasted spontaneity, peace, love, and mud, Woodstock '99 features a live pay-per-view broadcast, its own hospital, crisis intervention, beer gardens, a technology park, and video walls.

Tickets are $150 a pop, though the price covers all three days; single tickets are not available. A campsite has been set up adjacent to the concert area, and security has been beefed up since Woodstock '94, when gate crashers numbered higher than paying customers. The show begins at noon on July 23 and runs through July 25.

Oddly enough, not one of the Woodstock concerts has actually been in Woodstock. This one's in Rome, N.Y. The lineup includes Aerosmith, Bush, The Chemical Brothers, Everclear, Fatboy Slim, Jewel, Dave Matthews Band, Korn, Limp Bizkit, the Offspring, Sugar Ray, Wyclef Jean & The Refugee Allstars, and many more bands.

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Did you know? For more than a billion Muslims around the world, Ramadan is a "month of blessing" marked by prayer, fasting, and charity.