June 23 and 24: Garage rock
Garage rock and surf music were close cousins back in the halcyon days of early rock and roll, so what better place for a “Garage Band Weekend” in July than a waterfront bar on Cape Cod? The folks at the Wellfleet Beachcomber have put together a line-up of locals that would make Nuggets curators Jac Holzman and Lenny Kaye proud. Tonight it’s the Konks, the Downbeat 5, the Tampoffs, Spitzz, and Triple Thick, and tomorrow they’ve got the Dogmatics, Muck and the Mires, Nikkie Corvette and the Stingrays, the Coffin Lids, the Black Clouds, the Swinedells, and Jay Allen. | 1120 Cahoon Hollow Road, Wellfleet | 508.349.6055.
July 12 through 29: Rock, jazz, and classical
New York City’s acclaimed Band on a Can collective have been riding the cutting edge of contemporary music since its inception in 1987, working with composers and musicians as diverse as San Francisco experimental-electronic-duo Matmos, German classical ensemble Concerto Köln, and Wilco drummer Glenn Kotche. This year mark’s the fifth anniversary of the annual Bang on a Can Summer Music Festival at MASS MoCA, a celebration of “adventurous contemporary music.” There will be free daily performances in the museum galleries, a morning of kid-friendly music (July 22), and a concert by the Bang on a Can All-Stars that will include new works by British minimalist composer Michael Nyman, progressive-jazz great Don Byron (July 22), and others. Don’t miss the concluding six-hour marathon concert of “Fringe Rock, Classical, Alt-Jazz, World, and a healthy dose of the bizarre.” | 87 Marshall Street, North Adams | 413.662.2111.
July 28, 29, and 30: Folk
The Lowell Folk Festival, the country’s largest free folk fest, celebrates its 20th anniversary with a weekend of traditional music from around the world — rockabilly, blues, gospel, polka, Mexican mariachi, New Orleans brass, Texas fiddle music, Puerto Rican bomba y plena, Indian raga, Portuguese fado, and more. There will also be dancing, craft demonstrations, and, for gourmands, plenty of ethnic food from across the globe. | 978.970.5200.
August 11, 12, and 13:Jazz
The Newport Jazz Festival (now called JVC Jazz Festival Newport), the first outdoor jazz fest in the US and “the grandfather of all jazz festivals,” has been a New England tradition since impresario George Wein threw the first one at the Newport Tennis Casino in 1954. Since then, the festival has attracted some of the biggest names in jazz — Miles Davis, Duke Ellington, Dizzy Gillespie, Ella Fitzgerald, and Herbie Hancock, to name a few. This year’s acts include the Dave Brubeck Quartet, the Jon Pizzarelli Big Band, George Benson, Robert Glasper, and the 80-year-old Wein himself. | Newport Casino at the International Tennis Hall of Fame, 194 Bellevue Avenue, Newport, RI and Fort Adams State Park, Harrison Avenue, Newport, RI | 401.847.3700.
September 1, 2, and 3: Roots
It’s Labor Day weekend and we can’t think of many better ways for music fans to spend the ceremonial end of summer than at Charlestown, Rhode Island’s annual Rhythm & Roots Festival, a three-day jamboree of R&B, rock, blues, soul, and zydeco. This year’s highlights include New Orleans piano man Dr. John, Tex-Mex rockers Los Lobos, swampy blueswoman Marcia Ball, and British soul singer James Hunter. | Ninigret Park, 4470 Old Post Road, Charlestown, RI | 888.855.6940.